This citizen Blog is dedicated to allowing the Los Feliz Community to voice their opinions regarding Saving one of Los Angeles Last Remaining Old Hollywod Landmarks. The historic "Derby" Building is the last of the remaining Brown Derby's and is set to be demolished!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oct 26th Adler Realty development meeting !

For those that did not know or were not able to attend the Adler Realty development meeting was last night Oct 26th. Needless to say I was overwhelmed as was Adler to the turn out of the Los Feliz community!

From the beginning of the meeting it was apparent that the property owners severly underestimated the local residents opposition to building an 81 luxury condo development with retail stores. Concerns were "loudly "voiced regarding Traffic congestion and by local building owners afraid of loosing their tenants during the construction process. Others not able to hold their frustration yelled out calling the plan Crazy and Insane. While others watched on. I have to say I actually felt a little bad for the Adler Reps who were visably shaken and at times appearing to shrink behind their displays and into the back corner of the room.

Adler Reps look on

From a spectator point of view the Adler reps came off looking very unprepared forcing them into a very defensive instead of clarifying position. There were blueprints for the building development but I was told they were only preliminary and the drawing of the development on display was in fact not the updated current model because of changes from a meeting with the city earlier that day.
Rebecca Goodman "save the derby"

In contrast the "Save the derby coalition" -spearheaded by Rebecca Goodman ran a very slick and organized effort posting volunteers at the doors to get signatures and pass out flyers for the next meeting on November 10th.

Meanwhile Renee a rep from Tom Labonge's office worked to keep the peace but did state that their position is to "Save the Derby", resulting in a thunderous applause.

The one good thing to come out of the so called "Ruckus" was that the Adler Realty came face to face with the people they will be effecting and stated that as of right now they have scrapped the idea of a grocery store and may look into the preservation of the "structure" of the derby building. If the building development is approved construction is estimated to take 12 months, 6 days a week from 7am-7pm.

It was refreshing to see actual democracy in action and a pleasure to see the Los Feliz community bonding together to get their voice heard. Below We have posted some video clips from the meeting as well as a number of photos. we apologize in advance of the shakiness of the video.

Los Feliz is amazing -guest blogger Melissa W.

Hello Los Feliz. This post is a special one. Guest Blogger, and los feliz resident Melissa W. Expresses her views on why she loves los Feliz, the Adler Realty meeting on Oct 26th and why we need to gather together as a community.

Los Feliz is amazing.

When I moved here five years ago, I described it to my parents as one of the last true neighborhoods left in Los Angeles. It has the perfect combination of people – from the table full of Hollywood hopefuls talking about their next screenplay – to the young family building their new life in their first house – to the two elderly women walking down the street rehashing old times in the old country. Even on a weekday, the streets bustle with neighbors meeting up for yoga, coffee or the best carne asada burrito in town.

It is a quiet, friendly community. We walk everywhere -- to the small mom & pop shops…to church…to bars…to the natural food store… It is our version of Grover’s Corners in the middle of a maddening, commercial megatropolis.

Last night’s neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed “Hillhurst Square” brought out a side of my community I had never seen before. We were angry. We were worried. We had the fight in us.

Many people were concerned about traffic, zoning, safety and the demolition of our cherished Derby. One small, older woman stood with an impassioned plea, “Find somewhere else to build this. Not here! Not in my town!” But one stately man put it the best when he said, “This is a bastardization of our village.”

No one who has ever lived and loved this area wants a five-story eyesore full of overpriced, cheaply made condos and mega-chain retail stores to clog the streets with traffic and put our beloved neighborhood businesses out to pasture. It does not and will never be something that fits in with our village – faux Spanish-style architecture or not.

Even worse, because of zoning, approval of this project opens the door to other developers who will tear down other historic buildings in the area and replace them with a TGI Fridays or a Walmart. Where will they draw the line?

Of course, the corporatization of land is what makes this country the prosperous nation it is, but the abuse of it quickly destroys it. The truth is, the new owners of this space must make a profit. They must exploit the land. They will cram as many money-making possibilities in one space as possible.

However, what they didn’t count on is the spirit of Los Feliz. The representative from Adler Reality even admitted he didn’t expect this kind of response from this community, from so many people. The developers didn’t expect we would be this… educated, informed, involved and united. They didn’t count on us caring this much about where we lived. Perhaps they need to live here, just for a few weeks, to realize that what we have always cherished is the quaintness and the heart of this village.

We do have the fight in us, and we will not roll over and forget what we are fighting for. I love the Derby, but it is so much more than just this great landmark. It’s our community that is slowly being whittled away, and as long as we stand firm and together, they will not get the better of us. They have yet to see how strong the fight can be.

See you at the next meeting.

(Special thanks goes to Melissa W. Local Los Feliz Resident/writer who took the time to write and submit this article.)


Monday, October 24, 2005

Going way back to 1928!

Everyday, thousands of motorists drive by The Derby on the corner of Hillhurst and Los Feliz. they are just trying to connect to the 5 freeway, head up to Griffith Park or just fill up their tank at the Gas Station across the way. They are busy each with their own set of lives, errands and agendas.

All the while The Derby sits there watching it all go down as it has for nearly 77 years! It's hard for us to imagine what was going on back in 1928 the year the Derby was built by legendary filmaker Cecil B. Demille the man to create one of the first hollywood motion pictures the Squawman and to become part of pop culture thru aka (Sunset Blvd, Gloria Swanson "I'm ready for my close up Mr. Demille!).

You see, back then Los Feliz was called "East Hollywood" and when "The Derby building" was built it was not for 3 more years before anyone even heard of "The Empire State Building" which was not completed till 1931!

It's hard to envision, Model T's and flappers moving up and down Hillhurst with movie stars, musicians, and other assorted members of the glitterati, which Prior to the 1930s, was Los Angeles' most exclusive and expensive area. But they did! and the Derby building was there too!

I know it's hard to look at the derby today and really get a feel for the culture and times of when it was built so here are a few clips that might help you out! They were all made back in 1928. Check them out!

1. Hollywood tour 2.Buster Keaton 3. Social Scene.

As you can see these clips are a testament to the past and a record of Hollywood history. The same goes for "The Los Feliz Derby" Please sign the petition , Please protest to Save it and if you have some time stop on by say hello and dance a little.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

THIS JUST IN! There are 2 meetings

This just in from Rebecca Goodman of the Derby Coalition!

Calling all Derby Fans:

Thank you all for your support!

Don't forget that there are actually TWO meetings:

The first is on Oct 26th and sponsored by the developer Adler Realty. It will be at the Citibank Building on Hillhurst.

The second is on Nov 10th in the auditorium of a local church at 2071 Dracena Ave. This second meeting is sponsored by the neighborhood council (
The neighborhood council will be making recommendations to the city based on what they hear on Nov 10th. Let's be sure to have a strong showing on Nov 10th ... don't let Adler "still the thunder" and undermine the meeting that may influence whether city planning approves Adlers' plans.

Also, please please write to Tom LaBonge. If you do, the cc function is really helpful. Sometimes politicians "forget" that the community has written to them. If you cc us at "" or "" there is back-up proof to present at important city meetings.

Again, thanks for your support and Long live the Derby

Friday, October 21, 2005



Send us video of you and your friends on camera stating why the derby should be saved! Please state your name and the city you live in. Let los Angeles hear your voice!

  • To Upload video: Send us your video by CLICKING HERE!
    "Acceptable video formats MPG4, AVI, Quicktime"

  • For questions: We can now be contacted at / AIM: savethederby

  • * Note that video must be "G"Rated we are all for open public viewpoints however lets keep it clean! Also, please allow for some time for your video to appear. This is a volunteer effort but we will work to get your video up ASAP!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Save the Derby! Lets hear your voice at the Town Meeting!

Attention Everyone!

The Neighborhood Meeting for the proposed Development of "Hillhurst Square" / Demolition of "The Derby" is set.

Date: October 26th

Time 7pm

Location: The Los Feliz Community Police Center,
1965 Hillhurst Ave., 2nd Floor of Citibank Building

''I'm not sure how we would incorporate the Derby. That would be a challenge we would have to look at. That wasn't our original plan.''
Adler Vice President Richard Gable
Published: August 30, 2005

As some of you might know by now the property for The Derby has some new owers and they are planning to build a 5 story, 80 condominum complex with retail stores! There are no plans to integrate the Derby, instead the plan is to Bulldoze over one of the few remaining landmarks of Los Angeles!
Its a shame that Expensive "Luxury" condos and generic chain stores will replace one of the few historic Los Angles landmarks. Not only will it take away the Los Feliz's charm that we love but this "Monster Building" could add to the already congested traffic, tear down Majestic Pine trees (a rare find in LA), and turn the area into a generic strip mall! If you love the Derby and the surrounding area show up and make your voice heard this effects you!

Let them know what you think ! Ask if they can at the very least incorporate The Derby into their plans.

They can be emailed at Adler Realty

Contact Your local friendly Council Man !

For decades, the Brown Derby restaurants, a favorite of the stars, dished up Hollywood cachet to the world. Now the last of the five Brown Derbys, which included the famous "hat" on Wilshire Boulevard, is headed for the final curtain call — unless a loose coalition of nostalgia fans and residents in Los Feliz can rescue the building in that neighborhood. Owned in its heyday by producer Cecil B. DeMille, "the building truly recalls another era," said Jay Platt, a preservation specialist with the nonprofit Los Angeles Conservancy. "It's one of the few remaining examples of buildings that were deeply associated with the city's nightlife and glamour." - By Wendy Thermos LA Times August 31st 2005

Mobilize to Save The Derby!
Contact City Council Member Tom Labonge. We need his help to keep this historic Landmark from being destroyed. But he needs to know that you care!

Address your letters to: Tom Labonge
Councilmember, District 4 for The City of Los Angeles 200 North Spring Street, Room 480, City Hall, Los Angeles 90012

Call him at: Tel: (213) 485-3337 / Fax: (213) 624-7810