Monday, October 11, 2004

ACTION ALERT: 1 Day left to Save the Ambassador Hotel!

The Ambassador Hotel, the site of the RFK assassination, may soon face the wrecking ball. The Los Angeles school district has various plans, nearly all of which require tearing down the Ambassador Hotel. ONE plan does not, that proposed by David Tokofsky.

The plan proposed by Los Angeles United School District Board Member David Tokofsky is the only one that allows for the preservation of the main building of the Ambassador Hotel (site of the RFK assassination) without drastic changes. Please call his office at (213) 241-6383 to voice your support TODAY, or FAX a note of support to 213-241-8467. This goes to his office and will give him ammunition. If you don’t feel you support his plan, ask at least for 180 more days to consider his plan to buy time before the wrecking ball swings.

Thank you very much for your continued activism on this very important issue!

P.S. If you live anywhere within the Los Angeles area and can attend the hearing, this will be key to the Board’s decision. The more people who care about the hotel, the more likely we’ll be allowed to preserve this critical part of history.

If you would like to see my comments to the board on this issue, which I made at the hearing a couple of weeks ago, e-mail me and I’ll send you a copy.


Lisa Pease
(e-mail address via the Contact me link at right)

Additional Information:

From: Los Angeles Conservancy []

The fate of Wilshire Boulevard's legendary Ambassador Hotel now comes down to a vote tomorrow (Tuesday). With the seven members of the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education poised to vote on a plan that would demolish all but fragments of the Ambassador, we need you at the final vote to show that Los Angeles simply won't accept demolition! IT'S NOW OR NEVER to show your support for preserving the Ambassador!

Final Hearing and Vote: Time and Location

3:30 p.m.
Board of Education Headquarters
333 S. Beaudry Avenue, 1st Floor
Downtown Los Angeles

Located just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway downtown at 3rd Street. Limited street parking available; paid parking available in lots around the corner at 4th Street and Boylston.

A Creative New Alternative to Save the Ambassador

This morning's Los Angeles Times has a very important story on the Ambassador issue, outlining a new proposal by School Board Member David Tokofsky that would save the hotel AND provide a K-12 school campus that is all-new construction.

Tokofsky's proposal is to use the main hotel building for LAUSD office space, teacher training, District conference facilities, and work-force housing for LAUSD teachers. Then, the District would build all-new school classroom facilities on the remaining 18 acres of the site. By building a five-story high school/middle school complex, it really is possible to accommodate a K-12 campus on these 18 acres, without sacrificing playing fields and open space.

The Tokofsky plan opens up a number of new funding sources for paying for the cost of rehabilitating the Ambassador Hotel main structure, which is about $100 million. The District would be achieving annual savings by consolidating its leases from expensive downtown high-rise office buildings. In addition, the District is paying up to $20 million per year to lease hotel conference facilities and meeting space -- activities that may be accommodated in the Ambassador's public spaces. The work-force housing component will meet the growing need among LAUSD teachers for affordable housing. It may also be funded by a combination of housing tax credits, rehabilitation tax credits, the City's Housing Trust Fund, and Redevelopment dollars earmarked for housing.

A True "Win-Win" Solution

While the Conservancy continues to believe that a great school may be created within the Ambassador Hotel, the Tokofsky plan offers some exciting new ideas and would be a sound compromise. This plan offers a true "win-win" opportunity on the Ambassador site. The "RFK-12 Taskforce" advocating demolition would get all-new classroom buildings and a commitment that bond money earmarked for school seats won't fund preservation. Preservation advocates would get true preservation, not demolition and a phony new facade. The Wilshire Center-Koreatown business community would get increased activity and a true community focal point.

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, in a statement released at a public meeting on Wednesday, has urged all parties on the Ambassador issue to "return to the negotiating table" to find a consensus solution to the Ambassador site. The Los Angeles Conservancy has applauded the Mayor's suggestion, and is prepared to participate in such discussions immediately.

This plan need not cause undue delay in constructing the school. LAUSD has not yet hired the architect for the Ambassador project or begun actual design of the school. The refinement of this alternative plan and creation of the more detailed design may occur concurrently with the supplemental environmental review necessary to move this idea forward.

We Need YOU Tomorrow

It is absolutely critical that we have a large crowd at Tuesday's hearing in order to influence the Board's decision. To speak at the hearing, you must sign up by calling the Board office at (213) 241-7002. The Board has presently closed off the speakers list at 30 names for this hearing, but also has indicated they may take additional speakers, so it's worth calling to put your name on the waiting list. If you've spoken at previous Board hearings, you cannot speak again. But YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEAK TO MAKE AN IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE. The Board needs to see as many people as possible standing in support of preserving the hotel in order to understand that the public cares about this issue: IF SUPPORTERS OF THE AMBASSADOR DON'T SHOW UP, THE HOTEL WILL TRULY BE "HISTORY.” If you work during the day, come after work. If you have child care issues, know that kids are welcome at Board of Education meetings. And, please pass along this e-mail to others: bring your friends and colleagues who care about preserving Los Angeles' history.

Call the School Board Today!

Though it's most effective if you can be present in person, if you can't attend tomorrow's hearing you can still help greatly by calling members of the School Board, particularly your own representative. Urge the Board Members to support the creative new alternative for the Ambassador site discussed in today's paper, and urge them to oppose Superintendent Romer's and Board President Jose Huizar's phony "compromise" plan that demolishes all but the Cocoanut Grove nightclub building.

District 1: Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte (South LA, 10 Freeway corridor, Hancock Park/Windsor Square); (213) 241-6382
District 2: Jose Huizar, Board President; (Eastside, Echo Park, Mid-Wilshire); (213) 241-6180
District 3: Jon Lauritzen (South and West San Fernando Valley), (213) 241-6386
District 4: Marlene Canter (Westside, Hollywood area), (213) 241-6387
District 5: David Tokofsky (Northeast LA, Silverlake, some South LA communities), (213) 241-6383
District 6: Julie Korenstein (East/Northeast San Fernando Valley), (213) 241-6388
District 7: Mike Lansing (Harbor area), (213) 241-6385 -- already supports full demolition

Saturday, October 09, 2004

E. Howard Hunt speaks, but just barely

Slate published a most interesting interview a few days ago with E. Howard Hunt, of Watergate and Kennedy assassination fame.

An interesting blog, Rigorous Institution, posted a little write-up filling in many of the missing pieces.

A tenuous link that continues to get stronger with additional file releases is the company Freeport Sulphur, now Freeport McMoRan, which tied together high-level Kennedy enemies with David Atlee Phillips and Clay Shaw, the man Jim Garrison prosecuted for involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate John Kennedy.

I frequently hear people say "we'll never know the truth." But I'm telling you, much of the truth is already known. If you read enough, you will sort the wheat from the chaff, or at least figure out who you trust to sort the wheat from the chaff for you. A good start would be the book another researcher and I put together - The Assassinations, which summarizes much of the newest evidence in the various assassinations of the sixties and lets readers put the facts together for themselves.

The truth is all around. We just have to keep paying attention.