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Beverly Hills Weekly
Beverly Hills, California
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March 16, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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March 16, 2000
 

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ci Not Too Late To Right A Wrong By Ellen Stern Harris As the curtain was about to rise on Act II, Scene l of Beverly Hills' Theatre of the Absurd's first major production, packets were being hand delivered to civic leaders throughout Beverly Hills. The long promised Cultural CenterTraffic & Parking Study was being made available, at last. This was just hours before a con- troversial cont,-act was expected to be approved between the vice- mayor's foundation, and her col- leagues on the City Council. It was for a 55 year lease at $1 a year for the historic Crescent Station Post Office and all of its coveted parking spaces. This thick, technical report, filled with pages and pages of tables con- taining hundreds of tiny numbers, would take a trained professional at least a day to review. Having received it at 3:55 p.m. the day of the 7:30 p.m. Public Hearing on the subject, one recipient noted that left only a few hours, at most, to read this important document. This assumes no time to prepare dinner, much less testimony, before depart- ing for City Hall. Just as the impossibility of the sit- uation was sinking in, calls went'out from City Hall to recipients of the traffic study, announcing that the scheduled public hearing was being postponed to March 28 at 7 p.m. This was reminiscent of the during the Council's State-required public comment period. But the Council ignored us. From the very beginning, the plot for this munici- pally sponsored play has been based on official ego, arrogance and deceit. It took the spunky proprietor of the Beverly Hills Market, to show the The plot for this play has centered around official ego, arrogance and deceit. ;  Council's previous scheduling of a public hearing, a few years ago, on the City's intended purchase of the Crescent Station from the USPS. Then, when tremendous public con- cern was expressed, callers to City Hall were told that the hearing on that matter was canceled. Nonetheless, thirty-four of u, all of whom had post office boxes at Crescent. showed up and testified Council just how strongly the citi- zen D' feels about their blatant manip- ulations. The Council had planned to evict the market to install a postal store in that city-owned space. When Shawn Saeedian's devoted customers found out about it, thousands of them signed petitions protesting the City's actions. When Shawn present- ed these to the Council, they wisely saw the error of their ways and backed down. That's what's needed now. The Council should finally acknowledge that the Cresceni Station, as a post office, is the anchor of our City's master plan. One councilmember prides herself on upholding city planning principles. She might now act on those principles. The Council should arrange to reinstall our 3,000 boxes at Crescent Station's Great Hall. Then, they should let a contract to operate this marvelous public space as a full ser- vice postal facility. This is exactly what the vice-mayor, who is also the cultural foundation's spark plug, and a currently active board member, promised would occur. And, while the Council's at it, a belated chorus of mea culpas would be appreciated. Ellen Stern Harris is executive director of Fund for the Environment and may be ached at ellen @bhweekly.com The Telephone Connection Serving Beverly Hills since 1988 Voice Mail Service Doctor's Service Local and Long Distance Phone Service "Follow Me" and Conference Call Service 310-789-79OO March 16-22, 2000 7