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CD 5 Candidates Talk Bikes at Biking in L.A.

4_14_09_vahedi.jpg4_14_09_koretz_jewish_journal.jpgPhoto of Vahedi from Campaign.  Photo of Koretz via Jewish Journal

Someone bookmark this post, because if I don’t give Ted Rogers a Streetsie for his writing this year, especially his work tracking down the bike positions of local candidates for Biking In L.A., someone needs to call me on it.  I know Ted is too nice to do it himself.

Over at Biking In LA, Rogers has two new candidate statements on bicycling from the C.D. 5 Finalists, Paul Koretz and David Vahedi.  That we know more about the transportation positions of these candidates than perhaps any other candidates for public office in recent memory is a testament to the blogging community.  Rogers has twice pinned the candidates down on cycling issues, the Bottleneck Blog (RIP) talked transit and here at Streetsblog we compiled their views on the Pico-Olympic Proposal.  Since the election is next week, this may be the last time we hear from the two candidates.  For a full breakdown on Koretz’s and statements, head to Vahedi’sBiking In LA.

Each candidate talks about increasing police stings against unsafe drivers as an effort to push back against the crashes that are killing cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.  Vahedi also talks about the need to better fund the LAPD, while Koretz discusses that a lack of transit services lead revelers feeling as though they "have" to drive between bars or back home after a night of carousing.

Both candidates also talk about how because of the weather, L.A. should be a leading bike-city instead of a follower.  While they don’t say it by name, I’m sure both are incensed that we still haven’t seen a draft of the 2009 Bike Master Plan.  They do disagree on one point, Koretz says there are 330 sunny days in Los Angeles, while Vahedi pins the number closer to 350.

The candidates also found time to agree that the Mandeville Canyon Road Rage Doctor is a psycopath who should have the book thrown at him and that the Cyclists Bill of Rights is a good thing.

So how do the statements differ?  Vahedi talks about increasing funding for the LAPD and mentions that they need more cops on bikes.  Koretz mentions that he once participated in AIDS Life Cycle, meaning he biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

While it’s a lot easier to talk bikes than it is to promote cycling in office, each candidate’s statements are a far cry from those of the current CD-5 Councilman who likes to say that he bikes on weekends, but is scared to do so as part of his commute.

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Koretz and Vahedi Debate Transportation and More at UCLA

4_23_09_debate.jpgSince Ted Rogers has done a better job covering the CD5 Council Race than I anyway, I thought why not make it official. For the rest of his coverage, check out Biking in LA.

Call it the once and future debate.

This past Monday night, David Vahedi and Paul Koretz — the candidates running to replace Jack Weiss as council person representing L.A.’s 5th Council District — met in a debate on the UCLA campus.

Hosted by the appropriately named Bruins for Traffic Relief, the event was co-sponsored by ABC7 and Manatt Phelps & Philips, LLC, with an assist from the League of Women Voters, and mediated by ABC7’s Adrienne Alpert.

To say it started slowly would be an understatement.

The two candidates seemed more like boxers clinching in the ring for much of the event, They finally began swinging away towards the end of the hour-long debate, as Koretz accused Vahedi of accepting donations from a developer, despite his insistence to the contrary.

The gloves came off again briefly when the two questioned whether it would be possible to put the planned Expo Line crossing at Overland Avenue below grade; both favored it, noting the heavy traffic and a nearby elementary school. However, Koretz questioned whether it would be possible due to increased costs, while Vahedi insisted it could be done, noting that it was the council member’s job to protect local residents.

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Help Edit the Streetsblog Questionaire for CD5 City Council Candidates

4_14_09_vahedi.jpg4_14_09_koretz_jewish_journal.jpgPhoto of Vahedi from Campaign.  Photo of Koretz via Jewish Journal
By the time the runoff election for City Attorney and 5th District City Council are held next month, Paul Koretz and David Vahedi may be the most well vetted City Council candidates, when it comes to transportation, in the history of L.A. politics.

The Bottleneck Blog asked all six of the original candidates their views on the Expo Line and development in more general terms.  Biking in LA asked all the candidates about bike issues.  Vahedi responded.  Koretz didn't.  We also know how they both feel about the city's Pico-Olympic plan: they hate it.  On top of that, the Bruins for Traffic Relief are hosting a forum next week focusing solely on transportation issues for the candidates.

That being said, here at Streetsblog we're going to do our part to get you the information you need before election day.  Below are my draft questions for the candidates, feel free to comment:

1. We know that you are opposed to the city's Pico-Olympic plan for traffic relief because of parking concerns.  What would you like to see the city do to improve east-west mobility in the short and long term?

2. The city ran into a public relations firestorm after it raised the cost of on-street parking after little public notice and without building any public support.  What role do you see parking reform taking in providing a long-term solution to the city's transportation policy and funding?

3. DASH Service is in for drastic cuts and fare hikes in the coming years.  What, if anything, do you think the city should do to avert these cuts?

4. This year is shaping up to be a particularly deadly one for pedestrians in Los Angeles.  What can the City Council do to reduce or eliminate pedestrian crashes and fatalities?

5. If you could waive a magic wand and change one thing about transportation in and around the City of Los Angeles, what would it be?

Because we're so late in the election cycle, I'm hoping to turn around the questionaire and get it to the campaigns by Thursday evening so get your comments in quickly. 

Incidently, there has been no word back yet from either of the City Attorney Candidates.

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