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Honoring Ira Yellin and His L.A. Spirit

September 15, 2002

The best way to remember and honor civic leader Ira Yellin (obituary, Sept. 11) is to spend a Saturday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles. Park your car near the Bradbury Building and have a look inside. If you are there later in the day, with the autumn light streaming in through the skylights, you would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved. Stroll across to the Grand Central Market and absorb the smells, the pulse and the energy of lives that don't leave at 6 p.m. on weekdays. Walk up to Bunker Hill and north on Grand Avenue past the last layers of skin on the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Walk past the Music Center to Temple Street and visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Keep walking down Temple to the recently renovated City Hall. Another block and a right will take you to the future home of Vibiana Place [where St. Vibiana's Cathedral now stands]. Cross the freeway and walk toward Olvera Street. Walk around the beautifully restored Pico-Garnier block. Continue on to Union Station and stroll around the terminal where time seems to stand still. Have a drink at Traxx and look at the new site of the California Endowment headquarters.

Indirectly, or directly, Ira Yellin inhabits all these places. One man does not build a city; it is a communal spirit, particularly in a city as large as Los Angeles, a spirit which, for me, Ira Yellin will always embody. If you feel a little more pride in Los Angeles and smile, you will be honoring a truly great man.

Jim Brock

Los Angeles

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