Hollywood Goes D.I.Y.

Senator Barbara Boxer, in her ULI TOD Summit appearance, invoked the “Rule of 60” when she made the claim that 60% of our economy is made up of small businesses and that 60% of the small businesses in our community are struggling with credit and regulatory issues. Bearing witness to the validity of her claim is Bechir Blagui of Hollywood Rent A Car, a local merchant on Hollywood Boulevard, who has a dream, a vision, a commitment to offering local, sustainable transportation solutions to the locals who live here and the to tourists who visit. But…

When Bechir attempted to bring electric community car share to Hollywood Boulevard, he hit a roadblock, an obstacle that could not be moved, the City of LA’s bureaucracy. From City Council President Eric Garcetti to Councilman Tom LaBonge to Assemblyman Mike Feuer to the Department of Water and Power to the Department of Transportation to Street Services to Building and Safety, Bechir took LA’s famous “Small Business Pachinko” ride that typically results in migration to Burbank, Glendale, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Culver City, West Hollywood or anywhere else but here. Bechir did not leave.

Bechir stayed and maintained his commitment to a local, sustainable transportation solution and as he continues to work on getting electric charging stations installed on Hollywood Boulevard, he simply invested in electric bikes and now supplements his car rental business with bikes-for-rent. If only he had some bike racks!

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Again comes the magic and charm of LA’s Bureaucracy as Bechir discovers that the City of LA has suspended their bike rack program, purportedly because of the city’s budget crisis. (The racks are in a warehouse, the installation is done by a contractor who is funded through a “special” fund, there is no impact to LA’s General Budget) Bechir now has bikes-for-rent but is unable to get permanent curbside bike parking on Hollywood Boulevard.

Bechir maintained his commitment to a local, sustainable transportation solution, this time by hiring a local welder to fabricate some bike racks and then by installing then in front of his store on Hollywood Boulevard. Again, he learned to survive by going DIY.

Senator Barbara Boxer was effective when she invoked the “Rule of 60” claim (when making a point, use the 60% statistic, it’s reasonable, it’s convincing, it’s acceptable, even to skeptics, 60% of whom accept the Rule of 60 as sensible) but it seems that she would be even more effective if she begins to invoke the “Rule of DIY” in her next LA
speech, after all, DIY products are LA’s only local export these days!

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