More on the fast-approaching closure of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, or at least part of it: per KTLA, the issue really is a turf war. Which is horrible: I would like to think that if a major farmers’ market like the Hollywood one were to shut down, it would be for a better reason than parking. C’mon, parking, really? The LA Film School wants access to its parking lot on Ivar (between Sunset and Selma – a huge chunk of the market), which is blocked every Sunday for 9 hours by the market. Accordingly, it asked the city to deny the markets’ permit renewal to operate on the street. The market as we know it has been operating at Selma and Ivar for 20 years; according to SEE-LA, the non-profit that runs the market, up to 10,000 people shop at the market every week.
Apparently, very few decisionmakers at the film school shop at the market and realize what a gem it is. Or, they don’t really care either way. According to a school official who spoke to LA Weekly: ”The school has seen incredible growth,” Ibrahim says. “And the weekends are big. Students don’t have class on those days, but they use those labs for their projects … and you’ve got to include visitors on those days.”
…right. According to SEE-LA, “If the City follows through, most of the Sunday market vendors on Ivar Avenue between Selma Ave. and Sunset Blvd. – about 1/2 of the farmers – could be denied space to operate, or may be shifted to a new, not-yet-determined location less convenient or less safe than their current placement.” Both SEE-LA and KTLA note a domino effect for other markets in the area if the Hollywood one is forced to shut down. Many of the vendors make the most income at Hollywood; “with the loss of that income, 7 other smaller farmers’ markets in low income areas like Watts, Crenshaw, South Central, Echo Park, East Hollywood and Atwater Village that are supported by the Hollywood Farmers’ Market could also be forced to close.” The repercussions, then, reach far beyond just Hollywood.
The LA Film School started in 1999, and one can make a reasonable argument that the school is an important part of the community as well. That’s just to be fair. After all, as the official in the LA Weekly story pointed out, the school has a student enrollment of some 1,500 — a fraction of whom, I’ll add, would like to have parking access on Sundays. Starting at 8am. So, given the balance of justice here, you’d think there would be some sort of utilitarian argument in favor of allowing the market to operate as it does, once a week, on Sundays. Or, you’d think there would be something about how possession-is-nine-tenths-of-the-law working in the market’s favor, because they were there before the film school. Alas, I guess they don’t teach the tenets of John Stuart Mill in film school.
On Sunday, market volunteers gathered over 3,400 signatures to object to the closure (this would be over two times the number of students enrolled at the film school), and another petition drive will circulate if necessary. Councilman Eric Garcetti also is intent on keeping on the market alive as is; as he tweeted this evening, “We love HFM and have worked way too hard to support it financially and with city help. Working hard to resolve legal issues. Thx!” For now, the market will operate as it does for the next month as the permit issues are ironed out. Ideally, during this month, more and more people will knock some reason into the film school’s classrooms.
To stay updated on the fate of the market, email your contact information to info [at] farmernet [dot] com. And, you can like, really, really like a Facebook page that popped up overnight to support the market here. I can almost guarantee you that will be a billion times more effective than changing your profile picture to somehow raise child abuse awareness.
“Souper Mix” photo by Lucyrk in LA via the Blogging LA Flickr pool.