Shark Tank, Audition for Millions and Block the Sidewalk

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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Long Beach: Finding Ways to Get More People Walk

|
Walk Long Beach inaugurated its walk audit tours this weekend in the Cambodia Town neighborhood huddled north of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero Avenues. The audits–a collaboration between YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Building Helathy Communities Long Beach, and the newly minted urban design non-profit City Fabrick–have a simple agenda: to walk around five […]

Cartoon Tuesday: Who Pays?

|
This comic is one of many on BP’s disaster available at U.S. News and World Report. There have been so many depressing plots surrounding the ongoing horror story unfolding at Deepwater Horizon.  It’s sort of a "pick your poison" buffet catastrophe: helpless animals coated in oil,  the universal inability to figure out a way to […]

Senate Health Bill Holds Onto Grants For Healthier Transportation

|
Back in June, when the Senate was in the early stages of its marathon health care reform debate, several Republicans blasted the  proposed legislation for including a grant program aimed at encouraging construction of local infrastructure to promote healthier movement. The new Senate health bill held onto a billion-dollar grant program to promote walking to […]

Sidewalk Politics Enters Into the City Controller’s Race

|
Whether a coincidence or not, yesterday City Council Member Dennis Zine showed one of the advantages of political incumbency. Zine, on the same day that voters could main in ballots for city-wide races including the Controller’s race,  announced a $1 million plan to fix sidewalks in 50 “hotspots” in Zine’s West Valley District. Zine’s press […]