We may own city hall, but it's not ours. It belongs to the 15 city council members and the mayor. No doubt, city hall with all its marble and wood is a stellar piece of architecture. But just try to get into that observation deck on the 27th floor and you'll find yourself under interrogation about what you're doing and where you're going and who you are and who said you could come up here. Access to city hall, our city council members and the mayor is a joke. I know of one LA Weekly reporter who was thrown out of a city council meeting because the gendarmes who "guard" council members during meetings said the reporter didn't have access to go "behind the ropes." The reporter told me he wanted to talk to council members about a huge project the city council was getting ready to OK. Reporters have to go behind those silly access ropes like those you see at nightclubs because it's the only way to get direct access to the people they're covering. So, if they kick reporters out of city hall public meetings, what chance does Joe Sixpack ever have of seeing the Tom Bradley Room? None, unless you're a close personal friend of the mayor or you contribute generously to council member campaigns. So, guess who has access to city hall and the Bradley Room? Big contributors, not the unwashed.
Best View of Downtown L.A. and Beyond - 2011
Tom Bradley Room
The City of Los Angeles government and all of its buildings are owned by the residents (aka taxpayers) of L.A. That means we own City Hall. It's a public building, but we just went to the city's home page and couldn't find anywhere where our city welcomes us to visit and tour City Hall, arguably the most historic, and inarguably the most filmed, building in our city's illustrious history. If you haven't been, the rotunda on the third floor, the ornate council chambers and Public Works hearing room all are gorgeous and worth playing tourist in your own city, even if you don't wish to sit in on a council meeting and be befuddled by the people you elected and whose salaries you pay. Nor does the website make mention of the Tom Bradley Room, perched atop City Hall on the 27th floor. You can walk the 26th-floor "entry room," where all the mayors in the history of L.A. stare back at you from their oversized portraits. Ascend the stairs to the 27th floor into an open room that's used sporadically for special events or luncheons (just not yours). Mayor Villaraigosa is a frequent visitor to the insider events as they showcase the spectacular views to the north, south, west and east (OK, the view east kinda sucks). An observation deck wraps around all four sides, ideal for photo taking and enjoying one of the best views of your city you can find anywhere. It's open to you, Joe Public, during City Gall (see what we did there?) hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. But you'd never know that, because your City of Los Angeles didn't invite you. We did. 200 N. Spring St., dwntwn.; lacity.org.