To Whom It May Concern:
I read Peter Hong's article, "Downtown not the center of it all" and found it to be so lacking in substance, data, and information that I felt compelled to write to you. After reading the article, I once again saw another example of biased journalism which is the equivalent to, if not worse than poor journalism.
Yes, I am a proud and energized resident of downtown. I live and work downtown. But, surprisingly, there is not a single current resident's view , experience, or outlook in Mr. Hongs column in regards to living downtown. The closest thing to a downtown resident that he did interview lived in downtown in 2001/02 over FIVE years ago and it was a couple who wanted things that obviously any major metropolitan downtown area rarely offers. "An outside garden and garage to do woodwork"!!! I'm sure those are a dime a dozen in Manhattan and San Francisco. Admittedly downtown can never be everything to everyone, and neither can the suburbs. Obviously, this couple was better suited for the burbs where this can be had. Then Mr. Hong goes on to to speak about Paul Park who considered moving his residence and office into downtown "several years ago"? I don't think I have to elaborate on this as well. The conclusion based just on these two examples is bad and poor journalism. Not one of the many NEW residents (he speaks of in the latter part of his article when he speaks of growth--so he knows they exist) who currently live in downtown were interviewed.
There was no mention of downtown now having one of the busiest Ralph's supermarkets in all of the country, no mention of all the new nightlife of packed bars and restaurants that have opened up in the last 2 years, no mention of what I experienced as one of the busiest artwalks that I've ever attended with waiting lines in the local restaurants. Not a single current resident's experience and lifestyle here was mentioned. They are not hard to find. I can supply Mr. Hong with a list of well over 100 just in my building alone (Eastern Columbia).
Worst of all, is that I was curious to look into "Dataquick" where Mr. Hong gets his information from. I'm not a Realtor, but I spoke to one about Dataquick. Apparently this is a very poor source of data for what his article is about. I spoke to a Realtor he explained also told me that the failure and omission of prime zip codes such as 90014 and 90015 (to name just 2) which include the major areas of the Historic Core, and South Park which Mr. Hong even mentions in his article is not included in their data. If this holds to be true, then the basis for Mr. Hong's statistics and analysis is and should be considered "bogus" and even inflammatory to those people that own property in these areas.
In addition to no current resident, there really wasn't any current representation of more than one true downtown Realtor, aside from Stephen Mays. Fred Sands, I question as an expert in downtown. No offense intended, but I have never seen, heard, or been shown a listing from either of them. We currently own two properties downtown, as well as a house on the beach in Playa del Rey. We have shopped the market downtown extensively, looked at just about every building and development, and have met many of the other more major Realtors that specialize in downtown. None of them were even mentioned. Once again, highly irresponsible.
We still own and love our beachfront home in Playa Del Rey, with a view of the marina, ocean, wetlands, and our lagoon. But since buying downtown a year ago, we chose to reside in downtown instead. It's a wonderful and exciting place to live with lot's to do. In fact, our social calendar has never been so busy, and we walk or take the train to just about everywhere we go. I'm certainly not the only one who feels this way. Our neighbor also has a beachfront condo in Redondo Beach, but still loves to spend much of her time in downtown. I have many more examples if Mr. Hong needs to meet them.
Mr Hong's article was both irresponsible and not thorough. I would assume that you have received many letters from the real Realtors who work the downtown area. I'm sure you have found many of the facts and figures in Mr. Hong's article to be biased and not completely investigated properly since then. I'm very sad to see this in one of my favorite newspapers. I certainly hope that the Los Angeles Times has the integrity to print a true introspective view of what downtown is all about and becoming. Admittedly, it's not 100% where it should be, and it has a ways to go, but to paint such an unattractive picture of downtown is irresponsible. How this got past the editor's desk and into print leaves me dumbfounded.