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Monday, December 10, 2012

Krekorian and Historic Tacos

City Council Member Paul Krekorian is noted for being one of the more intelligent and articulate members of the Municipal Horseshoe, but a recent series of missteps is not helping perception of the Second District rep as of late.

You may remember the controversy where Krekorian's regular column in hyper-local news blog, Studio City Patch, was demoted from featured status because of revelations that the question and answer format feature (ghostwritten by Krekorian Communications Director Jeremy Oberstein) had created fake constituents who were submitting comments to the Councilman to respond too.

Later, we reported on a sinkhole in the NoHo Arts District in CD2 that was left to sit simply guarded by pylons and repairs were not arranged until I had to be really annoying and cause a stink about it.

Now, the closure of a beloved community icon, Henry's Tacos, may be partially blamed on Krekorian.

The Studio City taco stand has operated on the corner of Moorpark and Tujunga for 51 years. In fact, I remember passing by there every day as my mother drove me to my nursery school on Moorpark and Colfax. The third generation owner has been locked in a struggle with the landowner who reportedly has some development plans for the site. Unable to secure a long term lease, she turned to the community to seek designation of the 1960s style roadside stand as a cultural-historic landmark.

The City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission did indeed, by a unanimous vote, find the business and structure to be historic and recommended to the full City Council that such status be conferred. Next step would be that Krekorian, as the Council Member for the location where the business sits, would shepherd the Commission's recommendation through Council.

According to Oberstein, and other press reports, the application was heard before the Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee. Krekorian asked the PLUM Committee to postpone the application  pending the land owner and Henry's owner working out a reasonable lease arrangement. That was earlier this year and from that point, no further action was taken by Krekorian nor PLUM.

Lacking the Cultural Landmark designation, and following the land owner not coming to terms with Henry's or potential buyers (some of whom who reportedly agreed to all of the landlord's conditions), the owner of Henry's, Janis Hood (granddaughter of the founder), opted to shutter the business.

Once that went public, the ire of some segments of the community turned to Krekorian for the failure of the stand to gain the monument status. A remark one reader made to me was that it was a "pocket veto" by Krekorian of the status.

We spoke with Oberstein who said much of what had been written or said was "misinformation." "The challenge that Henry’s has faced is due to a private business relationship; it is not at all due to the status of the City’s historical designation process," Oberstein wrote me.

Following this, Oberstein released a statement from Council Member Krekorian, which basically reiterated his view that this was a private matter and that Krekorian was waiting on the two parties to reach agreement. Krekorian stated that he never heard back from either party and that he first learned of the closing from a Facebook post.

I asked Oberstein what would the normal procedure be in handling a matter like this. If indeed the Council Office had not heard from the parties would Krekorian's staff reach out to them for an update? I didn't so much get a direct answer as a repeat of their position that they had never heard from either party.

At the same time, Krekorian may have felt sensitivity that some were going to accuse him of doing the developer's bidding. Krekorian's statement included "I also feel that I must make clear that suggestions by some that I have “other plans” for the property are simply false." The Council Member states he is not aware of any plans for the property and that the owner has not sough any zoning changes, building permits, etc.

In the meantime, a number of Hollywood celebrities are ralliyng to try and save Henry's.

Bottom line: While the issues here are complex, and Krekorian is likely correct that the cultural status alone would not save Henry's, it does appear that a good amount of internal bungling may have led to perceptions of Krekorian's intent for the property and perceptions he and his staff will need to spend quite a bit of precious time reversing. Perhaps an initial follow up call to the parties early on would have saved the Council Member quite a bit of trouble.

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24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I ask you once again, werent you the #1 champion of Krekorian during his campaign? Did you not vet him, or did you just "imagine" that you were smarter, wiser than everyone else? Fair question at this point.

December 10, 2012 2:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Very sad! Once again, greed drives a small business out...and in this case, kills another slice of Studio City history. I went to Henry's from the day it opened, and I am disgusted that there couldn't be some kind of deal cut to keep it going. Way to go Mr.Ebrahimpour...and nice job championing your constituents and Valley history Councilman Kerkorian. You should both feel very proud of your contributions...EPIC FAIL!

December 10, 2012 3:13 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

2:23 - fair, indeed. I did vet him as I did all candidates and while I am generally smarter and wiser than everyone else, I made a boo boo.

At the time, I was smarting from having supported a number of good, grassroots candidates who did not run properly organized campaigns. So I went with someone who seemed like a regular guy but who could also marshal the resources to win.

Yea, I screwed up.

December 10, 2012 3:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Further to the first commenter's point, Higby, you did with this blog the very same thing that you allow Scott to do with it. Use it to push STUPID thoughts based on WEAK information without RESEARCH.

What you get is people like Krekorian running roughshod over common sense.

People can call Phil Jennerjahn an idiot and moron all they want, but he was and remains 100% correct about Krekorian, the Dark Lord.

December 10, 2012 3:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

223 here, Higby.

Kudos to you for admitting it.

You should be more open minded about others' opinions on things, without having to be threatened with a lawsuit in order to retract things, like case where Red Spot slandered Gatto. I don't know Gatto from a hole in the wall, but it was a perfect example of screwing up and not owning it.

But again, kudos to you for taking ownership of being wrong. As Dick Riordan used to say, "it's a damn, damn" shame that you are now stuck with Krekorian, who will undoubtedly keep getting re-elected.

December 10, 2012 3:44 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

With all due respect to my pal, Phil Jennerjahn, I'll take Scott's research over Phil's any day. Phil is purely a commentator. Scott has a bias, but he is more of an analyst and investigator. You may say is work is sloppy or not your cup of tea, but he's breaking news the LA Times and others are too lazy or too corrupt to cover.

December 10, 2012 3:51 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

With all due respect to my pal, Phil Jennerjahn, I'll take Scott's research over Phil's any day. Phil is purely a commentator. Scott has a bias, but he is more of an analyst and investigator. You may say is work is sloppy or not your cup of tea, but he's breaking news the LA Times and others are too lazy or too corrupt to cover.

December 10, 2012 3:51 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

And what research at the time would have showed us the type of Councilman Paul was going to be? Would Essel have been any better?

December 10, 2012 3:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby,

Scott is an "investigator?"

Uh, yes or no, did you get a letter saying you'd better retract SCOTT's claim that Gatto was evicted from a building IN WHICH HE NEVER LIVED!?

Yes or no. Did you have to remove and apologize for it, and have you continued to allow Scott to spend a wildly inordinate amount of time on him in the wake of it?

As for Essel, we have no idea how she'd have been. But we DO know how Krekorian turned out.

Regarding Phil, plain and simple, he was right about Krekorian with no research, and you were wrong about Krekorian with it. And if you're so down on Phil, why do you egg him on?

December 10, 2012 7:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil was not only right about Krekroian, but about Alarcon and LoBonge too. It is too bad he is so obnoxious thinking his views would be welcome in a highly liberal part of the city.

December 10, 2012 7:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's start the recall now and bring back The Valley Greuel. She wasn't this bad and she'll need a job in about 6 months.

December 10, 2012 7:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Higby endorsed Jennerjahn without knowing that Phil endorsed CARMEN TRUTANICH for a second term.

Phil infamously said that he endorsed Trutanich, but "didn't have time to vet him." So much for Higby's diligent research!

December 10, 2012 7:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I betcha at least 75% of Red Spot's posts are about either Huizar or Gatto. It could be higher, but he is so illiterate that I sometimes can't tell what the heck he is writing about.

December 10, 2012 7:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

IMHO, I go by this building a few times a week and at best, it's kitschy, bordering on trashy. At the very least, I can think of several more attractive uses for this corner.

Sorry Mike. I just think it's ugly, and I don't think a taco stand should qualify as some sort of cultural or historical site. It's a monument to cholesterol and poor nutrtion.

December 10, 2012 7:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Someone wants to save THIS building? What is save-worthy about a greasy spoon?

December 10, 2012 8:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby- are you a rube or what? How many pro-Phil comments posted minutes apart are you going to allow before you realize that they're being posted by PHIL?

For what it is worth, I think this building is ugly, too.

December 10, 2012 8:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Dario, Higby and Scott did admit the error they made on Gatto's apartment. You guys run that like a broken record. Gatto should worry less about Mayor Sam and stop doing such a shitty job.

December 10, 2012 9:01 PM  

Anonymous kate said:

oh wow we loved that place

December 10, 2012 9:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Krekorian HATES Gatto. What a joke to see all the Gatto Boobs on here again. Is it Gatto Jen? How many tacos did SHE eat? Fewer than Higby but a LOT! HAHA Good one!

December 10, 2012 9:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wendy is hoping her buddy Bill Clinton gets her a job in the Obama administration. She'll get through the vetting much easier than Antonio.

December 10, 2012 9:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby, why do u list others like alex wolter as contributors to the blog when they havent posted in years? Same for the others. scott is obnoxious so how about just going back to basics and YOU as the onlyposter, once a day and monitor comments loosely.

December 11, 2012 6:03 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

I miss another rant session from the Gatto Truthers.

December 11, 2012 12:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It would be quite lovely if Gatto and Krekorian took their Clown Show back to Burbank where it belongs. They make Alarcon and Cardenas look like statesmen by contrast.

December 11, 2012 7:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

We need a Tito's Tacos in the Valley... By hook or by crook

December 11, 2012 9:11 PM  

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