2014 Streetsies: Elected Official of the Year

streetsie_2014

2014 Elected Official of the Year

  • Councilmember Jose Huizar (53%, 5,047 Votes)
  • Councilmember Joe Buscaino (43%, 4,101 Votes)
  • Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (2%, 153 Votes)
  • Assemblymember Mike Gatto (1%, 113 Votes)
  • Councilmember Mike Bonin (1%, 107 Votes)

Total Voters: 9,515

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s Streetsie voting time!

This year, we’re going to spread out the Streetsie voting over a couple of weeks, with some of the voting going live today and tomorrow and some of it going live next week. Voting will close on Friday, January 2, 2015 at noon. Reader voting accounts for one-half of the scoring this year, with one-quarter going to staff voting, and another one-quarter going to a board vote.

For each category, we came up with around ten first nominees with the list being pared down to the last five “finalists” with input from the staff and board.

Without further delay, here are our nominees for elected official of the year:

Jose Huizar on a cargo bike two weekends ago in Northeast L.A. Image: ##https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t31.0-8/1540561_10205604011369547_7137894882523750458_o.jpg##Felicia Garcia/Facebook##
Jose Huizar on a cargo bike two weekends ago in Northeast L.A. Image: ##https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t31.0-8/1540561_10205604011369547_7137894882523750458_o.jpg##Felicia Garcia/Facebook##

Jose Huizar – Parkletsgreen buffered bike lanes, plazas, Bringing Broadway Backbike corrals, and a landmark Sixth Street Bridge coming someday… while Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar certainly has not been perfect, many of the best pilot projects in Los Angeles are somewhere in the 14th District with a concentrations in Downtown Los Angeles and NELA. Some are even looking at his electoral showdown with Gloria Molina as something of a referendum on progressive transportation issues. Oh, and there’s COMPLETE STREETS DAY!

Buscaino and Englander between meetings in D.C. last month. Photo via CD 15/Office of Joe Buscaino
Buscaino and Englander between meetings in D.C. last month. Photo via CD 15/Office of Joe Buscaino

Joe Buscaino – If there is a rival to Huizar for getting progressive infrastructure implemented in an L.A. Council District, it is Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino. New bike lanes crisscross the district and road and sidewalk repair seem to be a higher priority than in some other districts. On the policy side, Buscaino has become a tireless crusader for street and sidewalk repair, even if nobody else on the Council besides Mitch Englander and maybe Mike Bonin share his enthusiasm. Buscaino might deserve a Streetsie solely for his YouTube channel. Our favorite is this video of what a car-free commute looks like from the councilmember’s South Bay home to his City Hall office (if for no other reason than the terrified expression on Gil Cedillo’s face in the last scene.) Other worthwhile vids defend San Pedro bike lanes against NIMBYs, honor Watts Cyclery, and show Buscaino leading a Wilmington bike tour. I mean, he even introduced a motion to clarify the city’s position on Ghost Bikes.

Bonin bus stop
Bonin gets on the bus to talk to Damien in 2013. Photo: David Graham-Caso

Mike Bonin – Bonin, as Westside L.A. City Councilmember, Metro Board Member, Council Transportation Committee Chair, and Expo Construction Authority Vice-Chair, is pretty much at the center of nearly every major transportation-related decision the city makes. Sure, he got more headlines for fighting fracking and raising the minimum wage for certain employees, but for Streetsies’ sake, nudging Metro on parking and active transportation funding, having an appropriately outraged response to car crashes, taking some of the sting out of Metro’s fare hike, and being the most consistent voice on bicycle policy and programs are even more important. We don’t have a fun video for Mike, but we did find these goofy gifs of him doing some cleanup in the district.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto looks on as Damian Kevitt testifies to the Senate Public Safety Committee
Gatto looks on as Damian Kevitt testifies to the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Mike Gatto – Assemblymember Mike Gatto has become a one-legislator army, crusading for a more just system for prosecuting hit-and-run drivers. This year Gatto introduced two new pieces of legislation, following a previously successful effort to extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-run prosecutions. One would require license suspension for hit-and-run drivers, regardless of whether someone was injured. The other would have created an AMBER-Alert-type system after a hit-and-run crash. Both pieces of legislation sailed through the legislature. Both were callously vetoed by Jerry Brown, who seems unaware that California has one of the worst records in America on hit-and-run crashes. A Streetsie win could send a message that Gatto’s legislation is vitally important to Livable Streets advocates as he readies for the next session.

Ridley-Thomas shows off the transponders for the ExpressLanes. Image: Metro
Ridley-Thomas shows off the transponders for the ExpressLanes. Image: Metro

Mark Ridley-Thomas – Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has emerged as one of the more pro-bike and pro-walk votes on the Metro Board of Directors and the County Board of Supervisors. He has championed the Rail-to-River bikeway project, one of the most exciting projects being discussed for South L.A. While many businesses along the Crenshaw Corridor are suffering during light rail construction, Ridley-Thomas led Metro’s efforts to promote the area through “Eat, Shop, Play Crenshaw” and find ways to offer assistance to those affected by the construction. But where Ridley-Thomas really shined brightest this year was his efforts to ensure that Metro’s fare structure remains as affordable as possible. While unable to stop this year’s hikes, Ridley-Thomas joined forces with Mayor Garcetti and then-Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to put off future fare hikes until Metro produced an exhaustive report on other unexplored or under-utilized fare sources.

Honorable Mentions: retiring County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (for Metro leadership), Assemblymembers Steven Bradford and Matt Dababneh (for Give Me 3 legislation), Assemblymember Ed Chau (for 3-bike racks on buses legislation), and Long Beach and Los Angeles Mayors Robert Garcia and Eric Garcetti (so far we like what we see, but it is too early to award.)

Past Winners: Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor, Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl

  • Not so Great Street
  • Sirinya Matute

    That’s adorable

  • Sirinya Matute

    I’m really torn. Putting together this was really hard because there were so many legislators we came up with who had done a lot to advance and support sustainable streets this past year. I am a little smitten with the video CM Buscaino made to show what it was like to drive on a street that had gotten a road diet. Or this one where at minute 1:54 he curses as he dodges a motorist while on a bike, the same one he used in his epic multi-modal work commute. http://youtu.be/SIE8qO4Medo?t=1m54s.

    Good luck to all of our nominees.

  • We’re going to use different ones for whoever wins…I’ll keep this one tagged in case it’s Joe.

  • Guest

    This is my favorite video of Councilman Buscaino!

  • Branimir

    This is my favorite video of Councilman! Buscaino!http://youtu.be/vPzpaHLZu9o

  • Stephanie Cohen

    I vote for @AsmRichardBloom of the 50th Assembly District. In his first two years in the legislature he has helped to move forward regional bike share, carried legislation that assured receipt of 1.2 billion dollars in transit funding and helped craft an 870 million dollar budget for cap and trade funds. This followed 14 years on the Santa Monica City Council during which Santa Monica became one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly cities in the nation!

  • El barto

    Councilman Joe is such an awesome guy. Just in his short term in office, he has already done so much for my community of San Pedro. Hes someone that you actually see in the community, pushing hard for things to get done. The Lighting of the bridge over gaffey was awesome too!

  • I love Richard Bloom. Giving it to Santa Monica mayors two years in a row seemed like it might be a stretch…I’m sure he’ll be near the top of the list again next year.

  • Errr. So hard to choose. That’s a good thing!

  • Branimir

    Buscaino rides in Watts

  • Sirinya Matute

    I also really like this video too.

  • Sirinya Matute

    I mean, at minute 3:10, Councilmember Buscaino starts singing the chorus to the song Slide from the 90s. And he calls out the # for fixing potholes.

  • Branimir

    One thing left out of Councilman Buscaino’s credentials above is the fact that his representative in Watts is non other than John Jones III, Founder and President of the East Side Riders Bicycle Club

  • Don W

    Doesnt make sense that Gatto is trailing he has done so much. Great list, theyve all done a lot.

  • calwatch

    Don’t forget that Ridley-Thomas has been behind the expansion of The Link shuttles to cover parts of the unincorporated area unserved by transit. The Baldwin Hills Link especially has brought parkland access to people without cars. http://dpw.lacounty.gov/pdd/transit/index.cfm?id=2

  • Sirinya Matute

    Nice!

  • Sirinya Matute

    Rally up your friends. Reader input is very important but it is weighed against our director and the board. As I mentioned earlier, there were so many great people to choose from and if we didn’t nominate you this year, there is always next year.

  • LAPL BookBike

    Since we’re adding pics of Buscaino on Bikes. How about this one of hime riding the LAPL Book Bike!

  • LAPL BookBike

    Since we’re adding pics of Buscaino on Bikes. How about this one of hime riding the LAPL Book Bike!

  • If Yaroslavsky is able to get even an honorable mention out of this, then perhaps the criteria need to be re-assessed or the categroy dropped altogether.

  • Rails to River sounds wonderful, but the reality is that it killed any hope for an actual rail lonk from LAUS to LAX forever. Stop building bike trails in urban areas, America and focus on turning the exisiting stroaded avenues in the area, the ones people want to travel and shop and tarry along, back into the complete streets they once were before they were whored out to the motorist class.

  • Huizar fan

    Huizar is long overdue for a Streetsie. He is about to serve his last term as council member and if he doesn’t get a Streetsie now, who knows if he will be eligible for one again. Huizar is at the legacy point of his career as council member and boy is he shaping a legacy as a livable streets hero. Buscaino, on the other hand, has hit the ground running and there are no signs of him slowing down. Buscaino will likely be nominated again and will likely have plenty to show for it again. Give the Streetsie to Huizar, he deserves it!

  • Rick

    Mike Bonin supports Huizar – The guy’s pure class – From Bonin’s facebook post: I’m humbled and honored to be nominated for Los Angeles Streetsblog’s “Elected Officials of the Year” award for the second year in a row. While I am very proud of the work I have done on LA Metro and the City Council, I just voted for Jose Huizar, and I’m rooting for him to win. Check out Downtown LA: Jose’s successful work to get parklets, bike lanes, corrals and other bike and pedestrian amenities in his district is inspiring and has set a gold standard for how an elected official can make Los Angeles a place of true multi-modal mobility. ALL of the nominees have done great things and have helped turn LA toward a multi-modal future, and I am honored to be listed among them, but as much as I relish I good friendly competition, Jose deserves this one.

  • Don W

    Thank you Mike Gatto, Jose Huizar, and Joe Buscaino for sticking your necks out when it mattered for safe streets.

  • Caltransylvania

    Ridley Thomas?? Really? Mr. “I need to spend over a million taxpayer dollars to remodel my office in the middle of LA’s financial meltdown in 2008/2009” Ridley-Thomas? You are a fool if think this guy is not part of the problem. Vote for anybody but this guy.

  • Deborah Reres

    *chanting* JOSE! JOSE! JOSE!

  • ubrayj02

    How can one man make us keep falling in love with him again and again? Buscaino, you complete #bikeLA.

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