An open letter to the Los Angeles City Council
We want more, not less, of this on Spring Street
Dear Members of the City Council–
It looks as though tomorrow you’ll hold the long-delayed vote on whether to keep the Spring Street bike lanes bright green, or to let them fade at the behest of film industry lobbyists.
The lobbyists claim that the green lanes make it “too difficult” to film period pieces on Spring street, stories in which Los Angeles is standing in for New York or Chicago. They also darkly hint that if the lanes remain their intended color, they may take their filming elsewhere.
I must remind you, though, that the film industry is in the business of creating elaborate fictions, and I feel that this is one of them.
For one thing, pro-green Angelenos who work in the film industry have repeatedly pointed out that there are simple means, both physical and digital, to cover or remove the green lanes either before or after filming. The added cost this involves is not only infinitesimally small in comparison to production budgets in general, it is also money that would simply dribble into the local economy.
Furthermore, there are dozens, in fact hundreds, of bits of Spring Street that are not “period correct” for mid-century Manhattan, including all of the road striping, not just the bike lanes, as well as all of the modern storefronts and their signs along the sidewalk.
In any case, the film industry is certainly not going to move production to the actual New York or Chicago–not only would this cost far more than covering or digitizing the green lanes, New York and Chicago (as well as almost every other 1920’s era city in this nation) already have green bike lanes, and often extensive networks of them, and they are not in the habit of letting themselves be bullied by industry suits.
And after all, what is it that the film industry produces? Almost all of Hollywood’s cinematic output is action films that glorify violence, aggression, and revenge. But aside from that, almost all of Hollywood’s output comprises not the glories of the big screen, but…TV commercials.
Does Los Angeles really want to go on record as having sold out the livability of its Historic Core, and the safety of its residents, for the sake of dog food and Viagra ads? Is this to be the Council’s legacy for the twenty-first century?
Readers, please attend the meeting (if it is not postponed for a third time); it’s presently scheduled for 10AM on Wednesday, June 19th, at City Hall. See details here.