By Nyla Arslanian
Crossroads of The World
Photo by Raphael Williams
In his sixth State of Hollywood address today, Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell unveiled a sweeping new Heart of Hollywood initiative designed to address pressing needs in the world-famed community.
The initiative is in addition to other changes affecting the central Hollywood area and business community.
On January 1, Rana Ghadban, former president of the Simi Valley, Calabasas and Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chambers of Commerce, assumed leadership of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. She follows its president/CEO of 26 years, Leron Gubler, who for both his longevity and leadership and management skills lifted the venerable 96-year old Chamber out of financial doldrums into new heights of influence.
Similarly, Kerry Morrison, the first and only executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, that manages the sanctioned business improvement district, who has served for 21 years, leaves her post to concentrate on the area's homeless issues.
During his remarks, Councilmember O'Farrell, announced Kerry Morrison's successor, Kris Larson. Larson has an impressive list of accomplishments with central business districts in Raleigh, N.C., Grand Rapids, Michigan and Long Beach, California, and will begin his new position on February 27th.
As if this change isn't enough new in the community, Councilmember O'Farrell announced the appointment of his Hollywood Deputy, Dan Halden, to lead the Heart of Hollywood campaign. The campaign has far reaching goals to serve and enhance the world-famous community. In crafting the initiative, O'Farrell stressed the importance and meaning of each letter of the anacronym:
H - History
E - Economy
A - Arts and Architecture
R - Renewal
T - Tradition
For those of us who have been involved in Hollywood affairs for many decades, it's the first time in memory that such a sweeping transition has occurred. Yes, we've been through changes in political leadership, new leaders of various organizations, but not in multiples.
Councilmember O'Farrell definitely knows the lay of the land and is willing to roll up his sleeves to ensure that the community moves forward and fulfills on its potential and promise.
While all this may have an unsettling affect on some, it's also like a fresh new breeze has blown into town. It is the time of high hopes and great expectations. And for those of us who aren't hired to be in the trenches, it's a time to catch the wave of change and hang ten. The best is yet to come.
Happy New Year.