Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass rescinded former Mayo Eric Garcetti’s last order on Thursday, ending a 10-day old executive directive that would have lit up the Hollywood Sign.
On December 11th, shortly before leaving office, Garcetti signed a directive that would have lit up the Hollywood sign for a pilot program of 18 months, as part of the 100th anniversary of the famous sign. While some local residents argued against the idea, new lighting technology that would have reduced the lighting impact on local residents and wildlife won many people over. The lighting was also expected to be a tourist boon to the area, with many locals and visitors alike excited to see the sign lit up for the first time in their lives.
“The Hollywood Sign Trust, has tested new technology and the tests have demonstrated how new technologies can focus lights and help reduce the impact of lights on wildlife and ambient light on local residents,” said Garcetti’s order. “As the centennial of the Hollywood sign approaches in the coming months, it would seem fitting to build on these successful efforts to illuminate our city’s most famous landmark.”
However, the few remaining residents in opposition to the sign lighting sent a letter to Mayor Bass, still claiming that the lighting would affect the wildlife, even using the recent death of P-22, a famed Mountain Lion in the area, as a way to stop the lighting.
In what is likely the shortest lasting directive in city history, the order was rescinded on Thursday, with the Mayor’s office only giving a vague reasoning of “legality concerns”
“I am hereby rescinding Executive Directive No. 36. There is no replacement,” said Bass on Thursday via a memo.
The order confused many on Thursday and Friday, as the lighting was seen both as historic and as an economic boon to the area. Hollywood Sign Trust Chairman Jeff Zarrinnam noted that “I don’t know why the order was rescinded. Now the city may not have a lit sign for the anniversary. I would like to know why she rescinded it.”
Bass’ order angers, confuses residents
Others in the area who had pushed for the sign to be lit chalked the decision largely up to pettiness.
“Garcetti wasn’t exactly the greatest Mayor, but he did give the city something a lot of us have been wanting for decades, and that’s to see the Hollywood sign lit up,” explained Hollywood Boulevard Business owner James Wright to the Globe on Friday. “Tourists always asked where it was at night, and with it being visible, you’d have people stick around here for longer. It’s a big part of the area here, and everyone here loved the idea of it being lit.”
“Bass kind of dashed all those hopes though. You wouldn’t believe how many people are calling her a killjoy or ‘Grinch’ today for this. I don’t think she understands just how important something as small as lighting up a landmark can mean to a lot of people. And I get it, it does seem like a small thing to get worked up about. But when it affects so much else around it, one small thing can mean the world to people, and can boost tourism. She obviously didn’t give the order with either her heart or brain. I wonder what else it could have been.”
Political commentators also noted a different reasoning on Friday to the Globe.
“Yeah, I would say it’s pettiness,” added Felipe Calderon, a community organizer and neighborhood issue advisor in LA. “She’s always been this way. “Something angers her or something doesn’t go her way, she’ll do little childish things. Anyone who has been opposite of her can affirm this. This is just the latest one.”
As of Friday, there has been no counter-measure announced to bring back the sign relighting.
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