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W Hotel Serves As Hollywood Backlot for Budget Bashing

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of Los Angeles brought reporters and supporters to the roof of the Music Box club in Hollywood this morning for a press conference about the redevelopment funding cuts and seizures authorized in the state budget proposal. Why an unshaded rooftop in the plains on an 85 degree day? So everyone could gaze upon the economy-stimulating glory of the CRA/LA's Hollywood and Vine housing, hotel, and retail project as it went about getting constructed. CRA/LA CEO Cecilia V. Estolano said the development is giving Los Angeles 3,600 union construction jobs, 600 permanent jobs, and low- and moderate-income housing.

Villaraigosa credited the CRA with keeping construction active during the recession, and said that the city plans on fighting Sacramento, both by protesting the passage of the budget as is and by suing the state if necessary. He also said the cuts would affect his affordable housing plan, but didn't give details.

Richard Slawson, the executive secretary of LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council, said the state is preventing Los Angeles from doing what it needs to do to get out of the recession. Southern California Association of Non-profit Housing Executive Director Paul Zimmerman, and Robin Hughes, president of affordable housing provider Abode Communities, both spoke about the importance of affordable housing in revitalizing neighborhoods and low-income communities. A construction worker on the Hollywood and Vine site also spoke, saying she felt lucky to have a job.

The big crowd pleaser was Ann Kinzle, an 82-year-old Reseda activist, who called state lawmakers "SOBs" and said, "I'm gonna live long enough to see Reseda come back and be the hub of the Valley." The Reseda Regional Shopping Center could lose $9.35 million in CRA/LA money if the state budget passes.

Stay tuned for a list of the specific projects affected.
· CurbedWire: W Hollywood's Backside, Special Sunset Junction Meeting [Curbed LA]
· Look At W Hollywood Residences: Point/Counterpoint [Curbed LA]
· Complicated Housing Plan Also Targets You, Middle-Class Renter [Curbed LA]