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Valley Perspective

Robinsons-May and LAUSD

March 12, 2000

Re "Robinsons-May Exec Says LAUSD Misled Him" and "Redevelopment Effort Dealt Blow," March 1.

Please tell me that I am not the only one to have seen the incredible irony of [these] articles, one reporting the ongoing Robinsons-May/Los Angeles Unified School District controversy, the other detailing the failure of developer J. Allen Radford to attract commercial interest for a site in North Hollywood, largely vacant except for a new MTA subway station.

Apparently, Radford has been unable to attract sufficient commercial interest in the site to warrant the development that he had planned. This is one of the sites that the Laurel Plaza Neighborhood Assn. had recommended to school board member Caprice Young last January in lieu of her desire to confiscate the Robinsons-May corporate headquarters, [one of] North Hollywood/Van Nuys' largest employers. At that time, Young responded negatively to LPNA's suggestion because the Community Redevelopment Agency "had big commercial plans for it."

The article reports that the commercial development previously planned will have to be scaled back from 43 to 22 acres.

Let's see, 43 minus 22 equals 21 acres. Seems perfect for a high school--only four acres smaller than the Robinsons-May site, and already vacant.

Los Angeles City Council member Alex Padilla, for whom Caprice Young's husband works as an aide, is quoted, "If the larger project would have provided more jobs, I'm a little disappointed." Maybe if Caprice spoke to her husband, who could speak to his boss, the jobs and the annual $70-million payroll that Robinsons-May provides in North Hollywood could be saved, and we could have a new high school on an otherwise vacant lot.

R. MICHAEL JOHNSON

Public Relations Coordinator

Laurel Plaza Neighborhood Assn.

North Hollywood

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