Let’s Stop Crossroads, a Pay-to-Play Development that Displaces Latino Families for Luxury Penthouses

In Corruption, Fight Back, Gentrification, Hollywood, Investigations, land use, News by Jill Stewart

On Tuesday January 15, please join the Coalition to Preserve LA in speaking against Crossroads, a precedent-setting development that can only bring suffering and smog to L.A.

The hearing is before the L.A. City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee at 2:30 pm Tuesday in Room 340 of City Hall.

The PLUM Committee, an obscure City Council body unknown to most Angelenos, has attracted national attention since November, when the FBI raided Downtown City Councilman Jose Huizar’s home and his offices at City Hall. The FBI hauled away files, and Huizar was quickly stripped of his powerful chairmanship of PLUM. PLUM is known as a “juice” committee because it routinely grants major financial rewards and incentives to luxury housing developers and luxury hotel developers.

Now the IRS is also investigating Huizar. Meanwhile, his wife has dropped her plans to run for Huizar’s City Council seat when he’s termed out of office.

The FBI raid on Huizar placed new focus on the Los Angeles City Council’s entrenched pay-to-play culture — in which council members meet privately with developers, take campaign money from them, and then award them lucrative exemptions and waivers from Los Angeles zoning and land-development rules.

From 2013 to 2016, Hollywood-area City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and his staff held multiple private meetings with Morton La Kretz, founder of Crossroads Management; Crossroads executive Linda Duttenhaver; Crossroads Management attorney Jerry Neuman; Harridge executive David Schwartzman and developer lobbyist Kyndra Casper. Both development companies contributed to O’Farrell.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board slammed the pay-to-play culture embraced by L.A. elected officials, saying it “has left the stench of corruption” in Los Angeles City Hall.

Crossroads is a particularly brazen example. The developer, Harridge, is insisting — and L.A. officials, so far, are agreeing — that its massive, GHG-generating, traffic-drawing, triple skyscrapers should get a fast-track waiver around California’s environmental standards because it’s an “Environmental Development Leadership Project.”

In other words, the Crossroads project, an unsustainable black eye for L.A., is GOOD for climate change.

Only residents can bring back common sense to City Hall. We invite you to speak Tuesday Jan. 15 against the awful precedents posed by “Crossroads”:

1) Environmental Development Leadership Project scams are still rare in L.A., but a nod from PLUM on Tuesday could invite a rush of developers seeking speedy victories for their own GHG-spewing projects.

2) The luxury housing developer, Harridge, wants 22 liquor licenses, in direct conflict with schools abutting the site, and turning what is a safe community of working Latino families into a Vegas mosh pit of supergraphics, globe-trotter penthouses and endless bars.

3) Crossroads’ three luxury towers would not only wipe out a historic Latino community of 84 rent-protected homes, but gentrify every block nearby, killing a core area of diversity and history in Hollywood.

Since 2000, more than 12,500 Latinos have been drummed out of Hollywood, yet thousands remain — and are targeted for displacement by city dealmakers. Read LA Weekly‘s cover story, Hollywood’s Urban Cleansing.

4) City leaders claim displaced Crossroads families will get “right of return” a promise that has been fully unmasked by activist Sylvie Shain, who showed it’s nearly impossible to move back home.

If you come on Tuesday: Park in ultra-cheap Judge Aiso Street parking, at 101 Judge Aiso Street, just two blocks east of City Hall. Enter City Hall on Grand Avenue, then take the elevators to the third floor. Here’s the official City Council File, CF-18-1088

Los Angeles City Hall insists on building high-rises with just 5% to 20% affordable units, digging the housing crisis hole deeper.

Los Angeles City Hall insists on building high-rises with just 5% to 20% affordable units, digging the housing crisis hole deeper. Crossroads is a prime example.