Putting her money where her mouth isn’t

Firefighters pulled Daryl Hannah out of a tree.
It would appear that she is protesting the landowner’s decision to put a warehouse on land that has for the last 15 years been used, free of charge, by urban farmers. Others, including Willie Nelson and Danny Glover also protested.

Let’s look at it this way… these well-known and well-to-do personalities are pushing for a private landowner to contribute 14 acres of land for public use. That seems like a worthy cause, right?

Why don’t they just, you know… BUY it? Did they try? It’s just money, after all. They could have set up the Hannah, Nelson, and Glover Trust for Urban Gardening, and as a non-profit organization kept trees on that land in perpetuity. They could have turned it into a park. What would it have cost them? A million dollars? Five? And if that’s what it would have cost, how can it possibly be just for them to expect the private landowner to absorb the cost himself?

I’ll be impressed when Ms. Hannah buys some land and donates it to the public herself.

33 thoughts on “Putting her money where her mouth isn’t”

  1. Just as a note, the “landowner” wasn’t the landowner until recently. The land was originally owned by the city, who gave it to the neighborhood back in 1992, then recently reneged on that promise and sold the land out from under them. That’s why it’s a protest issue.

    Having a trust buy the land is an idea with merit, but really, it boils down to saying that the poor only have rights if the rich stand up for them.

    1. Actually, there’s more to it than that. The city used eminent domain to get the land from that owner, with the purpose of building something there (it’s been weeks since I saw the article, so I don’t remember what). When they didn’t use it for anything, they allowed the locals to use it. But now that they haven’t used it for the original purpose (eminent domain is fairly restrictive, after all), it has defaulted back to the original owner, who wants to sell it.

  2. the owner of the land

    was apparently asking 16.3 million dollars for it. a fundraising attempt by the non-profit group supervising the garden only succeeded in raising 6.3 million by the purchase-option deadline (May 31), at which point the protestors moved in and started perching in trees.

    as you point out, if each of the celebs protesting had kicked down, say, half a million bucks, they could easily have purchased the land.

    but the saga of that piece of land is long and complicated. it was confiscated from the owner, Ralph Horowitz, by the City of Los Angeles in an eminent domain proceeding in the late ’80s, using an urban blight statute that was later overturned by the CA supreme court (though, given recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court, it might have gone differently now.). The city had planned to build a trash-burning electricity plant there, but when those plans fell through it was turned over to the Los Angeles Food Bank, which started allowing its use as a community garden. Horowitz sued, saying the land wasn’t being used for the purposes stated in the eminent domain case, and was allowed to buy the land back for 5 million dollars.

    That was three years ago, but he let the community garden remain until earlier this year, when he apparently decided to build a warehouse there, though giving the food bank the option to purchase the land for the aforementioned 16.3 million dollars.

    It seems to me (just my opinion) that 16.3 million dollars for a 14-acre plot in South Central Los Angeles might be pushing the alleged value of the land a little high. On the other hand, the landowner had spent about $10 million on the land ($4.0 mil for the initial purchase, then $5 mil more to buy it back from the city after the eminent domain thing), plus who knows what in property taxes over the years. So it might be a reasonable price, I don’t know.

    Santa Cruz’s community garden project has moved several times over the years as its patches get developed. Its current location is a bit of city-owned land on the outskirts of town. (That seems to have been the solution that L.A. came up with, too – other plots were made available to the growers, it’s just that some of them apparently didn’t want to leave. Probably the people with the trees – it takes a bit of time to grow a decent walnut tree.)

    Anywho… it’s a fouled-up situation, and I mean that euphemistically.

    1. Re: the owner of the land

      The owner hasn’t quite spent $10M on the land, since he presumably got some amount of money for it in the eminent domain purchase. (The government doesn’t take the land; it forces the owner to sell at what is supposedly, but often isn’t, fair market value.)

        1. Re: the owner of the land

          Actually they bought it for less…if I remember right it was a purchase of 4.3, so the city still make $700,000 on property the forcefully took to begin with. With median house prices in CA at $750,000 $16.3 mil sounds about right for 14 acres…he could develop it into houses rather than a warehouse.

          I do agree though…if the “stars” really support those folks than they should fork in some cash to buy the property.

          Kind of like Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt fighting for freedom of the press but running to Nambia to have their baby so they can control who from the press and papparazzi can have access to them….but that’s another thread.

      1. Re: the owner of the land

        I feel he would be entirely justified in asking the same amount from the protesters as the people building the factory would pay him, regardless of if it is more than he paid for it over time.

      1. Re: the owner of the land

        I’m no local, heavens no. Wouldn’t pay a dime for a square centimeter of land in LA. I have, however, been following this for some time on the LA Times website thanks to a pointer from friends who now live in the benighted Southland.

  3. The whole “I’ve been in a movie, therefore I am qualified to tell you how to live your life” aspect of celebrity has always disturbed me a little.

    I like when celebrities lend their names to charities, and such, which offers exposure to groups that would otherwise struggle, but the protest thing, and the celebrity activism on the level of PETA kinda makes me a little nuts.

  4. Idaho just recently had a vote on the topic of eminent domain and the right for the guv to take over public property and sell it. It’s a major issue all over the country these days. Yeah, the answer is for some of these activists to actually do something rather than just squealing and stirring up crowds, but that would be logical… and Howard, you should know better than to apply logic to illogical situations.

  5. And what did it cost city services to manage that circus? Cherry pickers don’t come cheap, missy.

    They should have picked up the concrete barrel she was chained to and dropped it off a pier. In fact, I’m pitching that concept to Universal as “Daryl Hanna in Splash 2.” Call me, babe. Ciao.

  6. Howard, these are Actors we’re talking about. Rational thought isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for someone who pretends to be something they’re not for a living. 😉

  7. It’s really easy to be generous with someone else’s land/money/etc. It’s not so easy (especially for hollywood types) to be generous with their own money.

  8. I’m still waiting to see how the “imminent domain” law works out on that justice who is possibly being forced to sell his land to the city… or was it a congresscritter? I forget.

      1. Re: hmmmm

        Regardless, that would have been very helpful information for the news media to provide. The article they printed made Ms. Hannah look like a crackpot (and, in fairness, she helped them).

        If someone did, in fact, make a bid on the land at the asking price, then the protest should have taken the shape of “please sell the land like you promised to” rather than “hell no we won’t go.” Call attention to the actual financial details, rather than just trying to play to the good samaritan in all of us.

        (Note: when the good samaritan dropped his charge off at the inn, and told the innkeeper to care for him, he also said “I’ll settle his bill later — it’s not coming out of your pocket.” From what’s been printed, Ms. Hannah appears to be asking the landowner to play samaritan instead of innkeeper.)

  9. Let’s be fair….

    We’re all assuming that these “celebrities” HAD the money. After all, what’s the last movie that Hannah was in, let alone the last one that made money?
    And Willie, has he paid off his IRS debt yet? and when was his last #1 album?
    Glover I’m not sure about, to be honest…. Has he done anything blockbuster since Lethal Weapon(s)? I really can’t honestly say for sure.

    In other words, I’m not really sure that these are “A” list celebs, and maybe they couldn’t AFFORD to buy the land.
    And then the cynic deep inside (OK, not that deep) says that they want the publicity so that their agent can get them in Al Gore’s next movie.

    1. Re: Let’s be fair….

      Danny Glover was in Saw not too long ago, and God only knows how much he’s raked in on royalties from the DVD sales and rentals in the past two years.

  10. Oh, that’s an easy one to answer. She’s been broke all these years because internet people keep pirating Splash and Blade Runner.

    1. Re: A kindred soul in the first comment

      I had read elsewhere that the owner of the land changed his mind about selling the property because he was so offended by the character assassination campaign against him.

      That treehugger.com link has some more details:

      I had been active an supporter of the farm: during demonstrations and financially. One of the reasons that Hurwitz would not sell the land was what he considered a virulent campaign against him including anti-semiticism. As a supporter I too saw and experienced terrible anti-semitic signs and remarks. When I brought this issue to some of the South Central organizers they said they did not believe it was a racial issue, they did not support any implication of anti-Semiticism HOWEVER they agreed that some of the rhetoric was clearly anti-semitic but they would do nothing to stop it since it came from key supporters who they did not want to alienate. I believe that if the campaign against Horwitz had not been so strongly personal he would have sold the property. Far left groups like Answer continue to alienate Jews that believe in the same causes because of their extension of the terrible situation in Israel to an anti-Jewish bias in general.

      Key point: The organizers deliberately, consciously chose to ally themselves with people who they admitted were antisemitic, and using antisemitic slurs in their campaign. I can’t blame Horwitz. I’d sow the property with salt before I’d sell it to those creeps.

    1. I would like to be chained to Daryl Hannah for a while. 🙂

      Beauty can only make up for a certain amount of offensive airheadedness.

      In her case …. not nearly enough.

      1. “In her case …. not nearly enough.”

        I don’t know… There’s something about her that gives her a great deal of leeway in my book. Perhaps she is trainable?

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