I've always known that there are limits to celebrity in the world of urban planning. You write a book or two, people get to know your name, they ask you to come and give a speech, you make ‘em laugh, and maybe – maybe – they'll give you a couple of bucks for showing up. In a small professional field where nobody's very rich, that's the best you can hope for.

In other words, people might know who you are, but you're not really a star.

Which is kind of a problem when the professional planners decide to have a conference in a place where you can find real stars – Hollywood.

This fall, California planners will converge on Hollywood for their annual and apparently not-very-star-studded event. But it seems as if they are having a tough time figuring out who the headliners should be.

In a YouTube video uploaded by the conference organizers – intended to be a parody of "The Office" – a group of nerdy planners are depicted sitting around a conference table discussing which "stars" to invite.

One nerd suggests inviting me, since I'm apparently a star in the pint-sized constellation of California planning.

Another nerd says he never heard of me and suggests William Shatner instead.

William Shatner over me?

I'm not hurt by this. Honest. But it does raise the question of who planners in California really want to hear – or should want to hear – when they gather together in Hollywood. After all, nowhere else on the planet do planning and celebrity collide in quite the same way.

You might want Shatner as your keynote, for example, but you definitely want George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, on your transportation breakout session. He was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley many years ago to serve on the board of the Regional Transit District, the predecessor to L.A. Metro. (Because he was a … transportation expert?)

And while you're at it, you might want to pick up 88-year-old Ray Bradbury for the urban design breakout, because he grew up skateboarding just outside the Paramount gate and has spent the past several decades talking about what the urban future of Los Angeles might be like. (Because he's an expert on … cities that don't exist? Now that's the kind of speaker planners need to hear!)

But even these huge stars fade in the firmament of Hollywood when compared with the most obvious candidate for keynote speaker at the fall conference: that eminent land-use expert Angelyne.

Okay, Angelyne – blonde and comically buxom -- is really better known as a real estate investor. She invests in Hollywood billboards advertising herself, thereby making her a celebrity whose main claim to fame is making herself a celebrity. That alone ought to qualify her as a keynote speaker at any conference in Hollywood.

Traditionally, Angelyne hasn't flaunted her land-use knowledge. But all that changed recently when no less than the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency turned her life upside down.

For several years, the CRA has been working with Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital Corp. on a $600 million redevelopment project at the Hollywood & Vine Red Line station. And in order to build the W Hotel as part of the project, the wrecking ball came down on … the building on Selma Avenue where Angelyne had her mailbox. The mailbox where everybody writes her fan letters and from which she sells the trinkets that pay her bills.

Well, Angelyne raised a stink, saying it would cost 400 grand to reprint her letterhead. And because Angelyne is famous for being famous, her stink got some ink in the local press. The end result was a deal in which Gatehouse will allow Angelyne to continue receiving mail at the same address … even though it will now be the W Hotel. She's also getting money.

All of which suggests that maybe Angelyne is smarter than she looks. Which, frankly, I always thought was a prerequisite for being a keynote speaker.

So go ahead, push me out of the way and replace me with a buxom blonde. If that's the way those nerdy planners want it, fine. Everybody knows Hollywood is a brutal place.

-- Bill Fulton