Bernadette Soter, attorney Jan Chatten-Brown, Marian Dodge, Rick Starzak, Clare Darden, Van Griffith, Daniel Paul, Barbara Griffith, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Chris Laib, and Angela Stewart.
On a crystal clear perfect southern California morning the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to designate Griffith Park a Historic-Cultural landmark! Councilmember Tom LaBonge shepherded the motion deftly through Council fending off last minute requests to weaken the language of the nomination.
LaBonge’s introductory remarks were followed by the staff report from the head of the Office of Historic Resources Ken Bernstein. Rec. & Parks General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri stated that he was 100% in favor of the designation.
LaBonge invited Van Griffith, the great-grandson of the Park donor to speak. Griffith read an excerpt from the elder Griffith’s autobiography about having seen many great city parks in Europe, and if he had the resources he would like to donate such a park to the city. Later when he had the resources he did exactly that.
LaBonge also honored Daniel Paul of ICF Jones & Stokes, the consulting firm hired by the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust, for his research and work that went into the 350-page application. Griffith Park is now the largest historic monument in the United States.
Councilmembers Hahn, Greuel, and Garcetti cited their memories of going to the Park. Reyes pointed out the need to preserve open space in Los Angeles.
LaBonge stated that he had received many speaker cards for the nomination and asked all those in support to stand. He praised the community’s extraordinary efforts to get historic designation for Griffith Park.
This was indeed a massive community effort by people who are passionate about Griffith Park. It was overwhelming public support that made this nomination possible. It was a long journey through the initial Cultural Heritage Commission, where the nomination was almost killed, to the second Cultural Heritage Commission meeting, where it was recommended but not without a fight, to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, who recommended it unanimously, and finally to City Council on January 27.
There are many people who must be thanked for their dedication to the preservation of Griffith Park. LFIA’s Park Committee Co-chair Chris Laib suggested a Historic-Cultural Monument designation to the Griffith family. GGPNC’s Parks, Rivers, and Open Space Committee Chair Bernadette Soter began pulling together support for the nomination. Outreach efforts by many made the enthusiasm for the Park’s nomination snowball until we had the support of more than fifty organizations throughout the city.
Many people deserve a special thanks. The Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust: Van and Barbara Griffith, Clare Darden, Mike Eberts. LFIA: Marian Dodge, Chris Laib, Chuck Soter, Valerie Vanaman. Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council: Bernadette Soter, Ken Owen, Phil Gasteier, Bruce Carroll, Laura Howe, Kris Sabo. Oaks Homeowners Association: Gerry Hans, Bob Young, Mary Button, Lucinda Phillips. Sierra Club: Joe Young, Carol Henning, Delphine Towbridge. Griffith Park Master Plan Working Group: Clare Darden (Griffith Trust), Bernadette Soter (GGPNC), Gerry Hans (Oaks), Lynn Brown (Equestrian), Jeff Gardner (Atwater Village), George Grace (Franklin Hills), Louis Alvarado (hikers). Los Angeles Conservancy: Mike Buhler, Flora Chou. Planning Department Office of Historic Resources: Ken Bernstein.
A huge thank you goes to Griffith Park’s biggest fan, Councilmember Tom LaBonge without whose support this important protection for the Park would not have happened.
Many thanks to everyone who attended and to all of you who wrote or sent e-mails. Rory Fitzpatrick said that CD 4 received hundreds of letters in support of the nomination. Your voice counts. Together we can make anything happen.
Never doubt that a small group of concerned people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)