Transpo. Not a Key Issue for Cardenas or Challengers in the Sixth

Voters in Los Angeles’ 6th Councilmanic District face a choice between Councilman Tony Cardenas, and a trio of lesser known neophytes all banking that Cardenas’s record has turned off enough voters to allow one of them to slip past the well-funded incumbent. Thus, Jaime Cordaro, David Barron, and Rich Goodman haven’t focused much on transportation and Smart Growth to tilt this San Fernando Valley District, leaving us with little to analyze other than Cardenas’ record and a couple of sentences in campaign platforms.

Incumbent City Councilman Tony Cardenas. Photo: Senator Alex Padilla

And to be honest, Cardenas doesn’t have much of a record. There have been neither any ground-breaking proposals, nor cheerleading for road capacity projects. When we do talk about issues in Cardenas’ District, Cardenas’ office is not involved or doing something a little eyerolling such as his proposal to use street furniture funds to staff his office.  What we’re left with are some bland statements about cyclists rights and a good record voting on projects in other districts.

One area where the Councilman did take center stage was the battle over taxi workers’ rights.  Cardenas co-authored the motion that gave the existing taxi franchises a five year extension of their operating contracts in return for an agreement that the taxi fleet would be “greened.”  Taxi workers were asking for a shorter contract so they could get a more fair shake from the taxi owners.  When the “Cardenas-Krekorian” motion was passed, Joe Linton wrote at Streetsblog:

Yesterday, taxi companies packed the council chambers with hundreds of supporters, mostly taxi drivers wearing purple “Respect Me” T-shirts. A couple of these drivers admitted that they were paid $100 to attend the council meeting. Taxi drivers and passengers spoke in support of the company, er, Cardenas motion.

Speaking against the motion (and in favor of a two-year extension) were environmentalists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green L.A. Coalition, and a smaller unpaid contingent of taxi drivers, represented by the Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance.

Caredenas’ biggest contributions have come from the Council floor where he’s asked some tough questions over the years.  During the Measure R debate, he was one of the first to note that the “Local Return” funds that the city would receive would partially go to fund existing programs and not to fund new ones.  This distinction was important during the debate over the “bike/ped set aside” when the LADOT tried a budget trick to reduce the funding going towards people powered movement.

More recently, he took a stand against truncating the Wilshire Bus Only Lanes, and was the only Councilman to ask the present transit experts if the BOL would work in Brentwood.

As for the challengers…

In his six point plan to improve the District, Cordaro focuses on creating an “old town Van Nuys” in the tradition of Old Town Pasadena or the NOHO District in North Hollywood.  Redeveloping an area by creating a mixed use core is a good idea, and has had success in other areas of the City and County, but Cordaro is missing a plan to pay for the redevelopment effort.  In Pasadena, it was a metered parking increase that paid for the redevelopment of Old Town.

After discussing the need to declare war on graffiti and get rid of the embattled Community Redevelopment Agency, David Barron takes time to talk about parking policy.  While his plan is a practical one for areas with multi-residential development and not a lot of off-street parking, it is basically a call to increase residential parking allotments when a room is re-purposed to increase the number of residents in a building.

Despite posing in front of a Metro sign, Goodman doesn’t address transportation issues in his platform.  Nevertheless, the full platform can be read here.

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