Bringing People Together
By Charley Mims
At the annual meeting of the Franklin Hills Residents Association in 2012 the membership adopted a bylaw amendment to extend the boundaries of the association north along Franklin Ave. and St. George then following Tracy until it meets Talmadge. This was the culmination of over twenty years of service to this area by the FHRA and the request of the leadership of the Marshall Area Neighborhood Watch group to "take over" their members who were predominately located in this area.
Two years later in June 2014 the FHRA petitioned the City of Los Angeles to recognize this area as a part of the Franklin Hills neighborhood so we could have a neighborhood community identity sign installed at Talmadge and Tracy. While we more than satisfied all City requirements, there was a substantial delay because the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment did not promptly notify the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, which did not hold a timely hearing on this matter.
By the time the Neighborhood Council conducted a hearing several neighbors in the area became upset apparently thinking that if the City approved the petition, they would no longer be in the community of Los Feliz. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of the Franklin Hills neighborhood is contained within the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. About that time some outside agitators started unfounded rumors that the crime rate was higher in the rest of the Franklin Hills neighborhood and that property values were lower. We checked with our local LAPD Senior Lead Officers and with the Captain of the Northeast Division who all told us that we had the lowest crime rate in the division and that the crime rate throughout Los Feliz was similar and was low. We also checked with local realtors who all told us that prices per square foot were substantially the same throughout the Franklin Hills including within the adopted area.
Because of the controversy created, our former Councilmember, Tom LaBonge, decided to punt the decision and to let his successor in office decide it. When David Ryu was elected, we approached him about this issue. He investigated and agreed to consider our request if we gathered more signatures than the City process required. He also agreed to allow more time to gather these signatures since we had been in limbo for a year and we had already satisfied the signature requirements in the City’s approved process. When this became known, a few folks started agitating again.
As a result of all of the stress, and upset feelings of a number of residents within the adopted area, we decided in the fall of 2016 not to pursue the issue at this time. Our goal in the beginning was to get recognition so a sign could be added to the other seven Franklin Hills signs in an effort bring people together. Since our goal was to bring people together and misunderstandings and upset feelings have led to splitting residents over the issue, we want to let it die down. We will pursue other ways to create a sense of community and neighborliness among all the residents of the Franklin Hills.