Streetsies 2012: People of the Year

Well, it’s time to close the books on 2012 with our last round of Streetsie Awards. As always, I have my say, and you’ll have a chance to have yours.  I always miss people, both nominees and award winners, when I do this. Leave my mistakes in the comments section

Politician of the Year:
The nominees: Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian already lost his Metrolink Board of Directors seat, allegedly over his vote to allow Measure R on the ballot, and now faces losing his Metro Board of Directors seat over his effective opposition to the I-710 Big Dig. Down in Long Beach, Suja Lowenthal has become a local spokesperson for livability issues. Supervisor Mike Antonovich has certainly made his mark opposing Measure J as Chair of the Metro Board of Directors. In the Mayor’s race, Eric Garcetti has swept up the endorsements of most major bike and pedestrian advocates while injecting livability issues into the campaign while Wendy Greuel has shined a light on waste and fraud in the city, including LADOT. In Sacramento Mike Feuer earns a nod for his tireless advocacy for Measure J and his succesfull efforts to oversee the Buy Here Pay Here industry. Senator Alan Lowenthal (now Congressman) also earns a nod for his efforts on Give Me 3. The Lowenthal’s are not related, it’s just that half the people that live in Long Beach are named Lowenthal.
Editor’s Choice: Ara Najarian 

2012 Streetsies Reader's Choice: Politician of the Year

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Staffer of the Year:
The nominees: Jaime De La Vega has been the leader of a different kind of LADOT the last year. Speaking of LADOT, Michelle Mowery has enjoyed a career renaissance as LADOT has made painting bike infrastructure a priority. Much of the best legislation that goes through City Hall is sheparded by Bill Rosendahl’s deputy Paul Backstrom. Cyclists already miss Sgt. David Krumer’s leadership on bicycle issues. Jody Litvak earns our annual praise for dealing with the outreach for the Westside Subway for Metro. While Charlie Gandy gets a lot of the press for the bike renaissance in Long Beach, Alan Crawford does a lot of the day to day work.
Editor’s Choice: Jaime De La Vega. While nobody is going to get LADOT confused with Gabe Klein’s Chicago DOT or Janette Sadik-Kahn’s NYCDOT, the change at LADOT since De La Vega took the reigns 18 months ago is dramatic and worth noting. It also marks a major change in De La Vega’s perception from “the hummer guy” to the head of a DOT that is still moving towards sustainability.

2012 Streetsies Reader's Choice: Government Worker of the Year

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Advocate of the Year:
The Nominees: John Jones of Eastside Riders already got his award for the dramatic growth of the Eastside Riders from Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility, but he’s becoming a giant in the community.  Javier Partida with Los Ryderz has had a similar impact in Watts and beyond. Maryanne Aguirre seems to pop up in half our Eastside stories for volunteer /leadership work with the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade and Corazon del Pueblo. Our own Sahra Sulaiman does a lot of work with LACBC, local bike groups and city planning that she doesn’t write about. All the great changes in Downtown for cyclists and pedestrians might not have happened without Neighborhood Council Member Valerie Watson‘s tireless work over the years.
If not this award, Darrell Clarke deserves a lifetime achievement award for his decades of advocacy for the Expo Line. Speaking of lifetime achievement awards, this might be your last chance to vote for Joe Linton. Ron Durgin proves that smart bike planning can be good advocacy at Bike Center. Roadblock isn’t just media friendly and ruggedly handsome, he also programmed the Midnight Drag Race for Wolfpack Hustle.
Editor’s Choice: Valerie Watson. I know, what’s with all the LADOT love? Watson earns the nod for her work with the Downtown Neighborhood Council. DTLA wouldn’t be the same without her.

2012 Streetsies Reader's Choice: Advocate of the Year

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12 thoughts on Streetsies 2012: People of the Year

  1. Not even an option for Antonio Villaraigosa, who has made improving transit the centerpiece of his administration? The only politician even remotely close to the national stage making a real case for more investment in transit?

    Also, I’d like to offer up the “Most Improbable Streetsie” for Lancaster, for winning an EPA sustainability reward for the redesign of Lancaster Blvd downtown. How bout some love for the High Desert! :)

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/01/case-walkability-economic-development-tool/4317/

  2. You’ve given a bio for Roadblock but have him listed as Don Ward. Isn’t that cheating? He should win automatically for that.

  3. @Daymen:disqus Ah, sorry, I didn’t realize Villaraigosa won last year… just moved here last January!

  4. Thanks for the kind thoughts but I already received this prestigious award a few years back and no need to repeat.  Glad there are so many working hard to improve mobility throughout greater LA.  I hope people vote for one of the other worthy candidates.  I did, though not saying who.  “It’s an honor just to be nominated . . . ”
    With appreciation,
    Jody Litvak

  5. On the Atlantic Cities article I debunk some of the myths of the BLVD, written by people who obviously never went there. Damien, you should take a tour out there with someone who knows the lay of the land, and actually observe things on a weekend or Friday night, which is not what it is cracked up to be. Take a train out there on a Saturday, walk around, and take a look. Yes it is the only traditional downtown in a 30 mile radius, but that is not saying much. The bikeway on Sierra Highway looks like a crowded beach compared to the BLVD.

  6. The Mayor won last year.  I am surprised based on his unscrupulous methods of running this city.  He was a huge disappointment to CD14 and then another double and triple disappointment to so many in Los Angeles.  His transit vision isn’t exactly what I would call progressive or visionary.  He seems focused on the next gig whenever I have been around him.  That’s fine but when you have projects and  hopes that he will take care of proposals, projects and transit concerns that actually will destroy neighborhoods and communities, I would say the LA residents have lost a lot during his tenure.

  7. @3f4051d0841f4c3f53bea3a5e9cb71bc:disqus it sounds like maybe you are comparing Villaraigosa to some theoretical ideal mayor. CD14 not benefiting from Gold Line extension, or Regional Connector? What is it about the transit projects the city is advancing that you don’t like?

    You can always wish for something better, but it’s important to keep sight of what you got given what the options were. Was there a candidate on the table in 2005 that would have done more for transit in LA?

  8. Dak, You are so correct with your comment about politicians. The public has every right to expect them to do their jobs, and there should be no expectation of reward for doing so, other than the satisfaction of a job well done. That is precisely why Ara Najarian is deserving of this year’s honor. Despite the multiple attempts by other politicians to silence his voice, he has continued to represent his constituents with integrity. Even when subjected to the juvenile personal attacks by some of his peers, he continues to ask the hard questions, demand transparency and protect the best interests of the public.

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