A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday ordered a temporary halt to UCLA's proposed sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air.
In granting a preliminary injunction, Judge Lisa Hart Cole said UC regents had contractually agreed to maintain the garden in perpetuity.
This is welcome news to me. I was very disappointed when it first came to light that U.C.L.A. was attempting to sell the Gardens. The Gardens always represented a significant piece of Los Angeles history and culture, and I was proud that my University was the steward of such a unique and special place.
That's part of why it was so shameful when the Chancellor showed his true colors in trying to justify the sale of the Gardens, citing maintenance costs and the lack of a tangible teaching or research function. Though these arguments are weak to begin with, Islandbruin had the best rebuttal to the concern over costs.
Now, to go with the administration's total apathy and failure to foster and cultivate this cultural gem, we now get a Superior Court judge saying that administration acted illegally and fraudulently.
In May, Carter's heirs filed suit seeking to stop the garden sale. In her ruling, Cole said they had a reasonable probability of prevailing in court.
She also said at an earlier hearing that the university had behaved in a "duplicitous" manner by failing to notify Carter's heirs in 2010 when the regents petitioned the Alameda County Superior Court for permission to sell the garden.
I am saddened but not surprised to see the term "duplicitous" applied to the administrators at my school. It would be a painful thing to hear even once, but this certainly isn't the first time. Yesterday's legal injunction and its wording are just more black marks Chancellor Block and his administrators who are running, and ruining, my school.
I hope this injunction makes U.C.L.A. stop and think about alternatives to selling the property, and consider ways they can benefit, both socially and financially, from the cultural and historical significant of the Japanese Gardens. It shouldn't be too difficult to come up with ideas that benefit all parties involved in the Gardens. But if the admin is simply too short sighted or just too damned lazy to come up with a worthwhile plan, then the school should return the properties to the family and let them find someone who cares. Sadly, I imagine the University will simply fight the court's ruling. By the way, how many years of maintenance fees has U.C.L.A. wasted in legal fees on this already?