TUJUNGA GOLF COURSE GETS OK.Byline: Rick Orlov Daily News Staff Writer
Flip-flopping in the face of legal threats, the Los Angeles City Council The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States. ended a 12-year dispute Tuesday by approving an 18-hole private golf course for the Tujunga Wash Tujunga Wash is a stream in Los Angeles County, California. It is a tributary of the Los Angeles River, providing about a fifth of its flow, and drains about 225 square miles. .
Faced with the prospect of rejecting the controversial golf course and being forced to pay as much as $20 million to buy it - or consider an even more intense development - council members voted 10-4 in favor of the Red Tail Golf and Equestrian Center.
The vote came in front of some 400 residents in a meeting at the Lake View Terrace Recreation Center after nearly four hours of debate that divided residents over the future of the 400-acre site.
Most of the opposition came from residents of the Shadow Hills area, who were joined by environmentalists from other parts of the city who worry about the loss of open space and the potential flooding danger if there are brush fires.
Supporters, however, included many Sunland-Tujunga residents who complained about the present conditions with illegal dumping and those who hope for an improvement for the business community.
Still others came merely to watch the council in action.
``It's good they came out here and we could see how they act,'' said Ken Adkins, publisher of a monthly newsletter called ``What's Doin'.'' ``But you have to wonder about all the energy that goes into putting this on.''
The session was one in a continuing series of meetings held outside City Hall to allow the council to meet more directly with residents.
Apparently sensitive to past criticism of delayed starts and a limited participation by council members from other areas of the city, all but one of the council's 15 members appeared at the Valley meeting. Only Councilman Richard Alatorre Richard Alatorre is a politician, and a member of the Democratic Party. Alatorre has served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council. He was the first Latino to serve on the council in 23 years. - recuperating from stomach surgery - was a no-show. And the meeting began only 10 minutes after its scheduled 10 a.m. start.
Because the golf course plan directly affects the area, the council agreed to consider it at Tuesday's meeting.
``This is the best deal the city could get,'' a triumphant Councilman Joel Wachs Joel Wachs served for several terms as Los Angeles City Councilman for the 2nd district. He was first elected by defeating incumbent James B. Potter.
While in office, Wachs chaired the Public Works Committee and vice-chair of the Environmental Quality & Waste Management said after the vote. ``We are getting 240 acres as open space and structures on only five acres of land. Ninety-eight percent of the project will be green and open. I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. how anyone could have got a better deal on this.''
The council, which overwhelmingly rejected the same proposal in July 1997, acted after a court settlement forced members to reconsider their action.
Wachs and officials of the City Attorney's Office said refusal to approve the conditional-use permit for the course could result in legal action requiring the city to pay up to $20 million to buy the property.
Now the owners of the proposed Red Tail Golf and Equestrian Club will need to get approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The corps recently wrote city officials that it wanted to review changes made in the river course through the property as a result of the El Nino storms.
Red Tail spokesman Mark Armbruster downplayed the impact of that, saying engineers have estimated that the change in course involves 1.3 acres.
``We're talking about moving something 30 yards,'' Armbruster said.
But attorney William Eick, representing environmental groups opposed to the course, said the Army Corps of Engineers approval will not be easy to obtain.
``I predict there will not be one golf ball ever teed up in the Tujunga Wash,'' Eick said. ``The (El Nino) storms this year were nothing. Wait until there are fires, followed by floods. Then we'll see what happens.''
The original council opposition to the project came about through a rare coalition of unions and environmentalists, who were opposed to providing any benefit to Kajima International Inc., which holds a lien on the property. The unions are upset with Kajima's refusal to allow organizing of workers at its New Otani The New Otani is a chain of hotels, with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The main hotel in Tokyo opened in 1964, to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics of that year, and is known for the revolving restaurant atop the hotel, along with the New Otani Art Museum located on its sixth floor. Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The sprawling, multi-centered megacity is such that its downtown core is often considered just another district like Hollywood or .
However, Wachs said the union arguments did not carry as much weight as the potential costs to the city if it was determined that the city was not allowing the land to be developed.
``I think council members looked at the potential liability and decided it wasn't work the risk,'' he said.
David Heuber, who as president of the Foothill Golf Development Group has been working on the project for more than two years, said he has been working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and does not expect major delays.
``In a best-case scenario, we will start construction in 1999 and be able to open in the spring of 2000,'' Heuber said.
The 10 council members voting in favor of the project were Wachs, Richard Alarcon, Hal Bernson Hal Bernson served as Los Angeles City Councilman for the 12th district. He was chair of the Transportation Committee. Prior to being on the City Council, he served in the Navy.
Robert M. , Laura Chick, John Ferraro John Ferraro (May 14 1924—April 17 2001) served as a Los Angeles City Councilman from 1966 until his death. Early life
Ferraro was born in the working class suburb of Cudahy, California, just south of Los Angeles. , Michael Feuer Michael Feuer (1958-) is a Californian politician and lawyer. He now represents the 42nd Assembly District which includes Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and part of Los Angeles in the California State Assembly. He was elected in 2006 on the Democratic ticket. , Cindy Miscikowski Cindy Miscikowski represented the 11th District on the Los Angeles City Council for two full terms from 1997 through 2005. Previously, she was an aide to Councilman Marvin Braude and the Executive Director of the Skitball Cultural Center in its beginning stages. , Mark Ridley-Thomas Mark Ridley-Thomas (born 1954) is currently a California State Senate where he chairs the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee]]. He represents the 26th district which includes the communities of Vermont Knolls, Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, Hancock Park, Korean , Rudy Svorinich Rudy Svorinich (born 1960) is a Republican who served on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 15th district. A resident of San Pedro, his diverse district also includes the community of Watts. He was elected to the council in 1993 and served two full terns. and Rita Walters Rita Walters (1930-) is currently the commissioner of the Los Angeles Public Library. Prior to this position, she served on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 9th district. During that time, she chaired the Arts, Health & Humanities Committee. . Opposing the development were Ruth Galanter, Jackie Goldberg, Mike Hernandez and Nate Holden.
Goldberg and Galanter said they are concerned about the potential future liability if flood problems develop on the golf course or other properties. In addition, Goldberg lamented the loss of open space.
``Driving out here for today's meeting made me realize how valuable this property is,'' she said. ``We don't have enough of it in Los Angeles.''
PHOTO Some of the 400 residents at a City Council meeting in Lake View Terrace follow the proceedings.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News