Issue: Summer 2022
A Fresh New View
His a paradox and it’s a perfect explanation for all of its fascination and all that it seemingly has going for it, it flounders—takes three steps forward and four steps back. It’s definitely, as Mr. Webster states “a proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.”
&nBut there’s a new wind blowing and rather than calling it “Mar-eye-ya,” we’ll call it Kathleen Rawson. Five months ago Kathleen arrived on the scene as the latest President/CEO of the Hollywood Partnership, formerly the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. She comes with more than 25 years of experience in both Hospitality and Destination Management. Before arriving at The Hollywood Partnership, Rawson served as CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., expanding the organization’s role within the halls of influence while also tackling new responsibilities that helped shape Downtown Santa Monica into one of the most dynamic and attractive urban districts in the country. Rawson took the helm at DTSM, Inc. (formerly Bayside District Corp.) in 1997, successfully transforming the placemaking organization into the largest property-based assessment district—by budget—in the State of California, with an annual budget of more than $9 million
Her passion for helping transform organizations into agents for positive change in her community goes beyond her work at DTSM, Inc., and extends into her private life as well. Rawson has served as chair of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, treasurer and currently chair of the International Downtown Association, past president of the Kehillat Israel Synagogue, a member of the Santa Monica History Museum board, and a former member of the boards for Turning Point Transitional Housing Shelter, Santa Monica AIDS Project and Southern California Women for Understanding.
Meeting with Kathleen, my first impression is that she is a genuine person, warm and gracious with a delightful twinkle in her eye. Her manner is positive and her enthusiasm for the task at hand unbridled. She’s aware of the challenges. Hollywood is not Santa Monica and she has to live with Los Angeles’ draconian political structure. But there’s no doubt that this woman knows the lay of the land. Still, inquiring minds want to know and so we asked:
Discover Hollywood: What excites you the most about your future in Hollywood?
Kathleen Rawson: Hollywood is on the cusp of a renaissance and has a lot of things working in its favor, such as investment in residential properties—many already completed or underway. All this is changing Hollywood in a very positive way. Hollywood has always been a neighborhood—not just a place to visit...it’s more well-rounded.
DH: What do you think is the most formidable challenge?
KR: Not exclusively in Hollywood, but there’s more impact on the police and private security and we need more personnel to deal with very serious issues. Business closures due to Covid, criminal justice and lack of consequences. It’s about quality of life in Los Angeles and how people feel about the community and the perception of crime.
DH: Hollywood Boulevard is a conundrum. What in your opinion will it take to bring it to realize its vast potential?
KR: The Boulevard is not a five-year issue; it’s a 50-year problem. There’s a lack of pride of ownership and vacancy is a problem. The Heart of Hollywood plan is needed and it will take our organization and partners at the Hollywood Chamber to do a true assessment and analysis for resolution. My board is committed to the boulevard’s transformation. However, we can only do so much. The city has to step up and honor its base obligations for policing and public works beyond what our property owners are assessed.
Finally Rawson added, “I can’t stress enough the importance the relationship with our mayor and CD13 council office is to the entire equation. I have great respect for all that has been done so far. It takes vision and leadership. I’m confident that when everyone brings their full potential to the table, we can transform the quality of life in Hollywood.”
Straight talk and a clear view of the problems, Kathleen Rawson, has the knowhow to lead the Hollywood Partnership and bring forth the possibility of a strong and vibrant Hollywood.
Editor’s Note: Hollywood Partnership’s central business improvement district includes the length of Hollywood Blvd., a portion of Sunset Blvd. and Vine Street. Property owners are assessed according to their holdings. Visit www.hollywoodpartnership.com for additional information. DH