At the school board meeting on Feb. 8, the discussion of capital projects came up late in the evening, after an already emotional agenda. Proponents of the new sports complex, advocates of the needed renovations at the Robert Frost Theater, and parents passionate about solar power all spoke to the board. Seasoned community activist Alan Elmont framed it this way; “You are the third school board to look at these things and say that you are going to decide what to do. Do something.”
At the city council on Feb. 14, another discussion of the prospects for Parcel B went through the same sieve. In asking the council to approve of a “request for proposals” process Redevelopment Agency Director Sol Blumenthal stated “ I don’t think the agency can be accused of acting in haste.” Andy Weissman noted that this was his third decade of looking at the possibilities for the parcel, from his time on the planning commission to his current seat. Ken Kaufman, owner of Rush Street, noted that when he signed his lease in 2007, Parcel B was a part of the enticement of opening downtown, with the promise that something would be built there.
Both the council and the board have to consider carefully. Beyond the time and money already invested, they need to be able to see how to please as many people as possible while offending or alienating as few as they can. But anything left to constant discussion can’t be resolved, and cannot be built. The time for more information and more input really needs to be over.
Change is a challenge to human nature, and these changes that we ourselves create (as opposed to those we simply accept from the outside) are really daunting. Why? Then we are left with no one to blame but ourselves. In example, the previously approved design for parcel B (dubbed the Red Box) was so disliked, Mehaul O’Leary tore up a picture of it during a previous council session, to much applause, and everyone agreed it was better that that particular monster was not built. (Whew- we almost had a decision and some action.) Still, the most perfectly located piece of real estate in town, really in all of West Los Angeles, is a temporary parking lot.
The winds of change are blowing at hurricane speeds.
Crossroads received a note this morning from the the school district’s Environmental Sustainability Committee Chair Todd Johnson that the CCUSD just lost out on $220,000 as the solar power incentive is now dropped to another level. The people who got in line ahead of us will be cashing in on that slice.
There are times when it’s prudent to wait, when the thing to do really is to gather more evidence or simply weigh the options. That time is behind us. Now, while we have a school board dealing with the next oncoming financial crisis, now is the time to transfer to sustainable energy and save money. Now, while we have just a few moments before the train arrives the east side of town is changed forever, now is the time to put up a Parcel B building that will accent downtown in a way that works to show Culver City to it’s best advantage.
No more studies, no more meetings, no more surveys or workshops. Whatever we decide to do, the moment has arrived to do it.
Do something. You will be so very glad that you did.