home of ABC7 and "Eyewitness News." It will offer the time, temperature
and the occasional message.
That the tower has stood unadorned for so many weeks is fueling the
hopes of some that the unlikely just might be possible. Perhaps the TV
station, and the station's corporate owners at The Walt Disney Co., have
reconsidered their previous plans. To remind you, enormous controversy
erupted in July when residents realized the City Council -- acting in its
role as the Redevelopment Agency -- and planning staff had given ABC7
permission to erect a 108-foot-high tower. The permission was first given
after a September 1998 variance hearing that few knew about, and even
fewer attended. Several weeks later, activists howled as homeowners'
groups and others massed to fight off freeway-adjacent signs proposed by
local auto dealers.
The ABC7 sign is slated to be taller than the sign the dealers asked
permission to build. But since last year's bitter realizations, there
have been quiet murmurs in City Hall that executives with the TV station
and the entertainment conglomerate were willing to consider a slight
change in plans, putting up a sign not quite as tall as the one they were
given permission to install. Council members and other city officials did
meet with an ABC7 executive who gave a series of presentations. One
official described the experience as "a hotshot very politely telling the
local yokels to give it up, they were going to do what they wanted." But
calmer voices apparently whispered through back channels that the fat
lady hadn't yet sung.
What we can see today, a sort of Erector Set structure just north and
east of the freeways, is yet another example of the value in being able
to see what people are proposing, rather than simply trying to imagine
what something might look like. The tower as it has stood for at least
eight weeks now makes it clear that, once the sign itself is in place, it
will be literally impossible to ignore.
Of course, that's the TV station's goal, imprinting a logo on the