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'Dead Zone' Result of Past Mistakes

October 16, 1994

I'm afraid that once again the residents of Sherman Oaks are being misled by The Times: "A Good Idea Hits the Street" (Valley Perspective, Oct. 9.)

Once again we are being told that the planned development at Woodman Avenue and Ventura Boulevard will rescue that block from the blight it has suffered for the past six years. A "dead zone," to quote the editorial.

The Times' logic reminds me of the old story about the child who murdered his mother and father and threw himself upon the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

The block was not blighted until the current developer had all the tenants evicted from their thriving stores so he could build an edifice that would stretch the limits of building density whether the neighborhood wanted it or not. No one was dissatisfied with the stores on that street, which included the popular Scene of the Crime bookstore, Mary's Lamb restaurant, an English import shop and others.

It was not blighted until the builder made it so. Now he wants to charge in on his bulldozer, paid for by a generous city of Los Angeles.

What The Times did not report was that when the owner of the property finally decided that it would be in his best interests to rebuild the stores that were originally there, the city in its infinite wisdom demanded the kind of changes to Ventura Boulevard that are now being asked of the proposed high-density contractor.

Does that make sense? Only to elected officials who have to find the way to pay for their next election. Not to the residents. After all, we are only the voters. And we don't seem to matter in campaigns where now money talks louder than votes.


Sherman Oaks

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