New Petition: Mayor Villaraigosa, We Need a National Seach for LADOT GM

Who’s going to replace Rita Robinson as head of LADOT?

The question has been a hot one with transportation reformers and other city hall watchers but has failed to gain a lot of traction with the general public.  Maybe it’s because the house money is that the new G.M. will be a local hire and not a game changer.  Maybe its because Robinson doesn’t have the star power that Janette Sadik-Kahn has in New York or Gabe Klein has in Washington, D.C. and people just don’t care who replaces her.

But neither of those reasons are good enough to think that whoever is running the transportation agency for the “largest city, in the biggest state in the most powerful country in the world” couldn’t make a major impact, even if the next mayor doesn’t bring them back.  For that reason, a group of advocates called Livable Los Angeles have started a petition asking the Mayor to not limit his sites to local talent, but to consider candidates from across the country.

No offense to anyone already laboring at LADOT, but rarely do game changers come from within.

You can read and sign the petition at I-Petition.

(Full disclosure: Yup, I’m part of LLA.)

  • Watchin the Wheels

    “For that reason, a group of advocates called Livable Los Angeles have started a petition asking the Mayor to not limit his sites to local talent, but to consider candidates from across the country.”

    LLA, for your consideration, the last two outside hires into the LADOT General Manager position were Wayne Tanda and Gloria Jeff. Would you describe them as “game changers?” My point is that the outside candidate is not always the solution, just as the inside candidate is not always the problem.

  • Chris L

    Thank you for putting this together, Damien. LADOT needs a game changing GM far more than NYCDOT or DDOT ever did. The time is now to make livable streets a reality in LA, and to do that we need visionary leadership. The status quo just isn’t cutting it.

  • Gloria Jeff got “her fat ass thrown out” as one staffer told me. She was supposed to make it rain federal dollars for LA’s highway projects.

    I think it’s cool if we stick with either of the Sith Lord or the Apprentice, as long as there is a chain of accountability and an honest desire to shift from auto-only to truly embrace multimodal road design and planning (yes, actual long term transportation planning! Can you imagine it LADOT?).

  • Sorry, Sith Lord = John Fisher

    Apprentice = Sedadi

    I’ve seen Sedadi in action and I’ve been impressed at how pissed off I get when I see the projects he’s worked on, but perhaps I haven’t been up on things.

  • DCDem

    Well, Gabe Klein will be available come January. I don’t look for him to be reappointed in D.C.

    He resume’ reads like a glorified street food vender vs. a chief engineer or infrastructure genius. But it you guys want him, send him an inquiry.

    Dr. Jeff is now here in D.C. I heard she and the LA Mayor didn’t get along very well.

  • Chris L


    I lived in the District up until January and have met Gabe Klein on several occasions. Where where I sit, it looks like Gabe Klein:

    1. Brought real bike sharing to DC, scrapping that crap ClearChannel System and rolling out a real 1000+ bike Bixi system.

    2. Expanding the DC Streetcar plan from 1.5 miles of track in an empty corner of Anacostia into a 36-mile, city wide plan that covers some major gaps in Metro, and getting the city to commit to a much greater investment.

    3. Got DDOT to finally take bike infrastructure seriously. In the past year alone look at what’s been added: seperated bike lanes on 15th St, Bike lanes down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue, DC’s first bike signal, and the nicest bike parking facility in the nation. Under Gabe Klein’s tenure, DC became a city that people talk about in the same breath as Portland and NYC with respect to bike infrastructure.

    I would KILL to have someone like Gabe Klein at the helm of LADOT. JSK would be even better, but Klein GETS IT, and probably reads Streetsblog for that matter. That’s good enough for me.

    Maybe while he’s at it, he could convince his buddies at ZipCar to rethink their strategy of all but abandoning LA.

  • Contrarian

    Gabe Klein isn’t “all that.” Bike infrastructure was taken seriously before Klein, primarily due to uber-staffer Jim Sebastian. Bike infrastructure doesn’t get the 19% unemployed in SE to work. Yes, streetcar is moving forward but doesn’t have long-term capital funding in place and operating funds will be an interesting shell game. Internally the agency is a mess between the infrastructure, planning and operations administration fiefdoms. And no one there knows the financial aspects like Dan Tangherlini did. If you want a winner, talk Tangherlini out of his Obama administration Treasury job.

    P.S. Gloria Jeff works for Klein now so she must have some value for him.

  • FRosenburg

    Los Angeles has one the most complex highway and street systems in the country, and an outsider who is unfamiliar with the territory would be at a disadvantage. This is perhaps why the past few GM’s haven’t made much progress. Fisher and Sedadi seem like much better options at this point. I understand that considerations for bike riders, etc. need to be made but any LADOT GM has to work with a city that was not constructed with a pedestrian/cyclist friendly agenda in mind. Drivers complain that cyclists take up too much space and further clog traffic while cyclists complain that the LA streets are not accommodating. Since BOTH complaints are valid we need to stop throwing around names (such as likening anyone to an evil Star Wars character), take a breath, and realize that the department has to try and undo what “damage” has been done decades ago when these streets were constructed. Personally, I think Fisher should be considered for GM: he’s been overlooked time and again for all these outside hires who haven’t done much if anything.


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