An Open Letter to Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC)
Dear Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC),
On behalf of your fellow Runyon Canyon friends, on behalf of the hundreds (thousands?) of citizens who have attended Emergency Meetings, who have called and written their Councilmember, who have been compelled to file a costly lawsuit to protect the park from your heavy construction, we ask you to do the righteous thing. On behalf of the enormous constituency who cares about Runyon Canyon as much as you do, we ask FORC to voluntarily terminate your Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the City.
It’s time for Friends of Runyon Canyon to step aside and let the healing begin.
We thank you, Friends, for your service. We genuinely appreciate the handsome new trash receptacles you’ve installed. We hope all of FORC’s Board Members, particularly the ones whose panoramic views you’re fighting to protect, will individually contribute to the preservation of the park by doing helpful things like picking up litter. But the Friends of Runyon Canyon organization has lost the trust and support of the community it wished to represent. Without credibility, you cannot lead. We ask FORC to withdraw voluntarily from Runyon Canyon.
What happened — and what didn’t happen — with your ill-conceived and badly executed plan to build a corporate-sponsored basketball court in the middle of the park (without an Environmental Impact Report, without genuine transparency) has been fully documented. And it reflects poorly on your judgment and integrity. Councilmember Ryu, who initially provided “positive support” for your efforts, called the process “a travesty.” Without recapitulating all that went horribly wrong with your stewardship, without cataloging the rapidly spreading legal trouble FORC’s covert actions have caused, let us all agree that nobody is happy with how things have turned out. Instead of uniting the community, you have divided it, pitting neighbors against neighbors.
The facts of the situation are not in dispute. You have violated your MOU with the City. You have alienated and enraged long-time residents. You have triggered at least one lawsuit, and probably more. To stay in a management position at this point will lead to nothing but unpleasantness for everyone. To continue would make Friends of Runyon Canyon a kind of occupying force (or FORC, if you prefer). An organization whose very legitimacy has been called into question cannot guide, they can only invade.
Please do not inspire further litigation. Please do find a great generosity of spirit in your heart. Please show your love for Runyon Canyon and your respect for the patrons of Runyon Canyon by graciously retiring from service.
Michael Konik, 24-year-resident of Vista Street and volunteer Runyon Park litter cleaner
Mayor Eric Garcetti
Councilmember David Ryu, CD4
Michael Shull, Department of Parks and Recreation