Was the Griffith Park Fire Part of a Larger Plan?

That’s the question Greg Cohn is asking over on his blog. He’s quick to point out that he’s not some conspiracy theory believe wack-job, but that there are just a lot of coincidences here that should at least be talked about. He writes:

“…I couldn’t help being struck by the similarity between the footprints of the fire damage and the highly controversial master plan for developing the park. I’ve been musing on it for a couple of days, and a friend convinced me to at least put the thought out there for public rumination…”

He then posts two maps for your consideration, one is a master plan for the park redevelopment, followed by the map of the burned out areas. The park is only so big so there’s bound to be some overlap, just based on fire fighters protecting already developed areas and underdeveloped ones having more undergrowth ready to catch fire. Still, he can’t help pondering questions like:

“In situations like this, I can’t help pondering questions like:

* Are there, say, hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector money at stake?

* Does this event advance the agenda of those with the money at stake?

* Does it hurt the agenda of those opposing?

The first two are clearly yes. As for the last, I’ll let you decide for yourself.”

In closing he links to a Parks Committee of the Los Feliz Improvement Association agenda, and points to some history of these kinds of things not being purely coincidental.

14 thoughts on “Was the Griffith Park Fire Part of a Larger Plan?”

  1. Yikes, love a good conspirace theory I just don’t think this one will get many people’s attention.
    I don’t know what’s going on with the park over the last decade or so.
    Since the early 90’s more and more of the roads and parking areas have been blocked off making access into the interior more difficult than it need be. There was a road that used to run from behind travel town towards the observatory eventually to Vermont Canyon that was my favorite drive with a stop at Dante’s view. Back in the day when I had to commute from the valley to downtown a couple of times a month that was my favorite “break” in the afternoon, stop and watch the sunset and just unwind. The road was closed to the public because of the landfill traffic and I would like to see it opened up again.
    As far as development goes it needs to be rock bottom bare minimum. A few roads, a few parking areas, mark a few trails and some critter safe trash cans.
    I really don’t want to see this chunk of nature santized with lawns, pavillions or tennis courts. I really like the simple bits of nature in the midst of all our concrete.

  2. Why would you link to stupid stuff like this?

    The fire burned the undeveloped areas precisely for the reasons given: firefighters protected developed areas, and undeveloped grass/forest burns more readily. The fire started close to developed area. And, considering the burst of nostalgia the fire has created, it’s even less likely that the area will be developed. Not to mention that private developers may be more skeptical about building an area prone to wildfires.

    So to answer those questions:
    1. Hundreds of millions is always going to be at stake in any undeveloped area of LA.
    2. Probably not. The only chance of passing stuff like that is under the radar. This fire has shown how much people love Griffith Park.
    3. Only if you believe that people see wildfires and think “we should pave that area so this never happens again.” Who thinks that way?

  3. Kevin, in answer to #3….large developers and local govt on the take think that way. Money talks and buys influence over logic and emotional ties to a spot.

  4. What I don’t get is the supposed ‘evidence’.

    The ‘dotted line’ on the Master Plan map he displays (at a size too small to read) is (when you look at the downloadable PDF) simply the boundary of the park.

    So he’s struck by the ‘coincidence’ of… what, exactly? That the far perimeter of the fire is inside the boundary of the park?

    That, inside the park, only the flammable hillside brush burned, not the watered-and-mowed turf?

    Am I missing something here?

    In fact, looking at the Master Plan, it appears that the vast majority of the proposed development takes place outside the burned area. See, for example, the Future Park Plan map (Fig 3-16 from the Master Plan).

    Which is not surprising: the Master Plan increases, rather than decreases, the amount of open wild space in the park. Most proposed development takes place in already-developed areas and atop the Toyon landfill, and parking gets concentrated into terraced, green-topped parking structures instead of open, sprawling asphalt lots.

    People who care about Griffith Park owe it to themselves to download and actually read the Master Plan.

    It’s not a plan to “pave over” the park – quite the contrary, it’s a plan devoted to preserving the park while making it more accessible, more usable, and more capable of handling the crowds it attracts.

    I’m fond of a good conspiracy theory, but this isn’t a good one. The ‘evidence’ isn’t evidence of anything, as far as I can see.

  5. Your tinfoil hat is too tight. Although I did hear that the moon landing was really shot in the park. And that Kennedy was assasinated by the LA Parks Department.

  6. I don’t buy the conspiracy. But then, Studio City Nerd’s pro-development PR spiel isn’t any more believable. Kids, you don’t fight bullshit with bullshit. That goes for both of you.

  7. Oh yeah it’s all a fiendish plot and it’s so easy to execute: First you figure out exactly what areas you want to burn and what stuff you want to keep safe, then you Tell The Fire just where you want it to go and it does that. FIre is great at following instructions to the letter.

    You also have to have your people make some calls to the wind, but that’s super-easy too because everybody knows how corrupt the wind is and that it can be had for a very low price. Oh and be sure you make it really hot outside too, and that the “humidity” switch is in the OFF position.

    Wait – now that I write it down it seems a little, um, I don’t know, uh, Crazy…?

  8. “Pro-development PR spiel”?

    Daniel, I’ve read the Griffith Park Master Plan. I think it’s pretty sensible, overall. There are a few elements I find questionable, but most of it seems pretty reasonable to me.

    I’m don’t have any connections to developers. I’m just a long-time LA resident and park user.

    Personally, I like (most of) the Master Plan. That’s just my opinion, though. Like I said, anyone who cares about Griffith Park should download the plan, read it and make up their own mind.

    (Do you always dismiss any viewpoints other than your own as “PR spiel” and “bullshit”? Do you actually have anything of substance to say, or are you just into name-calling?)

  9. (Do you always dismiss any viewpoints other than your own as “PR spiel” and “bullshit”?

    No. I only dismiss viewpoints other than my own as “PR spiel” and/or “bullshit” when they read, to me, like PR spiel and/or bullshit.

    Do you actually have anything of substance to say,

    I like to think so.

    or are you just into name-calling?

    I didn’t call you any names.

  10. You called what I said “PR spiel” and “bullshit.”

    You didn’t explain why it was “bullshit” or what makes it a “PR spiel”. You just called it those names.

    Oh, because it “reads like that to you”?

    How very… enlightening.

    It’s bullshit because you think it’s bullshit.

    Got it.


  11. Hmmm. Come to think of it, it’s far better to be discussed openly – no matter how implausible, than to be swept under the at-times overlapping rugs of denial, ignorance, gullibility, deceit, greed or stupidity.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  12. hmm….a lot of short hairs tightened up on this one. I doubt there is a conspiracy, if there were a park isn’t the kind to get anyones attention and keep it, if you want that you need a dead politician, a murding celeb on the run or…

  13. Conspiracy, No. I am a conspiracy nut and in this type of conspiracy would involve to much cordination between private and public groups.

    There are too many fingers in the pie.

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