The Illusion of “Truth”

How  Millennium Tried  to  Get  You  to  Believe  There  is  No  Fault  Under  Their  Property

Advertisers and politicians repeatedly use a practice to make you believe something is true: They repeat a statement from three to five times, after which people will believe it as ‘fact’.

Hollywood Scarp cropped

We have all received an email with a long string of ‘forwards’, including a passel of people we don’t know, but forwarded by a trusted friend or relative. Someone who is sympathetic to our viewpoint has connected us to the email’s message. If it enrages you, the email and sender have accomplished their intended purpose.  If you do not take the time to validate the email’s assertions as truth, then you may be accepting as truth something that is actually an illusion.

It is time-consuming to go to Snopes.com to verify if an email’s assertions are actually true or just an ‘urban legend.’ It is much easier for us to rely on friends, or an editorial, or a city official for whom we personally voted. We rely on them to be our validator of a ‘fact.’ That is why we here at “Stop the Millennium” give you the supporting links so that you know the facts for yourself. Verify for yourself what is happening around you.

Case in point…

…the Hollywood fault and where it lies:

Faults, unless a surface rupture is found, may be difficult to pin down. Sometimes a ‘scarp‘ can be seen. Anyone who has traveled up Vine Street, passing the Capital Records building, has encountered an abrupt hill immediately North of Yucca. That hill is a ‘scarp,’ Mother Nature’s way of heralding, “A fault exists around here.” But to pinpoint where the fault lies exactly, ‘trenching‘ must be done because the State of California does not allow developers to build within fifty feet of the fault. This is dictated by the Alquist-Priolo Act. If no fault is found, a developer gets to build.

Enter Group Delta. Millennium Hollywood hired this engineering firm to find whether or not a fault existed on their property. If Group Delta found one, Millennium would not be allowed to build on the property. Millennium risks defaulting on investors or creditors if the fault crosses its property.

Much to Millennium’s delight, Group Delta announced in September that no fault existed under the Millennium property east of Vine. (Millennium also plans to build on the property it owns west of Vine, which has not yet been trenched.) This ‘fact’ of no fault was repeated 1) in the LA Times, 2) by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, 3) The Millennium Hollywood 4) The Los Angeles Chamber, 5) and on Hollywood’s 13th District Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s blog . In his blog Councilman O’Farrell stated:

 “…the State Mining and Geology Board concluded that the fault is not where it was indicated on the proposed zoning map … These results provide certainty for the subject sites.”

This is a coordinated assertion by four publicly-perceived authorities that there is no fault running under the Millennium properties. Three statements are enough to make you believe the psychological illusion. Five makes it premium.

But, the California State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) stated no such thing. One can easily check the documents posted on the California State Mining and Geology Board’s website, to see that neither the State Geologist, nor Executive Director Stephen Testa, made such a statement. The SMGB merely moved to “forward comments and recommendations, as summarized in the Executive Officer’s Report herein, to the State Geologist for consideration prior to finalization of the Alquist- Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Map for the Hollywood Quadrangle.” The executive director said about the possible outcome of any supporting data being delivered to the State Geologist, “I think the State Geologist has several options. They could publish a map without the strands and decide after review of the report that they disagree and revise map later on if… or vice versa.” As of August 14, when the Board met, all that had been delivered by Group Delta was the summary of its findings, with no supporting documents. Yet, Millennium, the Hollywood Chamber, and Council District 13 all repeated the same unsubstantiated claim, i.e. that Group Delta found no fault under Millennium’s site.

The State Geologist, the person who decides on the fault’s position, is Dr. John Parrish, not StephenTesta. But it is Stephen Testa whom the LA Times and Councilman O’Farrell quoted. Testa stated in the Times article that “it appears” there is no fault. That leaves a lot of wiggle room. Because the LA Times, other news media and bloggers have quoted Testa’s nebulous statement in their headlines, it appears as fact.

So, let’s compare two pictures. Please look at the fault lines and trench below. Now, compare it to the picture below that, pulled from Group Delta’s own site (go to the Group Delta site, and look for the video “Inside the Hollywood Trench.” This screen shot is caught at 6:04). Look carefully at both ends of the trench shown on Group Delta’s aerial view under the fault line graphic.

Hollywood Trench map

  Group Delta Screen GrabNotice how the ends are not terraced. Please notice that the soil cascades down the sides. It appears that the ends of the trench, where the State’s preliminary map positioned them, were outside the investigation area.

We question why the State’s preliminary placement of the two fault traces was apparently not explored by Group Delta. There is no terracing at either end of the trench in Group Delta’s definitive picture above. Everything between the two fault traces was terraced, but over the traces themselves, you only see loose, cascading soil. It is not apparent how they looked for the traces on the ends?

Is it in Group Delta’s best interests to not find a fault?  Besides Millennium’s million dollar payment for trenching, Group Delta is also in line to benefit from Millennium’s other project, the Hollywood CAP Park, which will bring in billions of fees. Group Delta specializes in freeway overpasses. In fact Group Delta just won an award for its Gold Line Bridge.

It is distressing that Councilman O’Farrell, as a member of the LA City Parks and Recreation Committee, approved that the CAP Park’s EIR would not have to be put out for a competitive bid, thereby by-passing the City Charter requirements. His action paves the way for Millennium to award Group Delta millions in contracts. True, we have to wait and see if Millennium “thanks” Group Delta for its ‘findings’ by giving them the contract to construct its CAP Park project. There is an apparent conflict of interest with the hiring of Group Delta to trench for the Millennium project.

More than ever we need your help. Come January, the presentation of the lawsuit will begin. (Yes, it has taken this long). Millennium has lots of cash. Millennium was the top spender in the City of Los Angeles in 2013. Millennium has the wherewithal to play a game of delay and attrition. “Stop the Millennium,” on the other hand, does not have deep pockets. The fee to the courts, alone, for submitting an administrative record is now close to $100,000. This lawsuit is more than a faultline. There is much more to the Millennium’s defective EIR that needs to be exposed. Please help us continue the fight. Anything you contribute at this point will help us pay our environmental experts who can counteract the public display of “Illusions of Truth.”

We are so appreciative of your help. Gratefully so.

Stop the Millennium Team

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