Times: City Blew it on Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race

In a land where he once stood with pride / But he'll find his way by the morning light / How will the Wolfpack survive?  2012 Wolfpack Hustle L.A. Marathon Crash Race. photo: Waltarrrrr
In a land where he once stood with pride / But he’ll find his way by the morning light / How will the Wolfpack survive? 2012 Wolfpack Hustle L.A. Marathon Crash Race. photo: flickr Waltarrrrr

The Los Angeles Times weighed in on the fire fight over the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race cancellation. While the Times pretty much treats the city’s version of events as fact, it still finds the city at fault for forcing the cancellation of a fun, low-cost event that attracted thousands of Angelenos to a safe and healthy event. For a brief history of the Hustle, visit this story on Santa Monica Next.

From the editorial:

But why was Ward notified less than a week before that he would be violating city codes? A spokesman for the Department of Public Works — which includes the Bureau of Street Services — said his agency was only informed Monday about the safety issues. The agencies raising them, he said, included the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Transportation. And it takes about 45 days to get a permit for a special event like this.

It’s a shame that city officials didn’t sit down and talk with Ward about this, oh, at least 45 days ago. Everyone has known for months that the race was coming up, and no doubt an arrangement could have been reached that would have allowed it to go forward under safe conditions and under reasonable city supervision.

I have a few quibbles with the editorial: Why focus on the race’s popularity with people out-of-town instead of the thousands of Angelenos that take part? Why not point out that neither Wolfpack Hustle or Ward barely break even on the race considering the amount of time and resources they put into it? Overall, though, the focus is correct.

There was little reason for the city to do this other than it can.

  • “Why focus on the race’s popularity with people out-of-town”

    The civic pride angle ups the ante for the city. It is partly why the marathon is a big deal by drawing competitors from all over the world. Squelching Wolfpack Hustle makes L.A. look bad on the world stage. All the attention may force the city to try and be more reasonable next year.

    It should be pointed out the city has been getting aggressive about permits over the past few years, the Sunset Junction being a prominent example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Junction_Street_Fair#Festival_closure

    Some years ago the city explored what sort of policy to have about street closures, permits for festivals etc. but the politics caused the whole thing to screech to a halt. This lack of a framework creates ambiguity which evidently some stakeholders prefer (having things handled on a per case basis via council offices). I wish the City Council would finally re-visit this. Having this done by fiat is no way to run a great city.

  • chiwan

    the Sunset Junction had to do with the organizer being a tool and racking up crazy debts he didn’t pay, among other things.

    this obviously isn’t the case in this situation.

  • My point was this seemed to be a trend. Thankfully the city has worked out a compromise so the ride will happen.

  • Bill Clinton

    If the city worked so hard to grant a last-minute permit for this fun ride, why the fuck didn’t the permit for the race get approved?

  • don ward

    There is a huge difference between running a rolling closure for a Fun mild paced ride and the resources needed to run a high speed race closure. It just wasnt possible with the limited time available. It was difficult enough to mobilize volunteers and LAPD resources to conduct the fun ride let alone attempt to resurrect the registration and chip timing infrastructure.

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