Restrictions may be coming on Hollywood Boulevard’s costumed street performers, said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell during the 21st annual State of Hollywood address on Jan. 23 at the Taglyan Cultural Center. The statement received loud applause from guests (mostly local businesses and organizations) and a “thank goodness” from an attendee sitting nearby as O’Farrell said he and his team were working on the issue.
“This will discourage the criminal behavior by some and encourage good behavior,” O’Farrell said. “So that they may be thought of ambassadors of Hollywood and not predators who harass, or in some cases, assault unsuspecting tourists.”
He then proceeded to delve into criminal statistics, saying that over the past 10 years, crime has dropped more than 50%, making it the safest it has been since 1949. Recently 60 more officers were added to the force in Hollywood for an indefinite amount of time to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Hollywood is on the way up,” O’Farrell said. “Let’s get us to that world-class standard we deserve.”
O’Farrell also touched upon the issues of unemployment, safety and the state of the entertainment industry in his 45-minute speech.
“We need to be in the business of serving, not judging. Helping, not hindering,” O’Farrell said in regards to L.A.’s small businesses.
Regarding the entertainment industry, O’Farrell said he would be fighting not only for stability in L.A.’s film industry by keeping production in California, but also incentives that will “stop the bleeding” of industry jobs.
He especially spoke at length about the importance of improving the tourist experience.
“If we don’t do everything we can to set a higher standard on the (Hollywood) Boulevard for the tourist experience, we stand to lose millions of dollars of revenue every year to our local economy,” O’Farrell said.
Improvements include a valet ordinance that will create some price predictability for tourists. O’Farrell also enacted the sightseeing bus ordinance to quell the “free-for-all sidewalk sales” of tour buses that have given Hollywood a “carnival atmosphere” while blocking access to pedestrians on the Walk of Fame.