They say that showing up is half the battle, but when it comes to our civic defeats and success, it all comes down to parking. People want to gather en masse, but they want to travel alone or in very small numbers to do so. The Dodgers stomped on the neighborhood when they re-opened the Billy Preston gate (though they did take care to put on soft-heeled boots, in the form of a modified plan, traffic-control officers and limited egress) -- squish! And the Foursquare Church wants to do the same except in a more harmful way. The church wants a big parking structure at Angelus Temple to replace housing; and it wants to put the unsightly lot in view of the neighborhood's most significant historic asset: Echo Park Lake. All so that people from other neighborhoods can get to the Angelus Temple and then tear out of the neighborhood with a minimum of fuss for themselves or the church. And what does the neighborhood get out of the deal? An ugly parking structure it doesn't need and the eviction of numerous residents.
Tuesday there was a special neighborhood council meeting in regard to the Angelus Temple's evasion of a recently enacted interim control ordinance (ICO), the purpose of which was to prevent demolition of buildings in what much of the neighborhood hopes will be an expanded historic zone. Such an ICO is one of a very limited number of "tools" that small players have in standing up to big players -- such as the Dodgers or the Foursquare Church. But the church managed to sidestep it.