Holland Points To Discrepancies In Ravine 'Papers'


CCNA—Mayor Norris Poulson's request for the city council to approve a "hold harmless" agreement on Chavez Ravine land was received and filed last week, but not before Councilman John Holland pointed out discrepancies in the documents submitted to the council.

The unanimous vote to receive and file the Mayor's request was equivalent to forgetting all about it. Council action was made unnecessary by previous signing by the Dodger Baseball Corp. of the agreement assuming liability for lifting a public purpose deed restriction.

Holland pointed out that the Dodgers had assumed responsibility and said the council was incorrectly told that the city had to share the liability. He said he was "amazed" when he learned the facts a few days previous and implied that a few council members may have known the true situation.

Holland referred to a July 20, 1959 request from Poulson for "two save harmless agreements," one from the city and the other from the Dodgers.

Then he read from escrow instructions which made it clear that the city did not need to assume the liability.

These instructions read: "It being understood that the City of Los Angeles may execute either or both of said Hold Harmless Agreements; that the Los Angeles Dodgers Inc. may execute either or both of said Hold Harmless Agreements or that the City of Los Angeles may execute one of said Hold Harmless Agreements and the Los Angeles Dodgers Inc. may execute the other, at the discretion of the City of Los Angeles and/or the Los Angeles Dodgers Inc."

Holland said he didn't want to let the matter drop without pointing out the contradictions in what the council was told and what was necessary. Then he commented on lack of morality in public life. He said:

"The other day some of us went to hear the National Commander of the American Legion (Martin B. McKneally) and I thought it was a short but masterful exposition of what is wrong with us. He excoriated in terms I cannot exactly remember this tendency on the part of government to fool the people, and to fool each other.

"Personally I think this is what happened here. I am grateful that this council did not go along with this request for an unlimited guarantee which may eventually, as the facts come out more and more in this case, may eventually wind up in the Federal Court."

Holland said the "big subsidy" in the Dodger deal came from the federal government. He was referring to the more than $4 million difference between the price of $1,279,000 which the city paid for the land and $5,562,000 of federal money which it cost to acquire and clear the land for a housing project which never went through.

As soon as Holland finished speaking, a former Chavez Ravine resident, Miss Glen Walters, tried to address the council. She failed to win recognition from Council President John Gibson and was eventually, at Gibson's request, chased away from the central microphone by Sgt. at Arms Charles Williams.

"I'll go by myself," she said and walked out shouting criticism of council procedure. As she passed a group of school children observing the session she screamed at them to take note of the fact that she had been denied the right to speak.

Thus another aspect of the Dodger-Chavez Ravine controversy passed into local history, not with a bang or a whimper but with the outraged cries of a citizen who resented losing her land for a baseball stadium.