An Open Letter to RD Olson: Your Hotel Project Gives Nothing Back to Our Community

SPRING 2017 UPDATE: A community petition is now circulating to show support of the concerns and values raised in this letter.

SIGN THE PETITION


 Dear Mr. Olson:

We write this letter to stand in opposition to your currently proposed hotel development, at 6407 Sunset Blvd, across the street from Amoeba Music. Hollywood is undergoing a boom of development of all types, and this may create sizable improvements in our community. However, without holding projects like yours to the standards our communities deserve, the chances of this boom benefiting only the speculators, and not the residents, is far too great to ignore. This hotel development is a prime example of a missed opportunity for the people who live, work, and raise families here if it is built without the standards we expect.

Your hotel is planned to soar 232 feet high, twenty-one stories, with 275 guest rooms. Yet you are seeking permits for this skyscraper with only the barest environmental review process. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has for decades protected Californians from large building projects that threaten their health or wellbeing, and that of the environment as a whole.

CEQA requires builders and the city to do a detailed study of the environmental impacts at every level of a project. In this case there seem to be what amount to loopholes to shirk this process and pay lip service to our legal protections. It appears only passing consideration was given to the significant new traffic trips added to the area by the hotel. The pollution from construction and long-term added traffic the hotel would bring to the congested intersections could have a large negative health impact.

You have made not one tangible promise on how this community will be enriched by its hotel. As advocates of economic justice and social justice we are concerned that there is no agreement to hire people from within the community to work there, or to build it. Worse, there is no guarantee to hire a diverse group of workers in an industry notorious for discrimination against African-Americans, LGBTQ people, and others. Hollywood’s diversity is our greatest source of strength and should not be cast aside. We have an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis, yet your company has not offered any assistance of any kind, not even a small percentage of emergency housing vouchers for any one of the 275 rooms.

There is not even a guarantee of livable wages and benefits to those who will work at the hotel. Hollywood does not need another big corporation providing only the absolute minimum the law allows in wages, healthcare, sick leave, and more. Without written, enforceable agreements with the company on community benefits like these and others, this project flies in the face of our shared values of civic responsibility, and care for the wellbeing of our neighbors.

 “The lifeblood of a living city is the ordinary people who live and work there.  People who have jobs that can sustain themselves and their families, who live in houses or apartments they can afford, who send their children to schools which educate them and imbue them with the values that we as a society hold dear.  From this deep well, from these ordinary people, comes our creativity, our vitality, our happiest impulses toward innovation and renewal.

The great cities of America, including Los Angeles are making it impossible for ordinary people to live in them.  In pursuit of short term profit we are setting ourselves up for long term poverty, for cultural and economic stagnation.  This hotel proposed for Hollywood does nothing to enrich our communal life.  It offers no jobs, no housing, nothing to warrant the profits its owners will reap in and from our city.” 

-The Rev. Thomas Carey
Church of the Epiphany

Our communities, our Hollywood, will always grow and change over time. This is what has kept us a vibrant, dynamic cultural epicenter where so many want to put down roots. We have not only a duty, but a right, to hold the companies that come here seeking to profit off what we built to do better by us, and better by our neighbors.

           

Sincerely,

           

Pastor William D. Smart Jr.                      Rev. Frank Alton

President/CEO Southern Christian                 St. Anathanasius, Echo Park

Leadership Conference

 

Pastor Cue Jn-Marie                                   Rev. Walter Contreras

The Row LA                                                   Vice-President of National

                                                                     Latino Evangelical Coalition

 

Rev. Frank Wulf                                         Rev. Richard Estrada

Echo Park United Methodist Church               Church of the Epiphany &

Founder of Jovenes, Inc.

 


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