What happened to Felix the Cat?

In 2007, the city of Los Angeles almost declared the historic Felix Chevrolet neon sign and dealership an official landmark. Then Mayor Villaraigosa's office asked the Cultural Heritage Commission to stop the process, claiming it would be bad for business. Darryl Holter of Felix Chevrolet promised to maintain the sign for future generations. Five years later, Felix Chevrolet partnered with General Motors to rip out the vintage neon tubes and illuminate Felix the Cat with LEDs. If you want Felix Chevrolet to honor its promise to the city and restore this great neon sign, please sign the petition.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Cautionary Tail

We regret to report that there has been no response to our petition which was submitted on February 11, 2013, asking then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that he work with Felix Chevrolet, General Motors and then-Councilwoman Jan Perry to undo the damage that was done to the historic Felix the Cat neon sign in transforming into a partially burned-out LED sign.

While we are dismayed that the Mayor would ignore the wishes of hundreds of constituents, and go back on his own written promise that this community landmark would be preserved and protected, we do see one positive thing about the loss of this beloved landmark.

Historic preservation happens when official policies are followed. In this case, politicians made special provisions on behalf of a powerful donor, and stopped the Cultural Heritage Commission from proclaiming Felix the Cat to be an official landmark of the City of Los Angeles. The community was asked to trust the politicians and the powerful donor, whose promises were proven to be worthless within five years. Felix was permanently altered, with no public notice and no legal recourse.

Los Angeles, and preservation-minded people everywhere: remember the tail of Felix the Cat, and don't get fooled again.