When Martin Automotive Group decided to move forward with a gigantic, 516-residential unit development on the site of Martin Cadillac at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive, its executives undoubtedly knew that numerous neighborhood groups would oppose the mega-project, known as “Martin Expo Town Center.” Traffic in that part of the Westside is already horribly gridlocked.

In addition, Martin Automotive Group, which is operated by the Martin family, was seeking a zone change and General Plan amendment for Martin Expo Town Center through a company called Philena Properties. All in all, major strings needed to be pulled, and the best way to do that was to spread around the cash at L.A. City Hall.

Since 2012, Martin Automotive Group and its representatives have contributed $3,650 to the campaign war chests of City Council and mayoral candidates, according to the city’s Ethics Commission. Also, since 2012, Philena Properties has spent $759,121 on politically connected City Hall lobbyists to win over politicians and bureaucrats.

That’s a grand total of $762,771 — 13 times the median household income in that part of town. Everyday Angelenos don’t have that kind of cash to gain insider, political access, but they shouldn’t have to.

Yet that’s how things work in L.A.’s broken planning and land-use system — throw around the money at City Hall and expect big, profitable favors in return.

Martin Town Expo Center -- image from environmental impact report

Martin Town Expo Center — image from environmental impact report

On June 30, Coalition to Preserve L.A., a citywide, grassroots movement that seeks to reform L.A. City Hall’s broken planning and land-use system, said enough is enough. We sent out a mailer to Westside residents slamming Martin Expo Town Center in support of such concerned community groups as West of Westwood Homeowners Association, West L.A.-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council, Brentwood Homeowners Association and Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association.

Martin Expo Town Center is just one more example of why we need to reform L.A.’s broken planning and land-use system, which is what the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will do.

In fact, the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. City Council, Mayor Eric Garcetti and numerous neighborhood groups all agree that reform is desperately needed.

Join our community-based movement by clicking here right now to donate any amount you wish, and follow and cheer our efforts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also send us an email at neighborhoodintegrity@gmail.com for more information.

Developers and their politician pals will do anything to defeat our movement and continue their wrong-headed policies. But together, we, the citizens, can create the change that L.A. needs!

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