Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hollywood A-lister enclave is going to Hell

We walked through downtown Pacific Palisades on Presidents Day and what we saw in the wealthy burg the New York Times called a “providential enclave,” home to “A-listers” and “some of the highest housing prices in Los Angeles” brought to mind not former honorary mayor Jerry Lewis or wealthy celebrity neighbors like Larry David, Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, Steve Guttenberg or Martin Short-- but Bruce Springsteen and that song he wrote about his hometown and “Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores.” On Sunset Boulevard, and Swarthmore and Monument, the empty storefronts and vacancy signs have the place looking like a location for The Wire.

Recently, the owner of Village Books sent up the warning flare back in November that it faced closure because of big-box competition and “a half-empty street.” This morning, someone emailed us a petition for "preserving Pacific Palisades Village," and it places blame squarely on The Man, the posh suburb’s own Old Man Potter: “Palisades Partners… an entity that owns much of the Village business district. Unfortunately, they have no interest in the overall well being of our community.”

According to the local paper, Palisades Partners forced the closure of venerable gathering place Mort’s Deli and its replacement by The Village Pantry, former Mayor Riordan’s California Adventure version of a neighborhood eatery, with the $10 scrambled eggs (“((Mort’s widow)) faced a stiff rent hike by the landlord, Palisades Partners, who especially wanted more income generated by the Oak Room space…”). Shortly before the Pantry opened, the little French joint next door closed down and remains vacant.

Here’s the petition:

To: Palisades Partners and Local Government

We, the undersigned, are the residents and business owners and patrons of Pacific Palisades who are trying to help our stores and the Village from deteriorating and becoming a shadow of the town that we have all known and loved. 

One of the apparent causes of these problems pertains to the ownership of many local properties on Sunset Blvd. and Swarthmore Ave. The Palisades Partners is an entity that owns much of the Village business district. Unfortunately, they have no interest in the overall well being of our community. None of the Palisades Partners appear to live, shop or work here. 

The Palisades Partners are allowing their properties to become dilapidated. Worse, they have permitted shops to remain vacant for years, and they continue to reject attempts from even established, fashionable businesses to rent spaces.

We request that the Palisades Partners recognize that they do not merely own anonymous real estate. In their stewardship are the stores we shop in. What may be investments to them are the businesses that, woven together, form the fabric of our community. We want them act accordingly, by repairing, painting and maintaining their properties, and we want them to take reasonable, good faith measures to fill their spaces. By so doing, they could do their share to mend the rifts in our town. 

We are committed to the creation of a thriving Village by supporting our local businesses, shopping locally, and working together to better our community. 


The Undersigned

And here’s where you sign it.

1 comment:

Misanthropy Today said...

I lived in Pacific Palisades a short time ago and this place didn't have any soul then and I doubt it does now.

Any kind of "preservation" should have been done long ago-- if at all. If the zip code conscious yuppies can't support their local businesses who can?

I vote to tear down the whole village and put one of those hermaphroditic Best Buy/Coldstone Creameries/Old Navy malls right there.

Those people have no souls and deserve no small bookshops and delis run by martyrs who never once considered that doing business in Mayberry (if Mayberry was full of super-rich producers, Vice Presidents of Marketing and television actors) might someday ::gasp:: come to and end. As we all know, small businesses have a 99% success rate everywhere else but there.

Ok I sort of lost it here, painting both the small business owners and the citizenry as horrible bastards, but I had to do it.

And as Al Pacino says, "hey malibu! Fuck you too!"