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Romney Uses Defunct Mall to Criticize Obama Policies

Republican presidential candidate appears at Valley Plaza mall in North Hollywood Wednesday on his campaign tour.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday chose a row of vacant storefronts at North Hollywood’s Valley Plaza mall as the backdrop for an address in which he criticized President Obama’s handling of the nation's economy.

"As a president, you can’t control everything, but you sure can control your use of time and what you focus your energy on," Romney told a sparse crowd of supporters and media. "If I’m president, there will be something done in places across the country to put people back to work.”

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chairman Eric C. Bauman were on hand to counter Romney’s remarks.

See the accompanying video of Romney’s speech and Krekorian’s and Bauman’s rebuttals.

Also, see a Patch video series on the history of the troubled malls and attempts to redevelop the area.

Krekorian, who represents the area, objected to the mall being used as an example of a failed economy. 

"I think it’s really unfair and misleading for him to come here and use this as a backdrop to make arguments against the policies of the current administration," Krekorian said. "Many of us are working every single day to bring this property back to its prior state.”

Krekorian, a San Fernando Valley native who frequented the Valley Plaza and Laurel Plaza shopping centers while growing up, called revitalizing the area one of his top priorities.

In 2009 a majority owner of the property, developer J.H. Snyder, proposed a $560-million renovation to create a mixed-use retail area with a multiplex movie theater, a Target store, apartments and townhouses. However, the developer pulled out and development was put on hold.

Krekorian said the property has recently come under the sole ownership of the iStar Financial company, which has been meeting with him and other city officials on a plan to restore the area as a retail center.

Steve Magee, iStar’s executive vice president, said in a statement that the company is in the process of designing and building a new project that will be an "economic engine" for North Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. 

"These are people investing their own money on the future of North Hollywood," Krekorian said. "The future in this area is, in fact, bright and is not the dismal picture that [Mitt Romney] tried to paint today."

When asked about a state Assembly bill that could potentially dissolve the city's community redevelopment agency, Krekorian said that it is a concern, but a problem that the property owners can work around if CRA funds are not available for the project. 

"The loss of the tools that are available for redevelopment is a significant concern," he said. "But that is the reality that we’re going to have to just deal with, and the private owners of the property understand that." 

Krekorian said the new retail project "will have an economically transforming effect on the community and the whole region.”

Romney, in his address, said his 25 years of experience in the private sector gave him the qualifications to create jobs for Americans. While conceding that the Obama administration inherited the recession, he said the president has made the economy worse. 

Last month, Romney made a similar campaign stop, criticizing Obama’s economic policies in front of boarded-up windows in Allentown, PA.

Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 02:19 AM
I guess if Krekorian and Clownman say that everything is ok, then it must be ok....what, me worry? .lol..what clueless bozos
Jed July 21, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Wondering if the half million plus Californians who have lost their jobs under Obama would agree with Mitt or Krekorian? Make that 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans.
Skraeling July 21, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Krekorian is a joke and like his predecessor Gruel, has no vision for his district but to protect the status quo downtown and the developers. The Valley Plaza is a metaphor for all Los Angeles. Successful businesses were closed while the developer received a few "breaks" along the way...In the meantime, the City Council and its corrupt CRA pals have created a giant urban slum with no future and that slum is now spreading toward Ventura Blvd down Laurel Cyn. It is best to vote in LA with your feet....I am getting out of here as soon as I can.....no leaders and a corrupt system is a recipe we have seen way to much of....instead of a shopping area, we have grocery store carts on every corner, graffitti where none existed, and decaying neighborhoods with advertising signs on every street promoting Thai massage....disgusting...
Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 07:18 AM
amen, well said....
Jack McGrath July 21, 2011 at 08:45 AM
Jack is way off on this one. The CRA is controlled by the Mayor and his commission appointees. The Jerry Snyder company should have been relieved of duty a number of years ago. Mr. Snyder is too old to take on a project this size. A younger more savy developer could have put this together. But political contributions to Mayor Villaraisgosa helped keep Snyder in place, way past his prime. Let's give Krekorian some time to come up with a plan with the new developer. At least he is not ignoring this most important business and community issue.
Curiouser July 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Look up how Romney made his money. With money he inherited he'd buy struggling companies, fire people who worked there in order to make the company look good on paper (lower expenses/ higher profit) then sell the gutted companies for a healthy profit. Great for him, not so good for everyone else.
Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Gutted? these companies where losing money ..most likely due to union and govenment over taxation and regulation that most likely caused the owners to no longer be able to compete and either go belly up or move to greener pastures..Its the same story over and over again....you obviously have no clue about anything relating to either running a private business or with the private sector as a whole. Now, let me ask you, what from which government agency do you work for or maybe from which branch of our city state or federal government do you receive your taxpayer paid welfare benefit?
Marcus July 21, 2011 at 04:00 PM
We need audits and investigations on all these shill bildeburgers!
Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Gutted? losing busineses are usually caused by greedy over demanding union pay and over taxation and control by our local govenment which force companies to either move out of state (which many have are currently doing) or go out of business. Have you ever had a job in the private sector sir?
Nowhere85grad July 21, 2011 at 05:51 PM
That whole area including the Macy's area has been going downhill since I bought a house in that community in Fall 1994. Krekorian is just another say-everything, do-nothing City hack that has been "representing" my community in the last 17 years. Hey, Paul!!! Move back to Glendale.
jack July 21, 2011 at 06:40 PM
that area has always been a dump even in the Reagan glory days!! ha!!
Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Gee, i thought after 30 years of running the state of California, your "gentler, kinder all welfare giving party" would have turn that "dump" around by now...
Rajeev Hasaparathaneepalang July 21, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Ha Ha. Why wasn't Romney campaigning out in front of those buildings in '08 when they looked exactly the same and talking about how lousy the economic environment was then? Oh yeah, that's right, because everything was just peachy keen after eight years of George W. Bullsh*tter and it all went to hell the second that evil Obama stepped into the Oval Office. Tell me, If a bona fide rich guy (or "Job Creator" in republitard speak) cares so much about our urban blight, why doesn't he or one of his rich cronies put their money where their gaping, lying mouths are and do something about it.
Alex Daniels July 21, 2011 at 10:14 PM
What does the Federal Government have to do with this? I think Romney is showing what most people can now see. That Valley Plaza is a typical result of what 30 years of waste, bloated payrolls, redundancy, tax welfare, entitled, union corrupt DEMOCRATIC run state has lead to....a complete failure....so let me ask you, "blame Bush for everything" cranky left winger..do your kids go to public schools? Do you work for the state or the city? just curious....
Drew Puli Wolf July 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM
While Romney was governor between 2003-2007 Massachusetts ranked 47th among the 50 states in job creation. The average for Massachusetts job growth was just 0.9 percent, California’s was 4.7 and the national average was 5 percent. He blames the Democratic state legislature, but now under a Democratic governor Massachusetts has a job growth of 4.2 percent, better than twice the national average. What is funny is his talk of Herbert Hoover, his economic policies from a balanced budget, and deep cuts in federal spending during a down turn are identical to the policies Hoover followed leading to the great depression. Like Bob Dylan says “there no success like failure”. Also he earned his money the old fashion way, he inherited it.
Brian July 22, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Alex don't know how long you have lived in North Hollywood but I'll be 50 next month and can tell you that this mall and entire area died at the hands of indoor malls like Northridge and Glendale. The business in this area quickly became second rate and absolutely no money was spent over the years to attract customers. When you try to blame unions you might be half right. Not that these stores were union but they suffered from loss of all the good paying union jobs Lockheed and others provided before they jumped ship like rats for cheep rent and labor in other states. Those job friendly states did not create they stole them. But that's capitalism at work.
James Weatherwax July 22, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Well, genius...Massachusetts had such low unemployment that there was no room for growth. A high percentage of people held jobs. Only when there is high unemployment can there be significant job growth (as businesses start hiring again). So job growth is less an indicator than unemployment figures.
Skraeling July 22, 2011 at 06:28 AM
No, I am not way off...the CRA is a tool of the politicians downtown..the City Council just channeled over 1.5 billion to the CRA to keep it from the State where it might actually do some good. Krekorian has no plan but to serve the usual crowds...sorry, I have lived too long in Studio City and seen the rapid decay that has taken place here since Joel Wachs left....Krekorian could begin to do the simple things, like clean up the alleys and streets, pick up the grocery carts that litter every block and bill the stores that allow their carts to become trash, and he could organize an anti graffitti group, or lead a fight to keep the disgusting mobile advertising signs now proliferating on every block off Ventura Blvd, and limit the presence of Thai " massage" parlors....but he won't....he is an empty suit on a council of empty suits but full" campaign" funds...
Skraeling July 22, 2011 at 06:35 AM
brian is absolutely correct. North Hollywood has been ignored for years. There were no union jobs there, just the businesses that benefitted for years because the union jobs just down the street paid decent salaries. The City's scramble for money encouraged the malls and they, in turn, destroyed the type of shopping center that served so many so well.....Capitalism really doesn't work in an overcrowded world with limited resources and no community spirit....certainly, with the right wing and left wing extremists, capitalism is a myth. What we have is a new form of economy based on corporations....we have yet to learn how to live with it..

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