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A Livable Streets Look at Tomorrow’s Council Election in CD6 (with video)

Do you live in the orange, green or yellow areas on this map? If so, you have an election tomorrow. Map:Council District 6

(Matt Tinoco’s been interning with us this summer, mostly producing and booking the Streetsblog Summer Series of broadcasts on our YouTube channel, SoCalStreets Tube. We’re also sharing him with LAist, where he’s been writing a series on “Metro Adventures.” Matt is attending USC, and has a bright future. We’re happy to have his help this summer. – DN)

Tomorrow’s runoff election in Council District 6 should be the last election in the city of Los Angeles for at least a little while. Streetsblog Los Angeles has interviewed both Cindy Montañez and Nury Martinez, the candidates contending for the San Fernando Valley (Valley) seat, about the transportation and livable streets issues  within the district’s borders. Each interview is presently archived to the SoCal StreetsTube channel on YouTube where they may be viewed any time.

Montañez previously served as both a Council Member and Mayor in the city of San Fernando, adjacent Los Angeles CD6 and a term in the California State Legislature. In Sacramento, she successfully pursued legislation that promotes healthy school environments. As Mayor of San Fernando, Montañez pushed for the development of two parks, and a new public library.

Nury Martinez is presently serving an elected term as a member representing the central and northeast Valley on the Los Angeles Unified School Board.  In addition to her work as a school-board member, Martinez has also worked to improve the Livable Streets situation in the Northeast Valley. As the director of Pacoima Beautiful, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocating for a more walkable and bikeable Pacoima, Martinez engaged the community to create a plan that develops the Pacoima Wash into public open space.

Pacoima Beautiful received L.A. County Department of Public Health’s Policies for Livable and Active Communities and Environments Grant in 2011. Streetsblog L.A. covered the Livable Streets program at Pacoima Beautiful as part of our 2011 Annenberg School of Journalism Fellowship on the PLACE Grants.

Montañez’s interview reveals that she believes in integrating the developments occurring around the city into Council District 6. Montañez wants to expand public-transit access throughout the district, as well as promoting multi-modal transit in general. While recognizing the challenges in the district, Montañez provided little commentary on the lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods throughout the district, instead pivoting to a more general pitch about improving access to more transportation options in the district.

Martinez’s interview reveals a similar end goal as Montañez’s; promoting more public resources to help people get around the city. But Martinez’s answers to the same questions reveals a greater understanding of the issues facing the district.

When asked about the East San Fernando Valley Corridor, Montañez acknowledged the existence of different plans (BRT or LRT) and the various aspects of planning around two of them. Martinez answered similarly, but also advocates for the combination of the East San Fernando Valley and Sepulveda Pass corridors into one project so as to further understand the implications of a massive north-south transit project in Los Angeles.

Each candidate also speaks to positive past experiences with CicLAvia, and how they both want to see the event take from in the San Fernando Valley, most likely along Van Nuys or Sepulveda Boulevards. Read more…

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Full Audio from Streetsblog’s Interviews with the Mayoral Candidates

For those of you that can’t get enough of our Mayoral Candidate Interview Series, we bring you the nearly unedited audio from our interview with each of the five candidates. Each interview went on for roughly ten minutes, but Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin edited them down so that just the answers to the questions made it into the final cut. However, for anyone that wants to listen to the entire interview, all five can be found below.

Emanuel Pleitez*

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Eric Garcetti

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Jan Perry

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Kevin James

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Wendy Greuel

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* – There were slight edits to this video as a result of starting questions over after noise interruptions.

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The Mayoral Candidate Video Series: Wendy Greuel

Filmed, directed, and edited by Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin
Produced by Damien Newton for Streetsblog Los Angeles
Questions from: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Occidental College UEPI, Southern California Transit Advocates and Streetsblog Los Angeles.
Previous Video: Emanuel Pleitez Kevin JamesJan Perry, Eric Garcetti or see all the films together.

All good things must come to an end, and sadly there are only five major candidates running for Mayor of Los Angeles. Sadly, this is the last of our video series, although you can watch any of the videos at any time at the links above.

We met Wendy Greuel at her newly opened office in Studio City just last Saturday. Our cameras captured images of Greuel interacting with staff and volunteers as she visited the office on its first day before we began our conversation.

As with Garcetti, Greuel pointed repeatedly to her record. Garcetti pointed to a number of interesting projects in his district as proof of his Livable Streets credentials, but Greuel pointed at her policy victories as Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee. Wilshire Bus Only Lanes? Those moved through the committee when she chaired it. The Bike Plan? She was one of the first voices urging Planning and LADOT to take cyclists complaints on early drafts more seriously.

In this video, she endorses keeping fares low for students and seniors, building 40 miles of new bicycle projects every year, and expanding the bus only lanes program. Perhaps most impressively, she calls building a complete streets program “one of her top priorities as mayor.”

For cyclists, she has what is perhaps the best quote of any of the candidates, “The residents and the drivers of Los Angeles need to understand; it’s the dawn of a new day.”

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The Mayoral Candidate Video Series: Eric Garcetti

Filmed, directed, and edited by Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin
Produced by Damien Newton for Streetsblog Los Angeles
Questions from: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Occidental College UEPI, Southern California Transit Advocates and Streetsblog Los Angeles.
Previous Video: Emanuel Pleitez Kevin James, Jan Perry

Of all five of the candidate interviews Streetsblog conducted, the one with Eric Garcetti was possibly the most fun. For starters, he chose a park as the film location, so kids were playing in the background as the camera rolls. Second, he kept pitching us stories throughout the interview.

But if course it’s the content, not the tone, that matters most.

Garcetti pledged to make sure his Metro Board appointees actually ride Metro and ties the ability of the agency to keep fares at their current rate (or even target reductions) to the overall economy. As we saw with Pleitez, Garcetti wants to see L.A. become a gold level bike friendly city.

But Garcetti’s most interesting answer comes when asked about updating the city’s zoning laws, something the city will undertake for the first time since 1946.

“I think we have the worst of both worlds here in Los Angeles right now. Projects that are embraced by a community, it still takes way too long to get them done. Projects that aren’t embraced by a neighborhood, nobody knows how to track them or how to speak out and be heard, or how to make sure that they don’t happen.”

 

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The Mayoral Candidate Video Series: Jan Perry

Filmed, directed, and edited by Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin
Produced by Damien Newton for Streetsblog Los Angeles
Questions from: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Occidental College UEPI, Southern California Transit Advocates and Streetsblog Los Angeles.
Previous Video: Emanuel Pleitez , Kevin James

“This is a perfect example of my vision of Los Angeles, because you’ll be able to live in the city and not need a car.”

Council Woman Jan Perry’s video interview with Streetsblog stands out with us for a couple of reasons. She is the only candidate to “pledge” to fight to keep transit fares where they are. She talks about providing transit for the car-free as a highest priority. But what stands out most is her choice for time and place for the interview.

Perry chose the Flower Street Expo Station at night. During the interview trains whisked past, commuters smiled and sometimes waived at Perry, providing a contrast with the car horns that sounded support for James and Pleitez earlier.

The station, and the surrounding area, the surrounding Transit Oriented Development and the pedestrian walkways that provide access on both sides, are projects she fought for as City Council Member and Expo Construction Authority Board Member.

While Perry stopped short of specific projects she would endorse, she instead presented a vision for Los Angeles, a vision represented by the Expo Station and all that we could see from the platform, a vision of a city where people could move freely throughout whether they chose to have a car or not.

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The Mayoral Candidate Interview Series: Kevin James


Filmed, directed, and edited by Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin
Produced by Damien Newton for Streetsblog Los Angeles
Questions from: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Occidental College UEPI, Southern California Transit Advocates and Streetsblog Los Angeles.
Previous Video: Emanuel Pleitez 

Following our interview with Emanuel Pleitez, Streetsblog L.A. visited Kevin James at his campaign headquarters on Ventura Boulevard. We interviewed James right on the street.

James sprinkled his support for better transit, bicycling and walking with some specifics. He stated a clear priority for completing rail access to LAX, a Crenshaw Line with a station at Leimert Park, and finishing the Westside Subway. James also notes that previous bike plans have gathered dust or had very partial implementation… so, if L.A. wants to move up the bike friendly city hierarchy it’s going to have to actually implement the plans it has.

One of the differences between James and the other interviews is his emphasis on how money put in the city’s special parking revenue fund aren’t being used to improve the community where they come from or the transportation infrastructure in Los Angeles. A little Shoupian theory from the only Republican in the field? We’re not in New York.

The primary election is March 5. Assuming there is a runoff, it will be held on May 21. For more information on our film series, see this post announcing the series from last Friday.

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The Mayoral Candidate Interview Series: Emanuel Pleitez

Filmed, directed, and edited by Shireen Alihaji and Kris Fortin
Produced by Damien Newton for Streetsblog Los Angeles
Questions from: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Occidental College UEPI, Southern California Transit Advocates and Streetsblog Los Angeles.

Streetsblog L.A. is proud to kick off our interview series with the five leading candidates to be Mayor of Los Angeles.

The first candidate to grant our interview request was Emanuel Pleitez. While each of the candidates gave similar answers to questions (sorry, nobody wanted to paint over bike lanes or increase Metro fares), there are variations.

In the above video, Pleitez discusses transit, walking, bicycling and all transportation modes as not just an economic or community health issue, but also as an equity issue. He’s also the only candidate to use the term “cycletrack.”

The primary election is March 5. Assuming there is a runoff, it will be held on May 21. For more information on our film series, see this post announcing the series from last Friday.