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Disney Concert Hall Project

April 07, 1996

We applaud "Disney Concert Hall: Needed by Downtown, by All of L.A." (editorial, March 31), and want to thank The Times for its support, especially during this critical time when the Walt Disney Concert Hall Corp. is organizing a major capital campaign. The leadership of the Music Center recognizes the importance of Disney Hall as a vital element in reviving downtown Los Angeles.

As the Music Center positions itself to serve Los Angeles in the 21st century, the addition of Disney Hall to the Music Center complex will allow us to reach out to increasingly diverse communities. Disney Hall will mark the beginning of a new era of cultural and entertainment programming in downtown for all Southern Californians to experience and enjoy.

One of the biggest challenges this project faces is to overcome the misinformation and mistaken perceptions that persist about Disney Hall. However, through the efforts of many community leaders and the Board of Supervisors, the Disney Hall project is very much alive today.




Chairman Elect

Music Center Board of Governors


* I am very appreciative of your strong statement of the importance of the Walt Disney Concert Hall project to the Los Angeles community. My mother's gift to Los Angeles was not intended to be a memorial, not intended to build a monument to my father, but to give something wonderful to the community that has been their home. We felt that this gift and its purpose were in keeping with my father's spirit. It would be a tragic waste if nothing wonderful comes of it.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 10, 1996 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 8 Letters Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Disney Hall--The first sentence in Thomas J. Sinsky's April 7 letter should have read, "One local leader who could contribute $50 million for the Disney Concert Hall is Disney Chairman Michael Eisner."


San Francisco


* I want to commend The Times for its thoughtful editorial. The cultural and economic vitality of any city center does indeed define the prospects and possibilities for the entire region. Symbolically and substantively, it helps set the agenda for growth and prosperity across the broader landscape, and even those in the farthest-flung corners of Los Angeles County will benefit as a result.


Supervisor, Third District


* You attribute the cost "overruns" to "lack of close management." You fail to recognize the real cause of the higher cost, which was the willingness of our then-leaders of the Music Center, County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles to forge ahead, at any cost, because Mrs. Disney wanted to begin immediately.

Such need for immediacy allowed recently deceased Jim Wood, a noted labor leader and chair of the CRA, to impose his will on the project, requiring unionization of not only companies building the project, but also those that would operate businesses on the site thereafter, the most important of which was to be the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. This killed the deal for the hotel and changed the economics for the project. The need to begin without final plans made negotiation of a guaranteed maximum price impossible, thus dooming any chance by those "supervising" to control costs.

Unfortunately, the big losers are the taxpayers, who have to pay for the bonds issued by the county, have the use of a marvelous concert hall delayed and have lost forever the synergy of a great hotel combined with the hall, and the supporters of the Music Center.


Los Angeles

The writer represented the developer of the Ritz-Carlton project.


* You report that "work on the Disney Hall has now been halted pending commitments for $150 million more" and that "funding will almost certainly have to come from corporations, civic leaders, entertainment figures and business executives."

Is it possible that what you depict as "the ambitious Frank Gehry-designed building" is not universally admired nor viewed as an attractive addition to downtown Los Angeles?

You describe the hall's "soaring exterior design and state-of-the-art acoustics." Acoustic perfection notwithstanding, the building doesn't "soar" but comes across to many as a building that fell down into an untidy heap: When the first renderings of the design were published (in 1991), there were howls of protest and derision. How can you inspire a community to support funding a building that is a potential eyesore?


La Canada


* Gertrude Stein's judgment on Oakland, "There is no there, there" applies equally well to downtown Los Angeles. A matrix of intersections devoid of human habitation hardly qualifies as the core of a living city. Disney Hall is merely the newest dacha in the Potemkin village so sedulously fabricated over the years by The Times, its real estate cronies and their creatures, the politicians.

Happily, market forces will doom Disney Hall.


Los Angeles


* One local leader who could contribute the $150 million that is needed for the Disney Concert Hall is Disney Chairman Michael Eisner. He has skillfully earned hundreds of millions while standing on the broad shoulders of the great Walt Disney, and on the shoulders of many moderately paid employees at Disneyland and at the company's studios.

A huge gift would be a wonderfully appropriate "thank you" to the Disney family and to the thousands who have supported Eisner here in Southern California.



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