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Mayor Tired of Plummer Park Discussion

Mayor John Duran expresses his views on the Plummer Park protest at Monday's City Council meeting, telling members of the Protect Plummer Park movement to be grateful instead.

Mayor John Duran has had enough of the divisive nature of the Protect Plummer Park group. He maintains that people on the East Side have accused the city of treating them like stepchildren and so we are getting a $41 million park and we should be grateful. He implies that enough is enough.  

That's what he said in so many words Monday night from his throne at the City Council meeting. We should be happy our city is in the black (from bonds we floated) in a bad economy and that cities like Vallejo are bankrupt.

We can spend $41 million on an East Side park that will be better and have lots of parking after it has been dug up and renovated, despite the vociferous objections of a dedicated and serious group of citizens who use the park, live next to the park and love the park. This is what he said.  

As a public commenter, I was almost last in the comment queue. And instead of serenely voicing my opinion on this project as I had intended, I directed my comments to Mr. Duran. It wasn't very pleasant.

I noted that under his name is "mayor," not king, oligarch or plutocrat, and that he is a public servant and has been endowed with the trust of the residents. He had earlier joked that he was a lawyer and that he had no conscience and later informed the audience that the council members were in fact politicians (something that Mr. Heilman took exception to and was right) and they were doing what politicians do.  

I pointed out that he used the word first, and I agreed he was a politician and that he had some nerve speaking to the constituency as he had. It's all on video if you want to view the whole meeting. Basically, when it comes to the park issue, the mayor is sick of it all.

I do not regret a single word I said, neither do I feel any differently about Plummer Park. It should be pointed out that Weho had anticipated a grant that would underwrite PP's upgrades. When it fell through, the bond issue was floated.

We do not need the current plan. The park can be upgraded with some work done on it, but certainly not in the sum of $41 million. A compromise can be achieved with dialogue.  

I seriously doubt if any council members actually go to Plummer Park, except for photo ops. It's in a downscale part of this clearly divided city of 34,000. But be grateful nonetheless - John Duran says so and he is a politician - so he knows exactly what he is talking about.

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WeHoOne November 24, 2011 at 05:40 AM
I'm concerned that John Duran has become delusional. His personal power play with being "mayor" is starting to wear very thin. He is pushing the boundaries of a virtually meaningless unelected "take turns" position with his verbal wanderings ,which are very condescending and insulting. I'm beginning to wonder if their might be some sort of mental deterioration taking place. He should be looked at very closely during the upcoming election cycle, even by those who have been supporters. Time for a reality check.
Chloe Ross November 24, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Check and checkmate!
Chloe Ross November 24, 2011 at 09:40 PM
As Regis Philbin loved to yell out on Regis and Kathy Lee - "He's outta control". Sorry Hizzoner, the Disco Dolly, was never a guest - Regis would have had a field day.
DNB November 25, 2011 at 09:05 AM
He's really seems to have a screw loose, doesn't he? I mean look at how he is handling the whole fur ban thing, whatever side of it that you are on, you must admit that Duran bungled it. That"s how he lost Abbe and John (who, by the way, are only in office because of the east side's vote) .
WeHoOne November 25, 2011 at 06:28 PM
I think John Duran is way too much of a mercenary - as evidenced again in this case. His judgement seems to be clouded by his obsession with money, and money is usually his first consideration when making a decision. I recall once not too far back, before voting on an issue, he said something like "I know this might diminish our quality of life a little, but it will bring us more money"... I paraphrase, but this is the main drift of his point. I'm flabbergasted how this kind of decision making constantly passes unchallenged by the people who put the quality of life first. It does not take much leadership or very much thinking to figure out what is best for the people when your first & sometimes only consideration is money. West Hollywood has always generated lots of money and always will no matter who sits on the City Council, but our quality of life remains very precarious. Duran's attitude at Monday's meeting seemed to be "Well, we have money to burn, so let's burn it!" Doesn't matter that the people are unhappy with how it's being spent, or that $41 million will be spent on a park noone wants, & it's likely the proposed $41 million will increase signifigantly by the end of the project. West Hollywood is known for building plain & unsightly architecture - City Hall looks like a storage rental building, the new library is another wasted opportunity for a piece of landmark architeture & I shudder when looking at the rendering of this new building in Plummer Park.
Jon Ponder November 26, 2011 at 05:34 PM
I live near City Hall now, but briefly lived on Greenacre near Plummer Park. I'm not thrilled about every element of the park redevelopment plan and $41 million is a lot, but I have to agree with our elected officials that the time for expressing concerns about the plan has passed. I also have to object to aligning protests over the park redevelopment with the Occupy movement. Occupy addresses the drive by corporate interests and their political allies to transfer political power to the 1 percent who already control the nation's wealth. This is a serious crisis that threatens the American middle class, not to mention the foundation of the republic. The objective of the redesign is to improve an asset for the city's less affluent eastside. Some may argue that the result is misguided and too expensive, but there is no doubt that the city's motivations were well-founded and properly targeted. What is key here is that an orderly process must be maintained. We are outraged when the wealthy or corporate interests bend the rules, so we shouldn't allow a grassroots protest to upend them either. Assuming the development process was done by the book, it is simply wrong to change the rules retroactively and reopen the review, which would cause a waste of time, money and city resources. I hope the city council will stand firm on the redevelopment plans for Plummer Park. Yes, trees and some of the character of the park will be lost, but much will be gained.
Chloe Ross November 26, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Mr. Ponder. Thank you for your response to my post. In response to yours: I would have to ask if you drive over from "near City Hall" to utilize the park now that it is not a local neighborhood spot for you? There is no Occupy movement in play here - one meeting utilized that term but the group is Protect Plummer Park and so that should put your mind at ease. The time for expressing opinions would indeed have passed had our opinions been invited. We have learned late in the process of the changes planned. We object. If you set aside the obscene amount of money involved - the destruction of historic buildings, the loss of old growth heritage trees and the underground garage would be offensive at a dollar. It seems to me you now live on the more affluent side of the city where assets abound. I do find your comment "The objective of the redesign is to improve an asset for the city's less affluent east side."; elitist and condescending. I should point out that grassroots movements are what have made this country great. I would ask, in closing, if you are a registered lobbyist, a shill, or simply a snob. Parking spaces are all that will be gained in the city's ill conceived plan. Parking spaces. I appreciate the time you have taken to comment and to share your opinion.
WeHoOne November 27, 2011 at 01:23 AM
Chloe I'm glad to see you respond to each poster. It is a good way to to make people realize their input is important and their opinions valued. It inspires others to respond as well. There is much too little exchange of ideas among people in West Hollywood and I for one think the city council prefers to do things their way instead of gathering all possible public input before making such grandiose plans such as they have for this park property. This city council is used to minimal public input, and it is usually by the same people over and over, so much so that I don't think the council takes them seriously, or even listens to them anymore. That's why new voices need to be raised - and loudly so. Also, I also think this mess is a wake up call for the voters of West Hollywood to understand that the city council DOES NOT have the best interest of the people in mind when they push forth with such an aggresive project with so little public notification, this council is used to enacting their own agenda for their own personal reasons. I'm glad there is at least this source of citizen back-and-forth and I hope it keeps going until the demand for changing the face of this project is accomplished. Thank you for taking such a strong position and sticking to it.
Chloe Ross November 27, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Wow - that was very nice to read. I blog on Wordpress too and answer as many as I can. No one should think their reply is not important. I may not agree with each one but the time they take to write is important to me and should be to others. You have made my day,
marcus aemilius November 27, 2011 at 01:36 AM
"Petty Bureaucrat Turns Autocrat!: film at 11!"
Chloe Ross November 27, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Damn if I didn't leave that one out! My bad. Thanks for adding it into the fray!!!
Stephanie November 27, 2011 at 04:33 AM
At least city hall is a reused, recycled building. The other stuff the city has had designed is questionable. Now they are trying to put, as Arevalo said at council, "spectacular" into a small, neighborhood park, in the middle of an historic neighborhood flush with Spanish Colonial Revival and seven landmarked buildings.
Stephanie November 27, 2011 at 05:33 AM
 You need more info about the park before you chastise a movement to save historic buildings 2 from demolition and decimation of the third.  There were alternatives for the location of extra parking and several that were less expensive (current underground structure, $10Million) and all alternatives did not gut the park causing the destruction of not just a few, but 54 old growth and heritage trees, some 125 yrs old with a life span of 2,000 yrs in the case of the olive trees.  No matter how the city spins it, the residents were NOT notified.  I DID hear about the plans and went to meetings, spoke for the my 2 mins and was ignored.  The protestors are not some lunatic fringe group of neighbors upset about 2 years of construction.  It is the destruction of history and the park's ecosystem about which we are upset.  We have over 1,500 signatures (and climbing) opposing this plan.  This project was pushed through hurriedly when Gov. Brown clamped down on the RDA money and the city, imprudently indebted us for $125 Million in bonds for three projects.  When the east side said we need some attention we were talking about maintenance of the historic buildings in the park, painting, fixing and repairing and crime prevention.  We did not intend to have the city put us hock to build a designer park.  The powers-that-be are out of touch with their constituents.  Wake up, people.  www.protectplummerpark.com
WeHoOne November 27, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Stephanie I agree with you basically, but they spent 8.5 million dollars renovating the bldg they used for city hall; they could have at least used a little imagination and made it outstanding, even beautiful. Adding a strange looking what looks like an aluminum antenna on the top of the bldg does not cut it and above all they added no architectural appeal to the building. I also agree that using the word "spectacular" for an out of place building in Plummer Park by Arevalo only indicates his lack of taste & judgement in other areas of his so called "expertise." Plummer park is hardly a place where one expects "spectacular", in buildings, people or otherwise.
joninla November 28, 2011 at 06:16 AM
The Mayor is not quite so 'Tired' as DISAPPOINTED that the protest and protestors have not tired! Keep it up. I commend your not giving up!
Chloe Ross November 28, 2011 at 06:26 AM
Your encouragement is wonderful and thanks for letting us know. We haven't gotten tired yet!!!
Geoffrey Buck November 29, 2011 at 06:35 PM
The underground parking plan was put through with no public input. The plan first was be underneath the current parking lot in front of the community center. With Long and great Halls "out of the picture" it was possible to extend the underground parking lot all the way to the tennis courts. The city is not being forthcoming in telling u sthe reason why THEY feel it is necessary to kill our old growth trees, some planted by Major Plummer himself. Why is the Fountain lot not a good compromise? BTW, Protect Plummer Park was never a part of the Occupy Movement.
Rudolf Martin November 30, 2011 at 05:01 AM
is orderly process more important than the residents of west hollywood? jon ponder, you may not know that the few residents that were part of the planning process had repeatedly rejected any suggestions of putting underground parking in the middle of the park. this 'tip of the iceberg' feature was added at the eleventh hour and presented to city council as 'vetted by the community' as jeffrey prang has said. so it is possible to do something 'by the book' and in the process betray the spirit of what the development process is supposed to achieve. i submit to you respectfully that now that there is a growing popular groundswell for changing this plan the city will be pressured to take notice and that is the spirit of democracy as much as due process is. and the 54 old growth trees currently slated to be destroyed as well as the historic character of the park will be gained as well.
Wendy December 07, 2011 at 05:10 PM
It all boils down to politicians making money. If you leave the parks alone the politicians do not get any envelopes stuffed with cash from developers. They don't like citizens cutting them out. It would be better if you can show them a way that they can steal and build something useful for all to enjoy. None of the politicians could get a rat's ass about weho. They are just in it for the money.
Sheila Lightfoot January 23, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Many commenters on recent articles and blogs have focused on the corrupt nature of an entrenched City Hall “process.” If you’d like to dive into the weeds of how the City’s corrupt process is managed, I’d recommend reading 10.D. on the Historic Preservation Commission’s meeting agenda tonight (Monday, Jan 23). Go to http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=878 - and click on 10.D. Review of City Projects. You’ll find a transcript and minutes of the 2 Historic Preservation Commission meetings in which the Park Plan, in general, and the historic buildings in the Park, specifically, were allowed virtually “no” critical consideration by the Commission. As you’ll see, the Commission was not only limited in the scope of their input, but the EIR presented facts in a way that were overwhelmingly biased toward a pre-determined outcome for the Plummer Park design desired by City staff and Council. It clearly exposes the shameful maneuvering that has been used to thwart any community opposition to a plan for Plummer Park that virtually everyone hates. This shows what kind of input was actually allowed in all those meetings in which they like to boast the community had a voice. For those of you without the stomach for reading endless details, suffice it to say… it demonstrates how the process is rigged. It is a perfect example of “business as usual” at City Hall… they pre-determine what they want and steer the entire process toward their desired outcome.

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