GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
Send us your stories, ideas, and information. Insiders welcome - confidentiality guaranteed.

stories along The Way

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Last chance for Griffith-Elysian connector trail

Approval of another apartment complex for Los Angeles slum lord Sam Menlo marks the end of the last chance for a connecting trail between Griffith Park and Elysian Park - unless the City Council can be convinced to vote against it next Wednesday in chambers.

This blog thinks they should vote against the Menlo development. The Red Car trail is a historic trail, and this is its last chance to be completed. Like the Griffith Park Historic Monument application, the Red Car Trail is so much more than another apartment complex - it is a significant contribution to the internal health of this City. One hopes our City Council has even a minute understanding of  an important moment in time. Sadly, this is doubtful. Even LaBonge, who loves to milk those significant moments, is siding with the slum lord developer.

The Corralitas Red Car Property blog has a lot about this Sam Menlo character. The City continues to do business with one of the worst slum lords in Los Angeles, to the detriment of hikers and passive recreation. Hat tip to the same blog for the below image.

The following is an email blast from the "Friends of Griffith Park" group with the appeal information:

The citizens and wildlife that live in Los Angeles are about to lose the only trail that links Griffith Park to Elysian Park - a trail that was mandated by the State Legislature in 1983 as the Griffith Park to Pueblo de Los Angeles Trail (also called the "Red Car Trail"), and is included in the City Community Plan. The City has erroneously approved the construction of a 120 unit condo by the infamous developer Sam Menlo that would straddle the trail and forever close it to human and wildlife use. We must not allow this to happen. The L.A. Times has a complete dossier on Mr. Menlo's slumlord reputation and problems with the law, Click here to see it: ""
There is one last chance to save the Red Car Trail, if we take action immediately. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has filed an appeal to invalidate the City condo approval and allow their plans to create a hiking/equestrian/wildlife trail  to move forward.  The Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) voted to deny the appeal yesterday, Tuesday, May 11th. Score another point for developers, and zero for the citizens of Los Angeles! There is one final vote by the City Council on Wednesday May 19th. We need to support the Conservancy's appeal, and tell the Mayor and members of the City Council that the interests of the Citizens of Los Angeles are more important than the interests of condo developers.
We especially need to tell Councilman Tom LaBonge, who has indicated his approval of the condo project,  that the destruction of the "Red Car Trail" is a disservice to his constituents, and all the people of Los Angeles. 

Please register your support by signing our petition and leaving comments at the following link:
Email addresses and telephone numbers for Council Members and the Mayor are available at the City of Los Angeles website. Click here:
Councilman Tom LaBonge's telephone number: 213-485-3337
His email address: Other contact for Councliman LaBonge is available on his website: Click here:

Background information (from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy press release of May 7, 2010):
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Appeals City Decision to Sever Wildlife and Trail Corridor Between Griffith and Elysian Parks
Proposed 120-unit condominium project expansion along Riverside Drive would jeopardize mammal populations in Elysian Park and build over future community trail
Los Angeles—The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (Conservancy) is appealing the City of Los Angeles's decision to permit a 120-unit condominium project on the former Pacific Electric Red Car right-of-way on Riverside Drive in Silver Lake. As designed, the project would eliminate a heavily-used wildlife movement corridor between the City's two flagship parks, genetically isolating mammal populations within Elysian Park. The project would also prevent the planned extension of a popular hiking and equestrian trail along the Red Car right-of-way properties connecting Griffith and Elysian Parks.
The Conservancy has requested minor changes to the building plans to accommodate the wildlife corridor and future trail; however, the City has refused to require the applicant to dedicate any land for the community trail. Instead, the developer has decided to give the property in the trail corridor to neighboring homeowners. Fourth District Councilmember Tom LaBonge faces strong resistance to the trail from these few vocal homeowners poised to benefit directly from the development. The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Committee both recommended to the City that the hiking and equestrian trail dedication be required.
City officials' suggested trail alternative on the east bank of the Los Angeles River is separated from the subject area by Interstate 5, Riverside Drive, and the river itself and thus provides no substitute alignment. If the Conservancy's appeal is denied, precedent will be set to eliminate Community Plan trails without a formal Plan Amendment hearing. In this case a few homeowners are driving the elimination of the El Pueblo to Griffith Park Trail.
Designated by the State Legislature in 1983, the El Pueblo to Griffith Park Trail is designed to connect downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Mountains via the historic Pacific Electric Red Car right-of-way west of Riverside Drive. As far back as 1981 former Councilmember John Ferraro pushed legislation for the City to adopt this trail corridor. Because of its unique qualities, the all-dirt, off-road hiking and equestrian trail is included in the Silver Lake-Echo Park-Elysian Valley Community Plan. A portion of the trail south of Fletcher Drive is currently widely used by community members accessing Elysian Park. The proposed development runs from Fletcher Drive northwest to Glendale Boulevard and would permanently foreclose future completion of this halfmile-long trail segment.
Please register your support by signing our petition and leaving comments at the following link:
Thank you for supporting Griffith Park and its wildlife.