Development Good for Westwood

In response to several stories about the Village Center Westwood plan proposed by developer Ira Smedra, I would like to add my name to the list of supporters.

This plan is a wonderful idea to revitalize an area in desperate need of new energy. In the past, Westwood was a wonderful place to socialize now it is hardly thought of for business or social activities.

The anticipated plans will once again allow for Westwood to be thought of as a place for seeing movies, restaurants to choose from, shopping and of course business activities.

As a resident and business owner of the Westside, I certainly hope that these development plans will be approved to allow Westwood to once again be thriving center.

DAVID R. SLAVIN

West L.A.

Developer Spreading Misinformation

Thank you for your continued coverage of Westwood and its battle to ensure quality development. However, I'd like to correct two misleading statements in your article of May 12 ("Feuer Gives Nod to Westwood Project").

Larry Kosmont, speaking for developer Ira Smedra, is quoted as saying that Westwood "relies on less traffic and less intrusion from the outside world." If only that were true! Kosmont must be confusing Westwood with isolated enclaves like San Marino or Montecito.

Westwood is, in fact, the site of the most congested intersection in all of Los Angeles. We're flanked by a major highrise business corridor to the south, the San Diego Freeway to the west and UCLA to the north. UCLA alone generates more than 100,000 cars in and out of Westwood daily. Enough is enough.

Your story also states that a poll conducted by the developer "found that a majority of area residents supported the development." Baloney. The pollsters never asked respondents if they supported Smedra's movie mall. They were asked if they supported "revitalization in Westwood," and were never told who would be doing the revitalizing. Our surveys, protests, letters and petitions indicate that 95 percent of the community opposes a multiplex-based development in Westwood Village.

"Standoffish" is too mild a word to describe the community's opposition to the proposed movie mall. Resolute is more like it. Unlike the developer, we don't see the need for a total of 30 movie screens in our neighborhood. Or a cavernous sunken plaza engulfing a public street. Or 20,000 more cars squeezing through our tiny village.

We believe that good urban planning is what ensures quality development. We will settle for nothing less. As Frank Sinatra said, "The best is yet to come."

DEBRA GENDEL

Friends of Westwood

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