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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Chris Essel and Film Production: Not In My Backyard!

New documents have surfaced that paint an even more disturbing picture of CD2 candidate Chris Essel that prove she really is not a fit for CD2.

Essel is a longtime resident of the exclusive Doheny Estates community which really is much closer to tony West Hollywood and Beverly Hills than it is to CD2 and communities such as North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village. Sun Valley, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Sunland Tujunga.

In addition Essel has been extremely active within that community's homeowner's organization, The Sunset Doheny Homes Association.  Unlike  community advocate homeowner organizations such as the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, this is one of those totalitarian NIMBY crank groups that do everything from telling the homeowners when to breathe to what color you can paint your house.

Essel serves on the board and is a key player on the association's architectural committee.  Want to put a jacuzzi in your back yard? First you have to get Chris Essel's approval.  Thinking of some new landscaping? Ask Chris. Interestingly, one of Essel's partners in crime in her construction review kingdom is fellow board member Steve Cochran who hosted the CD5 mega-bucks birthday-a-palooza for Essel last week.

The group has such an odd and heavy handed approach that members are not even advised of the time and location of board meetings unless they ask and as the association's website says "we will try to accommodate your request." Imagine you dropped over a million dollars on your home and a self appointed cadre of blue hair nags get to tell you what to do and what not to do and you don't even have the opportunity to show up and comment.  Where's the Brown Act here?

But on top of all that the most amazing thing is that Essel and the association have sought to block film production in the area.  Say you're a realtor living in the area and the housing crunch has commissions down so you have a chance to keep the mortgage current by perhaps renting your home to a shoot for "Curb Your Enthusiasm."  Sorry.  Not allowed unless you're lucky enough for Chris and her secret board to say yes (not likely to happen).  So Essel, supposedly responsible for ENCOURAGING filming in LA says "Not in my backyard" when it comes to production. Of course this isn't the first time Essel has sent production packing leading talkradio host Kevin James to call Essel the "Queen Bee of Runaway Production".

Imagine - Chris Essel doesn't want TV or film crews in HER neighborhood but she's more than okay with SB1818 developers building a ten story condo in yours!

The bottom line is that a NIMBY gated community Beverly Hills adjacent corporate lobbyist like Essel is a horrible match for a working class district like CD2. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Higby did you see that the odorous blogger has another profanity laden post calling Tamar the B word. Will the Essel campaign finally distance themselves from him?

December 05, 2009 11:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Joseph Mailander agrees with Higby on Essel's latest f-up. That isolates Clown Phil and Smelly. Chris is in really bad shape.

December 05, 2009 11:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You're way off on this one - not a legit excuse to bash Essel, except that she is a hypocrite on the issue. But I'm fully WITH the HOA in NOT allowing every "down on their luck" homeowner who needs bucks, or people who rent out homes in expensive hillside areas just to rent out homes for bucks and create a nuisance, to be allowed to get away with it.

Movie shoots on narrow hillside streets where parking is already a problem, where trucks jamming the street would become a huge safety obstacle in case of fire, where the noise carries like in an echo chamber, where the standard rule that a company has to pay off only the immediate neighbors, doesn't apply.

I've had on my street film students rent out a house with a view just to rent it out, another homeowner who had "a business" of renting to locations, another who used an extra addition built just to be a commercial production studio. Nearly impossible to get rid of this unless homes unite.

Alarcon can shove his idea of turning everyone's neighborhood into hell so some arrogant film crew and one house that benefits can claim "It's for California!"

Go to neighborhoods where there's room, and where maybe neighbors don't have THEIR huge monthly mortgage or rent a loss along with quality of life so some arrogant slobs and trucks can turn their lives into a jammed, noisy hell.

Sure blame Chris for being a hypocrite on this issue along with ALL film executives, but not the neighborhood.

Not ONE hotshot film producer, director, star or executive EVER lets another co, shoot near their home without putting up a bloody fight and if that doesn't work, suing. They do it even if a neighbor remodels - hypocrites? You betcha. Should the neighborhood allow this so they can spew their bullshit that only applies to the OTHER guy? NO f'in way.

December 05, 2009 12:01 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

1100 since you mentioned I did see it. Amazing. But typical. And so hyprocritical of Essel who lied that this blog called her similar and worse names to have one her supporters go off like this. Will Essel denounce it? Time will tell.

December 05, 2009 12:46 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

12:01 another typical Westside hypocrite NIMBY. Someone else's neighborhood huh? You are what is wrong with this city. Short sighted anglo myopia.

December 05, 2009 12:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby you're an idiot - nothing like making your candidate Krekorian look BAD as the candidate who'd ruin everybody's neighborhood for the benefit of a few assholes and people who can't afford to live there in the first place. Like you - you'd LOVE to be the asshole who rents out a house with a few other jerks who can't afford to buy in the hood, so you trash the quality of life for everyone and say "it's for the good of California!" Bullshit.

December 05, 2009 1:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

A couple of thoughts on the HOA letter:

Most HOA's require consent prior to film shoots. They usually charge the homeowner a fee.

I'm baffled who this group's legal adviser is. Changes to CC&R's require 75% approval, not 50%.

Oh, and I hate HOA's.

December 05, 2009 4:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

HOA's are a racket. What a lot of them do is levy unreasonable fines against the homeowner and either the homeowner doesn't know about it or they can't pay. Once they don't pay the HOA places a lien on the property and seizes it. Then the board members buy the place from the HOA for a song and flip the property for a hefty profit.

December 05, 2009 5:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I wrote 1;30 BUT agree with person who says HOA's are a racket. On my street when we were upset by filming that was disruptive as I described, we went and got a petition signed from all the neighbors who felt the same way for real - it wasn't some power play by a handful of people who control some Board and dictate to everyone else, the Neighborhood Nazis. Two different things.

The HOA's DO have too much control over certain candidates running in fear of them, while they don't represent the REAL majority.

AND I said that Essel is hypocritical as a CANDIDATE who'd probably advocate letting this type of filming occur in everyone else's neighborhood. It should be upto the neighborhood and benefits should be more fairly distributed, not go to one homeowner/renter who is often the "I'm not really part of the community anyway so don't give a shit what I do do the neighbors" kind. Might as well be renting out their house for porn - actually THOSE crews are considerate knowing that they're lightning rods for opposition.

December 05, 2009 6:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I agree that HOA's are a racket.
The problem is there isn't any oversight or accountability for them.
Davis and Lockyer gave them carte blanche.
I know of people in my HOA that sued them, and rightfully so.
What happens is the HOA charges assessment fees to fight the suit. In time, the plaintiff has to drop the case because, unlike the HOA, the homeowner's funds are limited.
The previous poster is right that the lien game is a way to take their properties. I was put on notice about a lien and couldn't figure out what happened. Turns out they sent their bills to the wrong address.
HOA's seem to be allowed to impose illegal taxes by way of assessment fees. Every now and then we get to vote on those fees. However, assessment fees have occurred without the benefit of a vote. One assessment fee was for 13 thousand dollars (that's on top of the usual monthly costs). The fee happened without a vote.
With regard to filming, my HOA didn't ban filming, but they imposed a fee that ensured there would be no filming.
It almost seems like HOA's are legal mini-governments sans the constitutional protections that should be in place for homeowners.
Something should be done at the state level to lessen the hold the Sterling-Davis Act has on the individual homeowner. I suppose that will never happen since the developers have a stronghold on them.

December 05, 2009 8:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Brown Act has nothing to do with HOAs, private organizations, or nonprofits.

December 05, 2009 10:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The dingbat essel is full of shit.

December 05, 2009 11:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I think every neighborhood in Los Angeles should be ENCOURAGING filming in any and all areas of the city. This is a vital part of our economy and what LA is known for. It's crazy to want to chase them out of town.

December 06, 2009 4:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anonymous on December 05, 2009 @ 10:36 PM said...
"The Brown Act has nothing to do with HOAs, private organizations, or nonprofits."

I believe the Brown Act does apply to some, if not all, HOA's. In Chater II of the Brown Act ("Bodies Subject To The Brown Act"), some HOA's fall under non-profit corporations that are governed by the this law.

In the event some HOA's are not governed by the Brown Act-I'm not a lawyer-there is a section in the The Davis Stirling Act (applies to all HOA's). Chapter 4, Article 2, the "Common Interest Development Open Meeting Act" (CA Civil Code 1363.05), has the same intent as the Brown Act for all members of an HOA.

So, even if the Brown Act doesn't apply to this HOA, the open meeting provision under the Davis Stirling Act does. While I cannot speak for the author of this post, his point may have been more about open meetings (with proper notice of voting items) than whether it's the Brown Act &/or the Davis Stirling Act.

The letter from Ms Essel's HOA uses the word "clarification" of some existing rule. It's possible this filming requirement was in their CC&R's before Ms Essel was elected to their board. In addition, it is the required notification for HOA members to vote on the matter, as noted in the last sentence of the first paragraph. In fact, this letter proves that notification, for all members to vote, took place well before any specified deadline.

In any case, I really hate HOA's.

December 06, 2009 4:15 AM  

Anonymous Charlie Baker said:

Essel is a YIMBY - Yes in my Backyard - which is a NIMBY in disguise who pushes projects and other high impact issues to other neighborhoods so that her little part of the world can be protected.

December 06, 2009 8:53 AM  

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