Turf war errupts over area around iconic Hollywood sign

(CBS News) People living near the iconic Hollywood sign are growing angry at the number of tourists they say are invading the area.

The sign is the most visible and iconic symbol of Tinseltown. It was built in 1923 as part of a real estate promotion and ever since, the Hollywood sign has attracted moving-loving tourists making their picture-taking pilgrimages.

Hollywood sign gets first makeover in 35 years

"Well, I've been to Paris, I've seen the Eiffel Tower, I've been to Rome. I've seen the Coliseum. And this is on your list, if you are going to Hollywood, this is what you need to see," said tourist Eileen McDonald.

The only way to get close to the sign is on narrow, winding residential streets that are often so snarled with tourists and so much traffic that a vehicle apparently knocked down a traffic sign imploring them to stay away.

Resident Tony Fisch told CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker that on weekends there are around 5,200 cars and 4,000 people on foot in the area.

Fisch is one of many locals trying to fight back against the onslaught of unchecked visits by tourists. Residents worry everyone would be in danger in the event of an emergency because the streets are too crowded for police or fire vehicles to get through.

Frustrated residents have compared the of flood tourists to a swarm of locusts, arriving by the van-load and complained that their comments fall on deaf ears at City Hall.

"When you live next to a public park you gotta expect one thing: the public," said area City Council Member Tom LaBonge.

While the area has always been a tourist magnet, LaBonge blames GPS technology for turning Hollywood romance into a horror story.

"They go '50 ft. turn right.' you know, '200 ft. go left' and they get you right up the back yards of these homes," he explained. "I have my sleeves rolled up, 'cause I want to try to help these people to try to balance it out. At the same time, I can't discriminate someone from Paris, France; Paris, Texas or Paris, California, so I've got to balance that out as well."

The Hollywood ending for this story, has yet to written.

For Bill Whitaker's full report watch the video in the player above.

Comments