Editor's Note: Studio City and North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch received the following email from a reader about the current city redistricting debate underway. Richard Bogey felt our story and coverage of the Los Angeles City Council was biased against Toluca Lake. The article in question was published on both sites and written by Studio City Patch editor Mike Szymanski and outlined Studio City Vice President Lisa Sarkin's opinion about Toluca Lake wanting to remain in Council District 4. The story listed some highlights from a letter she had sent to the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission. The article was not meant to be an endorsement of her opinion and, as always, other community leaders with different opinions are free to also share them on Patch. One of those community leaders is Richard Bogey, and he has outlined why he believes Toluca Lake should remain in CD4. Here is his letter:
On 2-15-2012 your PATCH published an item by Mike Szymanski regarding redistricting and Toluca Lake. It is disappointing that PATCH would publish what is an opinion editorial statement without seeking comment from the person or - in this instance – the community being criticized. It would seem incumbent upon PATCH to do at least a modicum of fact-checking before not only publishing but adding the writer’s – and therefore your own - endorsement to statements you publish.
My name is Richard Bogy and I am a life-long resident, homeowner, business owner and commercial property owner in Toluca Lake. My family owns the Toluca Lake Company, which was the principal developer of the residential community of Toluca Lake beginning in 1923. I also serve as Government and Community Affairs Chair for the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce; I am past President of the Toluca Lake Chamber, past Vice President of the Toluca Lake Homeowner’s Association and founding member and the first elected Vice President of the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council. I am also a current Director on both the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Toluca Lake Homeowner’s Association.
During the process of redistricting Toluca Lake has asked that communities and people that have no association with our community not speak for us. In turn, Toluca Lake has not commented on the destiny of any neighboring community.
Toluca Lake has very specific shared and common causes with other portions of CD4 and to remove us from that Council District would serve to remove our voice and our influence over almost every major issue that immediately impacts our community.
The majority of our community’s negative traffic impacts are driven by the Barham Pass, Forest Lawn Drive and the Cahuenga Pass. If not part of CD4 we would lose our voice and influence over all of those transit corridors.
There are major expansion and construction projects proposed for Forest Lawn Cemetery, Oakwood, the construction of fresh water and sewer delivery lines (that will pass directly under Toluca Lake and service both Burbank and other communities in CD4) and the municipal Headwork’s reservoir project. Each of these massive projects passes through our community, or serves our community, or adjoins our community. Every one of these projects will have huge impacts on our community, including long-term haul routes that would pass through and or negatively impact us. Each one of these projects is in or services CD4. If Toluca Lake was removed from CD4 we would lose our voice and influence over every one of the projects.
Griffith Park (and the surrounding open space) is the largest municipal park in the United States. The Park – and the western entry and exit ways to the Park – adjoin and pass through Toluca Lake. The park has wide reaching impacts on our community, including environmental, visual, transit, traffic, recreational and more. When the City formed a Master Plan Working Group to help shape a strong future for Griffith Park I was appointed to serve as the Toluca Lake representative to that Group. The City understands the unique and direct impacts that Griffith Park has on the communities that surround it. Griffith Park is and will continue to be part of CD4. Disjoining Toluca Lake from CD4 would serve to remove our direct input over those future Park projects that directly impact Toluca Lake.
About one-third of the community of Toluca Lake is situated in Burbank. That bifurcation between Los Angeles and Burbank creates very unique and community specific issues for us. The vast majority of the Los Angeles / Burbank border is (and would continue to be) in CD4, including Toluca Lake. Our community has worked closely with CD4 and Burbank to facilitate a number of crucial infrastructure agreements, all of which would likely go away if Toluca Lake was no longer part of CD4.
On and on, Toluca Lake will be seriously and negatively impacted if we are moved disjoined from CD4.
Toluca Lake has faced a long and ongoing struggle to stave off those who would seek to consume our community for their own interest. One ill-informed public speaker at the February 9th public hearing at Walter Reed School turned and, facing the large group (numbering more than 85) of Tolucan’s who came to positively participate in the public forum, said Toluca Lake is just a bunch of elitist, and to get over it “Toluca Lake is part of North Hollywood and always has been”. In fact, Toluca Lake was established and named in 1882 by General Charles Forman. That same year our community was recognized by the United States Postal Service and granted a Toluca Lake Post Office – distinct from any other community. It was not until 1896 that the town of Lankershim was established and then North Hollywood in 1927. Toluca Lake pre-dates North Hollywood by close to half a century. Any suggestion that Toluca Lake is “part of” and should therefore be joined with North Hollywood (and Studio City) are just further attempts to subvert the right of our community to self-determine our future.
The argument that Toluca Lake must be part of CD2 to ensure that the San Fernando Valley is equitably represented holds no water. Whether Toluca Lake is part of CD2 or CD4, we are still represented by a Valley District.
Let those who claim to speak for Studio City or North Hollywood speak for those communities, but let the people of Toluca Lake speak for Toluca Lake.