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Film and Television Industry

Shark Tank, Audition for Millions and Block the Sidewalk

11:06 AM PDT on June 10, 2013

Another side effect of the film and television industry's abuse of Los Angeles as their personal backlots is what happens when television shows hold "open auditions" without taking the time or effort to insure that the auditions don't negatively impact the community.

Take what happens when ABC's Shark Tank, a show where a handful of billionaires decide whether or not to take over invest in one's life work  and dreams. Maybe the person will become a millionaire. Maybe not.  When Shark Tank rolls into the Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, the sidewalks surrounding the site become impassable.

Despite the above video showing several Municipal Code violations (see below for more), neither the LAPD, the hotel, Shark Tank, or anyone else seem interested in providing public or private security or obtaining a sidewalk closure permit. As the above video shows, passing the line of hopeful entrepreneurs is a daunting task, even the cameraman spends most of the video on the sidewalk.

A reader, who wished to remain anonymous, sends along a first-hand review of the Shark Tank audition line.

A couple times a year auditions are held at a hotel in my neighborhood (Studio City/North Hollywood.) Usually a day before these auditions, people begin lining up for the auditions on the sidewalk outside of the property. They often bring chairs, lounge chairs, tents, sometimes even mattresses. I use this sidewalk nearly every day when moving around my neighborhood, so I've experienced the direct impact of these situations as a pedestrian and bicyclist.

I've tried contacting the hotel where this event is held, but they say they can do nothing since it's not their property (people waiting in line claimed the hotel had directed them to line up on the sidewalk.) I've been unable to figure out how to contact anyone from "Shark Tank" (the show people are auditioning for at least a few of the times - including today.) I've also tried calling the police, but they claim this isn't an issue.

I understand that the hotel doesn't want to talk to ABC about this since they have a vested interest in the business ABC provides. I don't think ABC wants to take any responsibility despite the fact that they know these sorts of things happen in advance of their auditions. From what I understand of the Los Angeles municipal code SEC. 41.18., people cannot block the sidewalk. From what I understand of SEC. 56.1, people cannot leave chairs and other articles on the sidewalk as they often do in these situations. I've seen people trying to use the sidewalk go into the street to pass since the sidewalk is blocked or turn around since the sidewalk is blocked. There are no posted notices about the sidewalk being closed from any direction.

Of course, the film and television industry's disdain for Los Angeles' residents isn't confined to just occasionally closing sidewalks without permission or precaution; they are also actively trying to remove bicycle and pedestrian safety issues in Downtown Los Angeles. If they are permitted to continue, it's the citizens of Los Angeles who will continue to pay the price.

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