Streetscast: Audio from the Streetsblog Interview with Mike Bonin
At long last, you can listen to (nearly) the entire interview with City Council Transportation Committee Chair Mike Bonin. Sorry it took so long to get together, my attempts to edit out some of the background noise and make Bonin’s voice louder than my own took some time. You can read the two stories generated by the interview, “Mike Bonin Focuses on Listening to Build New Transportation Coalition in Los Angeles” and “Bonin Ready to Work on Transportation Problems Throughout L.A.’s Westside.”
In this portion of the interview, we discuss what projects are on tap in the district and what ones ought to move forward. It’s not the most information packed piece, the Council Member is holding his fire on local projects until he has a chance to do some more listening. However, you can tell he’s serious about road diets, he half-joked that we need to put one on every north-south street on the Westside.
The easiest way for a politician to earn my love is to fight projects that I really hate that waste a lot of money. Sadly, there’s no time to fight the 405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project, if the project were completed on time it would already be done. It’s still nice to hear a politician say it was a waste of time and money.
But better than that, Bonin has a better solution. Metro should push for a North-South connector from the San Fernando Valley to LAX. It’s a plan on the books and ought to be completed by my retirement party.
At the 1:37 mark you can hear Mike bad mouth the I-405 project. About a minute later you can hear us compare having children to doing a cleanse.
At 5:28 you can hear me describe an aggressive schedule to publish the interviews that I clearly didn’t make.
First, we talk about how to mitigate major developments’ impact on the transportation network. This part on mitigation is probably of interest to our planners and transportation wonks. This is the first time I’ve heard a major political player talk about changing our traffic mitigation fees.
But I loved hearing his obvious real-life enthusiasm for Expo. Bonin talked about the project as though he were a long-time advocate of the project, talking about the aesthetics of construction as well as the benefits to the community. It wasn’t something you would hear from a lot of Metro Directors when talking about a transit line.
The Expo conversation starts at about the 5:20 part.
It’s no secret I’m a fan of Bill Rosendahl, but I was always puzzled about his animosity against the City of Santa Monica. I’m guessing the fight over the Santa Monica Airport is part of it. Bonin is starting to mend those relationship with his work on Expo and the Expo Bike Path.
For those of you looking to scroll ahead, just before the four minute mark, we joke about Antonio Villaraigosa moving to the district and whether or not he’s already getting constituent complaints. Following a short vacation, Villaraigosa moved to Venice
But then we take a serious talk about how to use constituents, “especially those in the north part of the district” to lobby their “friends” from other states for whom they write big checks. Some of those friends should be supporting more transportation funding for projects in Los Angeles.
At this point, we’re getting into a larger discussion of style, and less one of substance. But for the leader of an important City Council Committee, style is important. Bonin really emphasizes both his focus on listening and hearing what people have to say and his ability to mend fences. The true story of Fred Sutton, one of Bonin’s rivals for the election, joining his campaign team shows a City Council Member that is more about the big picture than just his career aspirations.
Because what audio interview would be complete without some meta-commentary.