There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
– Victor Hugo

Issue 10 | Spring 2020

A Message regarding COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted daily life for people across our city — and many Angelenos are worried about what it means for our lives, our livelihoods, and our loved ones. What each of us does today will have a direct impact on what happens tomorrow.

Some of the world’s foremost experts on infectious diseases are working hard at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta to solve this crisis. With that said, we all have a responsibility to help slow the spread of the virus in our community and keep our neighbors safe.

As work continues toward ending this crisis, it’s important to stay informed.

Please see Mayor Garcetti’s Safer at Home directive
For accurate and timely updates, visit CDC.gov, PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and LAMayor.org/Coronavirus. And don’t forget to sign up for NotifyLA, our city’s mass notification system.

This is a moment for preparation, not panic. A moment to be kind and generous and to show the very best of the Angeleno spirit. And I know that each of us will do our part to stay vigilant, stay informed, and help limit the spread of this virus. We will get through this together –– in Los Angeles, we always do.


Eric Garcetti
Your Mayor


Friends of the Hollywood Central Park Board of Directors

President’s Advisory Council

FHCP Staff

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spacer.gif In this issue:

By Laurie Goldman, President
It is with a heavy heart that I join my FHCP Board colleagues in grieving the loss of our founding Board Member Edward V. Hunt.

FHCP was founded because of Edward Hunt’s desire to create more green open space in Hollywood. And his idea? Cover the Hollywood Freeway with a Park! Edward was relentless in his passion to rid our community of scar that the Hollywood Freeway is on our landscape.

Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer and Chief of Staff for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP).

He is responsible for helping to manage and oversee all day to day operations of the Department, while assisting in all governance and leadership matters related to the Park's Commission, City Council, City Attorney and Mayor's Offices.

A series of interviews with the FHCP Board of Directors

Scott attended Pepperdine University while working for a small Real Estate office in Malibu.

 

 

 

By David Carrera
Parks are for all. They don’t discriminate; they allow entrance to everyone, regardless of race, religion, color, or income. There really should be a mini Statue of Liberty at every park entrance, the famous quote “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… “ welcoming us poor urban dwellers. “Poor” as in deficient in open green space, not necessarily “poor” as in money, though as an aside, I don’t see as many wealthy folks in parks as I do middle and working class.

Thank you everyone who celebrated and supported the Friends of the Hollywood Central Park at For the Love of Hollywood Gala on January 12th, 2017. For those who missed it or for those of you who can’t get enough it, here is a recap on our magical evening.

 

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What We’ve Been Up to

By Laurie Goldman, President

It is with a heavy heart that I join my FHCP Board colleagues in grieving the loss of our founding Board Member Edward V. Hunt.

FHCP was founded because of Edward Hunt’s desire to create more green open space in Hollywood. And his idea? Cover the Hollywood Freeway with a Park! Edward was relentless in his passion to rid our community of scar that the Hollywood Freeway is on our landscape.

Edward’s immense talent gave the FHCP Board a master class in creating Parks. He educated and empowered his colleagues to think big and never give up. Edward encouraged us to take risks and dared us to make a difference.

Without Edward there is no Hollywood Central Park and we are forever grateful for his vision.
In a few short years, the Hollywood Central Park will serve as a lasting reminder that one man’s vision – one man’s dream can change the world. Edward’s legacy will endure in every element of the Hollywood Central Park’s 38 acres (or as Edward would remind me, 37.6 acres).

Edward’s first love of course was his beloved wife Martha, daughter Lucy and her husband John and his granddaughter Addie. His second love? Hollywood. Projects throughout Hollywood have been touched by Edward’s ideas, suggestions and emails! There are many famous Edwards in Hollywood who have inspired and created from Edward G. Robinson to Edward James Olmos to Edward Norton and even Edward Scissorhands, but none is more famous than Hollywood’s very own Edward Hunt who had a heart of gold, was one-of-a kind and had the uncanny ability to change hearts and minds.

To the Hunt family thank you for sharing Edward with me. Edward’s spirit will live on in my heart forever.

As a longtime Hollywood stakeholder, Edward struggled with solutions for Hollywood’s lack of green space, the soaring diabetes and hypertension rates among our children and teens and the 2 Hollywood’s created by the Freeway. Building a deck park in the air space above the Hollywood Freeway was a no-brainer.

To honor Edward’s memory, FHCP held an Ideas and Inspirations Competition. Inspired by Edward’s passion for the Hollywood Central Park, the Competition grew out of our discussions surrounding how to engage and include students, our future architects, designers, artists and stakeholders, in this process of creating the Hollywood Central Park. Using the concepts imagined by the Hollywood Community as their foundation, we asked the students to focus their entries on connectivity, placemaking and technology. The entries we received demonstrated smart, creative and thoughtful ideas, which will inspire and guide the creation of our Park. Edward would be proud. (Ideas and Inspirations video)

l to r: FHCP Board Members John Goodwin, Jose Malagon, Dave Gajda, Laurie Goldman, Scott Campbell, Brian Folb, Todd Warner and Phil Hart

Partnerships

Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer and Chief of Staff for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP).

He is responsible for helping to manage and oversee all day to day operations of the Department, while assisting in all governance and leadership matters related to the Park's Commission, City Council, City Attorney and Mayor's Offices.

AP has over 22 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles. Prior to assuming his duties at RAP, he served as a City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office where he handled and litigated hundreds of matters in the Criminal Branch and as a specially assigned prosecutor in the City's Neighborhood Prosecutor Program. Thereafter, he served in the Civil Division's Municipal Law Branch as legal counsel to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, General Services Department and as lead contract counsel for the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments. He also served as one of the principal City Attorneys assigned to advise and staff the Los Angeles City Council.

Prior to assuming the role of Executive Officer & Chief of Staff, AP served many years as General Counsel for Recreation and Parks, helping guide the Department on many high profile and important endeavors, most notably the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theatre.

Reaching High to Amplify our Reach

In a world of bustling urban sprawl, the desire to preserve, maintain and find open park space has never been more challenging. In the City of Angels, the challenge heightens. LA is a vast basin of intersecting highways, streets, freeways, toll ways, high rises, low rises, apartments, condos, homes, people, tourists, residents, visitors, airplanes, metros, trains, ships…you get the gist – we’re an impacted metropolis! And while we have plenty of hard space, we have precious open space.

A few years ago I was travelling in Berlin, Germany to study alternative modes of urban transportation. I was invited to see a special exhibition of an imagined “LA Garden” at the famed, Gardens of the World. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation, excited to see what imagined LA parks spaces and places would look like through the eyes of a German landscape designer. As I meandered other world city gardens, my hosts enthusiastically told me the LA Garden was nearing... I tried to imagine what I would see – would it be a dozen palm trees interlaced with bougainvillea and eucalyptus trees (all non-natives by the way)? Much to surprise it was none of those things, rather a large parking lot, replete with asphalt, parking spaces, a white bronco, other SUVs with California license plates set among a small dog park area, surrounded by a chain link fence, a cell tower tree and styled LA Garden: a “concrete jungle…”

This may not be surprising to the non-LA resident. While us Angelinos would counter this depiction with our stunning hikes up Runyon Canyon, explorations in Griffith Park (America’s largest urban park) or our other beautiful regional and state parks, it is not all that surprising to the outside world. For example, on any flight into LAX a window passenger is met with a swath of urban sprawl where you can count more swimming pools than parks, more shopping centers than gardens and more traffic lights than trails. Our outside message to the world resonates in films such as the opening scene of La La Land showing nothing more than one thousand actors recreating through song & dance on top of the 105/110 interchange!

So, speaking of freeways let me talk about parks. Helping to manage and lead one of the largest park agencies in the world is both a daunting and humbling experience. Parks are the lifeblood of communities. They are gathering spaces, play grounds, our backyards, our common ground. Parks don’t require memberships or special access features. They serve to remind us and nod us towards leisure, recreation, active uses and passive ones. It said that parks make life better and I couldn’t agree more.

The history of Los Angeles, unlike other national or international cities, demonstrates that our early planners abandoned ideas and plans for creating an urban sprawl of green space to compliment growing neighborhoods and urban spaces. Instead, rising to meet the ever increasing population needs of our bustling city, connective city parks were intentionally overlooked to accommodate housing needs, to build freeways, businesses and in the process, placed structure above land.

Fast forward to today and we are actively working to right those wrongs, change the trajectory of our City and create iconic and everlasting places to move freely, feel grass on your feet, watch your children play, take walks, connect with your inner self, jog, run, socialize and take moments to pause and enjoy our beautiful Los Angeles. The respite of parks is the place we want and need to be to sustain our health and to cultivate wellness. In fact, we have plans to make access to parks be no more than a ¼ mile in years ahead.

One such area Hollywood, where park access is limited and where there is a demand and need to green its eclectic and compacted networks of homes, apartment buildings, business, tourist areas and iconic spaces and places. There are few open spaces to call parks and access to parks for local residents is limited or non-existent. But how we overcome this deficiency, requires out of the box thinking and collaboration. In fact, more than thinking, it requires us to step out of the box and onto the 101 freeway – literally!

Challenges are what make life interesting and which make Angelinos come alive. We are a city of talented individuals, imagining, envisioning and producing some of the most creative endeavors known to man. And that is why partnership is the most important element that will make the Hollywood Central Park a reality.

Government and civic endeavors often get delayed or dismissed due to inadequate partnership. Constrained by budgets and staffing demands, the freedom to unleash its talented staff and innovative teams is constantly pulled and adjusted to meet immediate and pressing problems.

Since we’ve already established the need for open space, in and around Hollywood, is a pressing problem, we’re proud to partner with the Friends of the Hollywood Park and a host of impressive designers, architects, engineers, state, local and federal partners to begin planning, imagining and developing a capped park above the iconic 101 Freeway.

When others say we cannot do it, we say we can. When those say we will fail, we work harder. We reject the notion that united we will dare to build the unimaginable. But partnership demonstrates that where two or more are gathered great things are accomplished. In fact, capped parks are being built all around the world and throughout the nation through public private partnerships – defying conventional modes of thinking and imaging areas for open space.

We will never get back enough land to make our city a connective common garden area as found in New York or in Boston, but we can leverage our vast network of sprawled highways to serve as the foundation for their spaces above.

If we can’t go low let’s go high. Let’s amplify our reach to extend above our cars, our lanes and our traffic to provide much needed safe spaces for parks to come alive in newly imagined ways. In Mexico City, I’ve seen first-hand how highway pillars are being reimagined and repurposed as green walls to combat pollution and to provide beauty and health.

In LA we have the spaces, so let’s grow the places. Let’s continue to imagine and deliver new types of parks and spaces to grow our children, cultivate adults and serve our seniors.

In LA we have 450 parks and I look forward to one day welcoming the Hollywood Central Park into our amazing portfolio of “Park Proud LA” locations ,a term we’ve coined to reflect Angelino’s love of park spaces (from the hills of Griffith Park, to the coast line of Venice, down to South Pedro’s waterfront, up to the far reaches of the Valley park ranches and over to the Eastside communities – LA cherish its outside spaces and places – our parkland!).

Together we are stronger. Let’s unleash our vast talents here in LA to dream big, reach high and amplify our reach. A wise person once said, never be afraid to reach for the moon, even if you fall short you still land among the stars.

As we say at the Greek Theatre, LA is the place to play, see and be among the stars and soon we’ll all be dancing and singing on top of a freeway, just like in that opening scene of La La Land. But this time, instead of shutting down the freeway to dance on asphalt, the freeways won’t stop, the cars will still travel - among the sweet revelation that above those treasured spaces and iconic numbers (101, 405, 210) may sit (will sit) a sprawling park or parks filled with happy, healthy people dancing, playing, laughing, recreating and enjoying this amazing city where parks make life better!

The best is yet to come and good things are coming!

Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz
Executive Officer & Chief of Staff
LA City Department of Recreation and Parks

Getting To Know You: Scott Campbell

A series of interviews with the FHCP Board of Directors

Scott attended Pepperdine University while working for a small Real Estate office in Malibu. After graduating from Arizona State University, he worked in corporate America for many years: Commercial Finance, Banking, and Insurance Claims, Auditing, and Management. Scott began his most recent career, in residential real estate, with a large regional company almost 20 years ago. After several years there, he joined a smaller firm before becoming a proud founding member of the Nourmand & Associates third office, in Hollywood. He represents buyers and sellers of condos, single family homes, and multi-family properties from West LA to Glendale and Eagle Rock, the Valley to West Adams, Baldwin Hills and View Park.

Scott feels it is important to give back to the community. He is currently on the Board of the Hollywood Media District BID and President of Hollywood Network Coalition, a broad-based organization comprised of residents, businesses, educational institutions and non-profits. He has volunteered as President and Vice-President of Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council and co-chair of its Planning and Land Use Committee, Hollywood Hills West NC and East Hollywood NC. He is a founding member and Treasurer of the Board of the Friends of the Hollywood Central Park. Scott has also volunteered with the Hollywood Community Police Advisory Board and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Scott is married to Hilliard Guess, a screenwriter/producer/director, and has two canine children, Venice and Malibu.

President Laurie Goldman sat down with FHCP Founding Board Member and officer, Scott Campbell on all things Hollywood:

LG: As an FHCP founding Board member, past president of CHNC, president of Hollywood Network Coalition and a Hollywood Media BID Board member, what are the motivating factors that define your passion for Hollywood and contribute to your activism?

SC: I’ve lived in Hollywood, in either the hills or the flats, since I was transferred to California in 1999. After getting to know the area, I was less than impressed with some of the things I saw and experienced. I had volunteered in both Seattle and Phoenix before that in order to make my neighborhood a better place to live. I decided to renew my efforts in Hollywood when I found out about the neighborhood council system. At the time, the original board was still in place and they had such vision and passion that I was swept up. Seeing what could be accomplished in that smaller environment excited me to find out what else was going on to produce a bigger, more long-lasting impact.

LG: In general, the benefits of the Hollywood Central Park are innumerable. Specifically, as a long-time Hollywood stakeholder, what do you see as the most compelling benefits of the Hollywood Central Park?

SC: You’re right, Laurie, there are so many benefits of the Park! For me, I can sum up the benefits in four words: physical and mental health. I learned the benefits of a park firsthand while growing up. I literally walked out our back gate, across the alley and was in an 18-acre park. The park provided freedom, athletic activities, space to run and play, room to walk/talk with friends, contemplate life, and relax. The Hollywood Central Park will provide that to the residents of our community that don’t have sufficient access now.

LG: As a follow-up question, will these benefits support and encourage a livable and sustainable Hollywood community?

SC: While I cannot quantify my opinion, I think the Park will improve the health and life expectancy of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s hard to get more livable or sustainable than that!

LG: From the Red Line to mixed-use developments, the past two decades have changed Hollywood. What changes have been favorable and unfavorable?

SC: I feel that the changes we’ve seen by those developments in Hollywood have all benefited the community. We have improved transportation opportunities which remove vehicles from the roads, revitalized neighborhoods, additional employment and office space, new residences and residents, and a myriad of new restaurants and healthy food spots. We’ve been able to maintain the character of Hollywood through all of these changes, including keeping the Farmer’s Market intact.

The cost, which should have been foreseen, has been the loss of affordable housing options and the eviction of those with perhaps nowhere to go at a comparable price. We see this in our homeless population and encampments. It’s tragic. I’m so glad there are additional affordable housing options coming online, but we need to do more. As you know, our Park Board as a whole, and through our Housing Committee, is highly motivated to consider, save, promote and hopefully even provide affordable housing options around the Park. I love that we are part of the solution.

LG: As a community of residents and businesses, what can we do to create a common vision for the future of Hollywood?

SC: Communicate with each other. I like being part of organizations that coordinate with other parts of the community, including with City Hall. I hope as time passes that more organizations, residential, non-profit, religious, business, fraternal, youth, educational, political, etc. will reach out to one another and work together. Some people will never want change. Some people will always consider their own fortunes first. Most people see that change is inevitable and want to contribute constructively to making the change work for themselves, their neighbors, and the rest of the community.

 

 

IOBY (In Our Back Yard)

By David Carrera

David Carrera is a general pain-in-the-ass and cranky pants resident of Hollywood of 30 years. Originally from Northern California, Hollywood is now home where he lives with his wife and where they are raising their daughter. Much to the chagrin of his wife, Hollywood might be the place where he grows old and perfects the art of “you kids get off my lawn” and “back in my day….”. He most enjoys spending his time hanging with his family and getting out into nature.

Parks are for all. They don’t discriminate; they allow entrance to everyone, regardless of race, religion, color, or income. There really should be a mini Statue of Liberty at every park entrance, the famous quote “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… “ welcoming us poor urban dwellers. “Poor” as in deficient in open green space, not necessarily “poor” as in money, though as an aside, I don’t see as many wealthy folks in parks as I do middle and working class. Which when you think about it, only makes sense, why go to a park if you live on an acre, park like lot in Hancock Park? I mean, it’s got “park” right in the name after all.

I’m a park guy. I’ve spent, and spend, a lot of time in parks. National Parks, State Parks, City Parks, you name it, I need what parks have to offer. I used to do 3-4 months a year in Yosemite, countless days in Joshua Tree, hundreds of days and nights in State parks like Malibu Creek and Leo Carillo. I saw scores of City parks driving through Colorado with a 3-year old, where we stopped two, three times a day at whatever small town park we could let our daughter play in. I saw so many parks in that 2-week road trip I was considering writing a Colorado park (city-park) guidebook!

I don’t always have the time to get out to those bigger parks and consequently spend a lot of time in my closest LA park, which happens to be De Longpre Park on De Longpre and June in Hollywood. It’s a wonderful small park, with great big old trees and some interesting history where in 1959 Jerry Fuller wrote the Ricky Nelson hit “Travelin’ Man” (thanks Tom LaBonge!) and Rudolph Valentino has two memorial statues (see some old photos here)

I’m in it almost every day. I walk my dog there; I took my daughter as a baby there every day until she started kindergarten. She has a lot of early childhood memories there, things she still talks about (and hopefully always will). I grew up spending all my free time outside. I find it healing, even if it’s only for a short duration, so I’ll take what I can get, where I can get it. Just a few minutes a day can even me out and really takes the edge off. That said, a small park like De Longpre is doing like ten-triple overtime heavy lifting duty with all the density in Hollywood and so few parks.

Last June, on the last day of school, we had sixty 5th graders over and the kids went crazy playing, running, scootering, and biking in the street. Yes, in the street, because we live on a small dead-end street, and the fact that it couldn’t have happened at De Longpre around the corner. It was not only too trashed with holes and dog poop everywhere to consider (but is currently receiving a big sprucing up-thanks David Ryu!) but there wouldn’t have been the room, what with the dogs and little kids and lawn loungers. So, we had them play in the street, like we still lived in the 1920’s in some Our Gang episode. It was a crazy sight, one that had to be seen to be believed. But it was super fun, the kids had a blast, and the neighbors were only momentarily annoyed. DeLongpre Park was built in 1924 for $66,000, which sounds like a lot for the time, so maybe the City Planners then (if there were any) wrestled with the same hurdles that we do today in building parks. Or maybe it was just as simple as kids played in the street and parks seemed unnecessary.

I don’t really know why we ended up so park deficient, but we are. We’re not going to be ripping down houses to build more parks anytime soon, so what do we do? How do we get to where most people agree we need to be -- where more people can escape city life for a few moments to take the edge off? I think it’s obvious that one big piece of the puzzle is Hollywood’s Cap Park. I can’t help but curse those guys from a hundred years ago who didn’t have the foresight to plan for our park needs today. How will we be judged a hundred years from now? Hopefully they’ll look back and say, “Thank God those guys a hundred years ago got that freeway covered with a park”.

David Carrera

For the Love of Hollywood Gala 2020


President Laurie Goldman and Chairman Alfred Fraijo, Jr.

Thank you to every Friend of the Hollywood Central Park who supported and celebrated For the Love of Hollywood Gala on January 16, 2020. For those who missed it or for those of you who can’t get enough, here is a recap of that magical evening.

For the Love of Hollywood Gala 2020 was a bittersweet celebration for FHCP. The annual event was dedicated in loving memory of Founding Board Member, Edward V. Hunt. It was with the deepest respect and profound gratitude that the FHCP Board of Directors created the Edward V. Hunt Distinguished Community Service Award to be awarded annually to an individual who, like Edward, cares passionately about their community, gives freely of their time and energy and in true Edward fashion is dedicated to making the world a better place. FHCP was honored to present this inaugural Award to Martha Hunt, an active community stakeholder, committed voice for what is right and fair and a champion of the Hollywood Central Park.

The Real Star of Hollywood awards were presented to Council Member David Ryu and LAPD West Bureau Commander Cory Palka – hear their heartfelt remarks by clicking on these links:

The festivities were hosted by none other than Tom LaBonge who returned for his third time as host of For the Love of Hollywood Gala. With his genuine love of Hollywood—especially The Park, Tom kept things moving on time and with a lot of humor. With their wit and charm, Gala Co-chairs Kyndra Casper and James W. Litz, demonstrated their passion and support for the Park, stirring the attendees to do likewise.

Heartfelt thanks to Assembly Member Richard Bloom and City Controller Ron Galperin whose inspirational remarks set the tone for the evening. And no Gala would be complete without a special acknowledgment to FHCP’s champion, Council Member Mitch O’Farrell.

FHCP gratefully acknowledges the many companies who sponsored this time-honored event and thanks them for their support.

Gathering as friends, colleagues and neighbors, attendees were committed to the same goal Building Our Park! This is what motivates all of us to do this every year. There were so many old friends and lots of new ones to share our beloved park with at our treasured Taglyan Center.


L to R: Nicholas Maricich, Director of Planning Policy and Development; Dr. Carol Armstrong, Mayor’s Office, City Services; AP Diaz, Executive Officer and Chief of Staff, LA Recreation and Parks, Barbara Romero, Deputy Mayor and Robert Philibosian, former LA District Attorney


L to R: Gary Safady, Joan Pelico, Chief of Staff, CD 5 and Council Member David Ryu


L to R: Kyndra Casper, Gala Co-Chair and FHCP Board of Directors, Greg Beck, Champion Real Estate Company and Benjamin Thompson, LAPD


L to R: Scott Rynders, FHCP Board of Directors, Sarah Drobis, Gibson Transportation and Thaddeus Hunter Smith, FHCP Board of Directors

Again, we thank our Hollywood community, for your continued commitment to the Hollywood Central Park. The Hollywood Central Park is the right thing to do for business. It’s the right thing to do for our children. It’s the right thing to do for Hollywood.

Looking forward to seeing you next year at For the Love of Hollywood Gala!

     


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