At the September 22, 2020 City Council meeting, Paula Devine made a motion to request staff for a report on “a proposed tram in Griffith Park which could negatively impact our Rancho area.”
Attempting to sound as if he had something to add on the topic, Ara Najarian demonstrated that he knew little to nothing about the project. He also had nothing to add about its destructive potential to Glendale’s Riverside Rancho, and other parts of the Rancho area (Burbank, Los Angeles).
Uninformed about the Griffith Park aerial tram, he used the subject to segue to another unrelated aerial tram project as a means of boasting about his position on the Metro Board.
“With regard to, um, Ms. Devine’s discussion on the aerial tramway, the ugh, I’m not sure what phase that was in. But at Metro, we received a report about a tramway proposal from LA Union Station to Dodger Stadium. I believe that the Griffith Park, um, ‘spur’ if you will, is somehow connected to that process. That is being fully funded by Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Dodgers.”
According to all other accounts (see related links below), the projects are not related ‘spurs’ of some greater plan. Najarian is either revealing new information about the project, or doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Since a group of private investors including billionaire mogul Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane von Furstenberg initiated the proposal for the Griffith Park tram, and Warner Bros. followed with one of their own, my guess would be the latter. If Najarian would do any research at all, he’d know that Griffith Park tram proposals have been surfacing since 1942.
And a simple reading of the griffithparkaerialtransit.com FAQ page could have informed Najarian that the project is in Phase 2.
His ignorance of the project aside, he completely misses the point that Councilmember Paula Devine was making. Glendale’s concern is preserving our unique part of a semi-rural area connecting us with Griffith Park, and the Burbank and Los Angeles equestrian communities.
Mr. Najarian has displayed antipathy for Glendale’s Riverside Rancho neighborhood in the past. Still, someone should explain to him that there is a difference between a tram from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, and ripping up the Griffith Park mountainsides to string cables across the landscape for a branded gondola ride to the Hollywood sign.
And though he attempts to sound like a politician concerned about auto emissions in the environment, it was Najarian who was instrumental in the approval of a 3-story, 64-room hotel, right in the center of the Riverside Rancho neighborhood – within 500 feet of an elementary school. His appointee to Glendale’s Design Review Board, Art Simonian, recently proposed tearing down Silver Spur Stables to build condos as well.
Najarian has been sitting on City Council for over 15 years. Have your local Glendale traffic conditions improved in the last 15 years? Has your air, water, and green space improved? Likely not. We really need someone on City Council who is much more concerned about our environment, and the future generations who will inherit it.
Griffith Park gondola proposal sparks opposition from area residents and environmentalists
Megan Calfas, LA Times • October 23, 2020
Friends of Griffith Park: Griffith Park’s Aerial Tram: History Repeats
TravelYourWay.net March 18, 2020: Griffith Park Aerial Tramway Routes Revealed
Urbanize–Los Angeles August 27, 2020 Details Emerge for Proposed Griffith Park Aerial Tram
Los Angeles Times/Glendale News-Press June 2018 Glendale and Burbank residents protest potential rezoning of Silver Spur Stables