Today’s the Day: Rock the Vote

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyseven/5506214085/in/photostream/##Gary Kavanaugh/Flickr##

Election Day is finally here, and half of Los Angeles’ City Council is up for re-election.  Streetsblog has covered each of the seven City Council elections and Ballot Initiative O.

Proposition O is an oil extraction tax of $1.44 per barrel.  Opponents of the tax claim it will raise gas prices at a time when gas prices are already high.  Their claims are less than-true.  First, Los Angeles’ oil makes up a small part of national oil production.  Second, most of Los Angeles’ oil is not high enough grade to be used in automobile gasoline.  Oil extracted in Los Angeles is nearly alone in not having an extraction tax of some kind.  In Texas, oil extraction gets a state and sometimes a local fee.

The most exciting races all have major implications for transportation, Smart Growth, and development.

Tom LaBonge sits on the city Transportation Committee, occasionally on the Metro Board, and programs his own series of bike rides throughout the city.  Yet, his main challenger, the 2009 Streetsie Award Winning Stephen Box has slammed LaBonge for a lack of progress on transportation issues and a lack of knowledge on basic issues.  Community activist Tomas O’Grady has also run a strong campaign and makes a runoff a high probability.  Carter Rubin covered the race for Streetsblog.

In CD 12, up in The Valley, there is a guarantee that a new Council Member will be seated because Greig Smith decided to retire rather than run for re-election.  The heir-apparent is Smith’s chief-of-staff Mitch Englander.  However, Brad Smith, Englander’s main opponent, has residents’ backs on the Wilbur Avenue Road Diet.  Another four candidates increase the chance that Englander v Smith could go to a runoff.

Yesterday we covered the race between Jose Huizar and Rudy Martinez and an interesting debate broke out in the comments section between two renowned Eastside bike advocates, Carlos Morales and Josef Bray-Ali.  If you vote in the 14th, check out our comments section before heading to the polls.

And who can forget the battle going on in South L.A. between Bernard Parks and Forescee Hogan-Rowles.  Parks, the former LAPD Chief, sits on the Transportation Committee and has been a strong backer of the Expo Line even when residents objected to the crossing policy.  A Hogan-Rowles upset is not out of the question.  The second-time candidate has the backing of Parks’ foil Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and several important unions.

In other races, Paul Krekorian faces a little-known, and sparsely funded opponent in CD2Herb Wesson and Tony Cardenas face teams of opponents, but no candidate has emerged as a major challenger.

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