TNN has been following the plight of 16th Place residents since they woke up one day in 2011 to face a wall raised up in one night by the developers of Midtown Crossing. The wall obliterated their valued views of the Hollywood Hills, something the developers and the City had promised would not happen. It also created a host of environmental problems for their community.
Led by Robert Portillo, 16th Place residents have engaged in a persistant effort to convince Councilmember Wesson to address the environmental consequences of the Midtown Crossing wall to their property; off the chart noise, pollution, billboards and lights blaring into their living rooms. Despite initial promises to help, Wesson ignored follow up and emails for over 3 years, finally agreeing to meet with them just prior to the recent elections. As a result, the illegal billboards that had been glaring into their homes were finally removed.
An effort to schedule a follow-up meeting with the Councilman to address additional solutions (including a sound wall that had been promised) hit a wall when he said he would refuse to meet if the editor of The Neighborhood News, would be present. 16th Place insisted she had a right to participate and prevailed. During the meeting, Councilman Wesson appeared to be in a hurry to leave, gave the residents about 15 minutes of his time before he turned the meeting over to his deputies Sylvia Lacy and Deron Williams.
A telling moment came when Ms. Lawrence asked the Councilman directly, "Councilman Wesson, are you genuinely concerned about the issues that 16th Place faces?" The Councilman suddenly appeared flustered. Was it a trick question? Should he answer honestly? He paused searching for a response, he hemmed and hawed, finally muttered "of course" and changed the subject. Soon after he got up and hurried off.
Sylvia Lacy continued the discussion, generating a list of action, including looking into the installation of a promised sound wall, while Deron Williams spent most of the meeting texting. The meeting ended with Sylvia agreeing to give ongoing and timely follow-up reports.
Since the meeting she has refused to respond to any emails asking for follow ups.
In the meantime, TNN has discovered that when residents in Wellington Square wanted to start a weekly community market, zoning would not allow for it. Councilman Wesson went to bat for them and got the zoning law changed allowing them to put in their market. Sylvia Lacy resides in that community.
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.