Separate and unequal
Friends and foes of Universal Studios Inc.’s massive expansion plan turned out in droves last week to express their views to a panel of L.A. city and county planning commissioners.
But while supporters and opponents alike gave commissioners an earful, only supporters of the plan got to leave the meeting with their stomachs full.
In a decidedly one-sided display of hospitality, Universal Studios provided free sandwiches and a separate meeting venue prior to the hearing for members of Universal City Tomorrow, a group of local homeowners that supports the expansion project.
Meanwhile, critics of the plan were left to fend for themselves, dining only on the cookies, coffee and tea available to all at the five-hour meeting that stretched until 9 p.m.
Encino homeowner Jerry Silver drew attention to the plight of his fellow hungry opponents by taking the stand and displaying a sandwich, complete with cocktail umbrellas sticking out of the top, for all to see.
“This sandwich could not be eaten by everyone in this room,” Silver declared, drawing laughs from other opponents in the crowd.
What’s in a name?
Plenty if you are opposed to development in Westwood Village. The group Friends of Westwood has been meeting for years against new construction projects in the area.
But if members aren’t careful, they might just end up attending the Jan. 29 meeting of Friends of Westwood Village. Similar names, different agendas.
The newly created group is a proponent of the proposed Village Center Westwood project. And, co-hosting the first meeting will be its developer Ira Smedra.
“It’s very confusing,” admitted Anne Sage, a spokeswoman with the PR firm of Casey & Sayre Inc., which represents the new group. “They should have chosen another name.”
Dove and Disney
A juicy dispute between Bevery Hills-based Dove Audio Inc. and the author of an anonymous expose about Walt Disney Co. is attracting gossip column headlines in the Hollywood Reporter trade magazine.
Dove reportedly put the book titled “The Tragic Kingdom: Inside Disney” on permanent hold last month, shortly after Dove signed a lucrative deal to produce television programming for… who else? Disney.
The author of the book, who signs herself “Anonymouse,” is reportedly claiming that Dove breached its contract with her. Meanwhile, Dove says she turned in a manuscript that was unusable, and has nonetheless failed to return an advance paid to her by Dove.
For months, the owners of the controversial topless joint Industrial Strip “close up entertainment for men” is how they describe themselves have been dogged by protesters gathering outside the Los Angeles and North Hollywood locations.
So the owners have decided to fight back, with a deal they call the “protesters’ special.” Admission is free if protesters are present.
Incidentally, that’s a $5 value if you show up before 6 p.m.; $10 for those arriving after 6 p.m.
In the latest effort to raid L.A. of its corporate citizens, the owners of a 1,600-acre oceanfront site are sending a pitch letter to any “company looking to capitalize on a $2.3 billion investment.”
The site has an impressive list of amenities, according to the letter: 200,000 square feet of never-used high-bay warehouse facilities, a 36,000-gallon-per-minute water delivery system, an on-site barge slip, 4 million people within a two-hour drive radius, and a four-lane access highway running 30 miles straight to the Golden State Freeway.
Well, that’s not what they actually call Interstate-5 up there in Grays Harbor County in the state of Washington.
The site’s infrastructure was actually developed by the Washington Public Power Supply System. Remember WPPSS (known as “whoops”), the atomic utility that cost taxpayers untold billions through its bond issues gone awry?
Possible uses for the property include a small town (that’s what it says) as well as R & D; and other business park-type developments. Fortunately for the theoretical future occupants, the pitch letter stresses, “the nuclear power plant was never activated.”