City Council Approves Motion to Use Bethune Public Land for Marriott Hotel

Open Letter to City Council
January 11, 2023

City Council Approves Motion to Use Bethune Public Land for Marriott Hotel

Today, Los Angeles City Council passed a motion sponsored by Council District 8 to appeal the South LA Planning Commission’s decision to deny a permit for a hotel on the vacant Bethune site in South Central. We just elected a new slate of folks on the grounds they are going to be progressive on housing, so this vote is especially disappointing. We are grateful to all who wrote or called their council member to tell them to vote no on this motion and keep this public land for public good.

Unfortunately, though, this is business as usual at council: flouting regulations to appease corporate developers.

Under California’s Surplus Land Act, public land is supposed to be prioritized for affordable housing. As we’ve already highlighted, both the City Zoning Administrator and the South LA Planning Commission opposed this development. To get around these decisions, District 8 Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson instead took the decision to a council vote and introduced an amendment to have it approved by the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee, which he chairs.

There is no local hiring agreement in place for this hotel. Tourist tax revenue goes to the city’s general fund, not to the district. This development will employ outsiders, serve tourists from out of town, create more pollution and traffic in the neighborhood, and enrich the Marriott corporation, based in Bethesda, Maryland, all while contributing to gentrification and displacement in the area. 

Meanwhile, South Central does not have enough affordable units for the people who live here. There is, however, a 240-room Radisson Hotel less than a mile away from this site. 

Next month, we will have a community screening of the documentary that Artivists United made for the Bethune site and a discussion about what people would like to see there. We also plan to oppose the motion when it is taken to the PLUM committee in the next few weeks. We plan to keep you updated, and continue fighting as hard as we can to ensure whatever gets built on the Bethune site truly serves the community.