The Primary Is Over, What’s Next and What do the Results Mean?
(Note: Look for a post Friday on some exciting ways we’ll be covering the race going forward, including how you can help shape our coverage. Please feel free to leave comments, but consider this the start of our discussion of the 5/21 election, not the end of it.)
With the primary election behind us, it’s time to look ahead at what this all means for Los Angeles and the Livable Streets movement going forward. Some City Council races were decided, while others were narrowed down to just the top two vote getters. None of the top of the ticket races were finalized and Proposition A to raise more funds for city services failed.
Here’s a short breakdown on each of the races and what it means for the city’s cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and the rest of the Livable Streets community.
Despite the excitement surrounding Emanuel Pleitez, Jan Perry and Kevin James, the candidates at the top of the polls throughout the cycle emerged from the primary victorious. As expected, on May 21 it will be Garcetti v Greuel. Based on last night’s results, Garcetti has a small lead, but each candidate has a long way to go to get to 50+1% to capture the city’s top job.
Garcetti’s primary victory is already being lauded on social media by many Streetsbloggers, and with good reason. As City Councilman, Garcetti’s office took the lead in creating new open space for a park starved area of the city, pushing the city’s Sharrows program out of the political morass and onto the streets, experimenting with the Polka Dot Park on Sunset, and even backing CicLAvia. The Council Member has shown command of regional issues pushing for better transit between the Valley and the Westside, stating clearly his preference for a Constellation Avenue Station for the Westside Subway, and promising monthly CicLAvias.
Garcetti is also lauded by Livable Streets advocates as a true believer in the issues and positions often discussed on this news site. As a result, he’s appeared in more Streetfilms/Streetsblog L.A. films than any other person except myself or Joe Linton. “Who’s Streets? Our Streets!” is a chant he led at the 2008 ArtCycle event in East Hollywood. Heck, he’s even found explaining his love of CicLAvia in Spanish in our first Spanish Language Streetfilm.
Greuel certainly has less flash on transportation issues than Garcetti, but when she chaired the City Council Transportation Committee, she helped lay the groundwork for a lot of the successes and changes we’ve seen in past years. “All the stuff we talked about five years ago, it’s all happening,” she beamed at me (off camera), when we interviewed her for her Streetsblog L.A. video. Also, she’s a big fan of bike share.
But what unnerves some advocates is a lack of specifics in her transportation policy. Her statement that “The drivers and residents of Los Angeles have to realize it’s the dawn of a new day,” is certainly encouraging. But while Garcetti is willing to give specifics (I support this subway station, I support this project), Greuel’s is more a promise of support for better bicycling facilities, interconnected transit, and support for Measure R projects. Of course, there’s two and a half months until the election, so there’s plenty of time to spell out more specifics in the platform.
Four years ago many Livable Streets advocates were happy to vote against Councilman Jack Weiss’ campaign for City Attorney because of his support for the Pico-Olympic mini-highway plan or his desire to rip up traffic calming on some Westwood residential streets. However, Trutanich hasn’t done much, if anything, to change a culture in the City Attorney’s Office that traffic crime, especially hit and runs, aren’t a top priority for the department.
While many hope that Trutanich’s opponent, Asm. Miek Feuer, there hasn’t been much talk of traffic crime in this year’s debate thus far. There is good reason to put faith in Feuer, the Assemblyman who authored the legislation that led to 2008’s Measure R Transit Tax and the 2012 Measure J Sales Tax Extension, not only on the policy front but also because he is a recent victim of a traffic crash.
In the Controller’s race, Councilman Dennis Zine and Ron Galerpin will face off for the final nod.
As a Councilman, Zine’s record is somewhat mixed. He supported bike trail projects in his area, but also tried to stop the city’s anti-harassment ordinance for car drivers harassing cyclists. Of course, he also famously called 911 when Justin Bieber sped past him on the 101. No word if he was using a hands-free device.
Galerpin is something of an unknown in the Livable Streets community, although he has a strong track record of political support.
We’ll have more on the City Council races this afternoon.