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La Brea Neighbors Battle Development, Building & Safety

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With the La Brea Willoughby project set for a Planning & Land Use hearing on May 26th (after multiple delays), the group fighting the 7-story, 200-unit project (images of the project on their web site) hung this poster up at Formosa and Willoughby, a final message to their City Councilman. (And it's been a terrible week for City Councilman Jack Weiss, who lost his bid for City Attorney.) Patricia, the homeowner who put up the sign, emails us a report of what happened next: Two days after it went up, Building & Safety arrived, telling her to take down the sign. (Aren't there like four guys assigned to look for violations throughout the whole city? How do they find the non-important signs so quickly?)

Patricia emails: "Developers see an opportunity to cash in with a monstrous La Brea Willoughby project. The 7-story development will impose hundreds of apartments and dump many more cars right into this small section of Willoughby, where traffic is already approaching gridlock. The greater part of the community has been fighting this project for almost 4 years, a David against Goliath undertaking, since the developers have deep pockets and buy influence.

With the PLUM hearing days away, we decided to put a sign to protest the project and subsequent increased traffic. I offered my front yard at Formosa and Willoughby, the most impacted intersection, to broadcast the message.

In less then 48 hours after it was erected, an inspector from Building and Safety showed up to tell me the sign was in code violation and must be taken down. While he and I were talking, he was able to witness the reason for the sign; the huge volume of traffic, the flouting of laws, the oversized vehicles, the honking, the cursing, all those things that will become even WORSE if the developers get their way. I told him I’d get my handyman to take it down, probably on the weekend . . . but added how bemusing it is that HUNDREDS of illegal billboards blight our city, and with money behind them, tie up their removal in the legal system.

Our humble sign was less than two days up, and the city was knocking at my door and they knew my name. I don’t have a legal system behind me or even the support of my councilman. At times it really does seem rigged. I’m just thankful that I’m not the philistine in this case."