Robert Cherno Is Not My Friend

I cannot remain silent any longer. I own two duplexes in the Beverly-Fairfax area, which I inherited from my parents, both of whom were Holocaust survivors. I have seen many changes in my community over the years. But I am saddest over the loss of the soul of my neighborhood association, the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association.
I write this anonymously because I, like my friends who are still involved in the group (one of whom is still on its board) are terrified of retaliation by the group’s leader, Diana Plotkin and her sergeant-at-arms, Bob Cherno. Both have ruined many lives in the area, and I am not about to get on their s***-list. They are merciless and they stop at nothing to silence those who dare speak out against them.
I got involved with the group in the 1980’s, when Diana Plotkin (Diane to those of us who knew her when she was a girl) began fighting Mayor Bradley’s plans to build a (useless) subway through our neighborhood.
Diana then began a quest to fix parking and traffic in the community. She warned us about how big developers would use their power and lawyers at city hall to get away from building the parking they were supposed to, and this concerned me and my neighbors quite a bit. After all, my duplexes are my only sources of income, and if my tenants cannot park, I end up with vacancies. (Many of Diana’s colleagues in the BWHA are in the same boat. Nearly all own a few rentals and don’t work otherwise.) I trusted Diana because I have known her for many years, and my father was good friends with her father, Ben. Also she is a bigwig in our local Democrat party and has personal relationships with everyone from our city councilman, Paul Korets, to our congressman, Henry Waxman.
When Diana fought the new hotel across from the Beverly Center in the 1980’s and won a big settlement, we felt justice had been served. She promised us that the money would help parking in our area. (The money was big enough that it caused a rift between between Diana and her partner organization, the Burton Way Foundation, which thought it deserved a cut.) I began to worry, though, when no one could tell me for sure where that money went. I was told that the money would go into a community fund we could use to sue more developers later, which I know we did. She sued Rick Caruso and won a settlement. We and our lawyer, John Murdock, sued the Beverly Connection and won another settlement.
But my friends in Diana’s group (one of whom is on her board) have told me frightening rumors about where the money is actually going. Most troublesome, though, Diana does not stop at suing big developers. She has started to send her sergeants off to kill every local restaurant I (and my tenants) love, and I do not understand why. She killed Doughboys. She killed Boule. She tried to kill Jones on Third, the Little Door and many others. She and the BWHA are completely out of control. I believe that she started out really wanting to protect this community where she (and I and many of her supporters) grew up. But power and money have gone to her head and now I believe she is dangerous.
Years ago, she used a rather intense but intelligent woman as her sergeant, but then the two had a personal falling out over a trifling issue. She then used a very strange man who did not seem to deliver the goods for her. Now she is using a bulldog named Bob Cherno who seems puts on a reasonable face that hides one of the most vicious, mean and sociopathic people I have ever met. I cannot be associated with people like this.
When I first joined the BWHA, I believed I was joining the fight against people and companies who would just as soon ruin our neighborhood. But over the years, it has become clear to me that the changes in BWHA itself are the worst things that have ever happened to our community.
Now, the BWHA’s board (with the exception of a few remaining good people) are the worst kind of angry, hateful, self-interested people (to be fair, some are simply paranoid bordering on delusional). I realize now how very destructive, divisive and pointless the BWHA has become. I want my neighborhood back. I want to expose this group for what really goes on behind closed doors (however good their intentions may have been when they started out). And I want to stop Diana and her bulldogs from tearing up my neighborhood.

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