Back on May 21, the City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee was supposed to vote on an application to declare Tom Bergin’s Bar and Restaurant, 840 S. Fairfax, an Historic Cultural Landmark. The application was submitted by the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Miracle Mile Residential Association last fall, and supported by the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission in March. Along the way, it also picked up support from the Mid-City West Community Council and the P.I.C.O. Neighborhood Council, as well as a long list of neighbors and fans of the now-shuttered establishment.
In May, however, when the item came up for a vote at the City Council PLUM Committee, which most people involved with the landmark effort hoped would be an easy echo of the CHC’s approval, the application ran into a seemingly unexpected roadblock when representatives of the City Attorney’s office asked for a postponement to study some new questions about the application.
It turns out those questions had to do with objections raised by the current owners of the Bergin’s property, who have publicly opposed the landmark application. In a June 4 letter to the city, the owners contend that a vote by the Mid-City West Community Council to help with funding of the application’s historic resources study was a “misappropriation of public funds” under city law. The letter also claims that City Council Member David Ryu showed a personal bias in favor of the application by publicly stating his support after the CHC voted to support it (as is his general policy for such applications) and making a motion to the City Council move the MCWCC funding process forward. Because of this, the letter states, Ryu should be “recused” from any further city proceedings on the application.
In repsonse, the MMRA issued its own letter, clarfying that the Bergin’s landmark application did not originate with the MCWCC, and that – in fact – the MCWCC has not yet actually make any payments in the landmark effort…so no city funds have been spent.
Meanwhile, the Buzz contacted David Ryu’s office about the Bergin’s application, and communications deputy Mark Pampanin noted that Ryu does not sit on the PLUM Committee, so cannot actually recuse himself from any votes there. Pampanin also said that Ryu’s previous statement of support for the application is “unchanged.”
With the June 19 dealine for approval of the landmark application coming up, the item has now been rescheduled for tomorrow’s PLUM Committee meeting – starting at 2:30 p.m., in City Hall Room 340. If the application is supported by the committee, it will proceed to the full City Council for a final vote before June 19. According to Pampanin, Ryu will not attend tomorrow’s PLUM meeting, “but members of our planning and legislative teams from our office will be there.”