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Hollywood Sign Neighbors Hate Tourists

           ** Click Here To See Photos **

Tourists who want to experience the real Hollywood might want to make a stop at a Fountain Avenue community room on Tuesday.  That's where Hollywood residents and Los Angeles leaders will debate how best to deal with hordes of sightseers who daily clog the narrow hillside streets beneath the Hollywood sign.

Residents and officials agree that GPS devices, websites and a proliferation of tour bus and van operators have opened the 87-year-old neighborhood to growing numbers of visitors who want to get as close as possible to the iconic sign. That's prompted some in the area to post their own signs. 'Warning — Tourist-Free Zone — All Tourists Leave the Area,' orders one. 'Tourists Go Away,' states another.

Earlier this year one group of residents living in the area originally known as Hollywoodland erected signs that directed tourists to go to a small park at the intersection of Canyon Lake Drive and Mulholland Highway to take their pictures. Those signs mysteriously disappeared — with some in the neighborhood blaming members of a rival homeowners organization for taking them.

The dispute over designating the park as a scenic viewpoint flared anew Sept. 1, when staff members of Hollywood-area City Councilman Tom LaBonge showed up at the park with shovels.  The half-dozen aides, interns and field deputies of the councilman removed brush and spread three truckloads of gravel at the park to create a spot for tourists to take pictures of the Hollywood sign.

The project quickly attracted the attention of those who worry that the neighborhood is being overrun by sightseers. Sarajane Schwartz, president of the Hollywoodland Homeowners Assn., said she went to the site to protest the city staffers' work. 

But some in the area say the Hollywood sign — originally erected to read HOLLYWOODLAND  advertise the Hollywoodland subdivision — is destined to draw tourists no matter what.  The rival Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Assn. praised LaBonge's staff for its work.

Thanks to the office of Councilmember Tom LaBonge for spending another full day in the hot sun clearing the debris and overgrowth from our only park. The area is getting nicer and more open, which means that those who have found their own way into Hollywoodland and want to take a photo of the Hollywood sign don't have to stand in the street. According to Beachwood Canyon group leader Fran Reichenbach, tourists easily find their way through the neighborhood's curvy streets thanks to the Internet and navigation tools that give turn-by-turn driving directions to the sign.

Photos of the Hollywood Sign can be seen on the web site. All the photographs are available for purchase.

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