2014 Streetsies: Elected Official of the Year
12:44 PM PST on December 22, 2014
It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's Streetsie voting time!
This year, we're going to spread out the Streetsie voting over a couple of weeks, with some of the voting going live today and tomorrow and some of it going live next week. Voting will close on Friday, January 2, 2015 at noon. Reader voting accounts for one-half of the scoring this year, with one-quarter going to staff voting, and another one-quarter going to a board vote.
For each category, we came up with around ten first nominees with the list being pared down to the last five "finalists" with input from the staff and board.
Without further delay, here are our nominees for elected official of the year:
Jose Huizar – Parklets, green buffered bike lanes, plazas, Bringing Broadway Back, bike corrals, and a landmark Sixth Street Bridge coming someday… while Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar certainly has not been perfect, many of the best pilot projects in Los Angeles are somewhere in the 14th District with a concentrations in Downtown Los Angeles and NELA. Some are even looking at his electoral showdown with Gloria Molina as something of a referendum on progressive transportation issues. Oh, and there’s COMPLETE STREETS DAY!
Joe Buscaino - If there is a rival to Huizar for getting progressive infrastructure implemented in an L.A. Council District, it is Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino. New bike lanes crisscross the district and road and sidewalk repair seem to be a higher priority than in some other districts. On the policy side, Buscaino has become a tireless crusader for street and sidewalk repair, even if nobody else on the Council besides Mitch Englander and maybe Mike Bonin share his enthusiasm. Buscaino might deserve a Streetsie solely for his YouTube channel. Our favorite is this video of what a car-free commute looks like from the councilmember's South Bay home to his City Hall office (if for no other reason than the terrified expression on Gil Cedillo's face in the last scene.) Other worthwhile vids defend San Pedro bike lanes against NIMBYs, honor Watts Cyclery, and show Buscaino leading a Wilmington bike tour. I mean, he even introduced a motion to clarify the city's position on Ghost Bikes.
Mike Bonin - Bonin, as Westside L.A. City Councilmember, Metro Board Member, Council Transportation Committee Chair, and Expo Construction Authority Vice-Chair, is pretty much at the center of nearly every major transportation-related decision the city makes. Sure, he got more headlines for fighting fracking and raising the minimum wage for certain employees, but for Streetsies' sake, nudging Metro on parking and active transportation funding, having an appropriately outraged response to car crashes, taking some of the sting out of Metro's fare hike, and being the most consistent voice on bicycle policy and programs are even more important. We don't have a fun video for Mike, but we did find these goofy gifs of him doing some cleanup in the district.
Mike Gatto - Assemblymember Mike Gatto has become a one-legislator army, crusading for a more just system for prosecuting hit-and-run drivers. This year Gatto introduced two new pieces of legislation, following a previously successful effort to extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-run prosecutions. One would require license suspension for hit-and-run drivers, regardless of whether someone was injured. The other would have created an AMBER-Alert-type system after a hit-and-run crash. Both pieces of legislation sailed through the legislature. Both were callously vetoed by Jerry Brown, who seems unaware that California has one of the worst records in America on hit-and-run crashes. A Streetsie win could send a message that Gatto's legislation is vitally important to Livable Streets advocates as he readies for the next session.
Mark Ridley-Thomas - Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has emerged as one of the more pro-bike and pro-walk votes on the Metro Board of Directors and the County Board of Supervisors. He has championed the Rail-to-River bikeway project, one of the most exciting projects being discussed for South L.A. While many businesses along the Crenshaw Corridor are suffering during light rail construction, Ridley-Thomas led Metro's efforts to promote the area through "Eat, Shop, Play Crenshaw" and find ways to offer assistance to those affected by the construction. But where Ridley-Thomas really shined brightest this year was his efforts to ensure that Metro's fare structure remains as affordable as possible. While unable to stop this year's hikes, Ridley-Thomas joined forces with Mayor Garcetti and then-Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to put off future fare hikes until Metro produced an exhaustive report on other unexplored or under-utilized fare sources.
Honorable Mentions: retiring County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (for Metro leadership), Assemblymembers Steven Bradford and Matt Dababneh (for Give Me 3 legislation), Assemblymember Ed Chau (for 3-bike racks on buses legislation), and Long Beach and Los Angeles Mayors Robert Garcia and Eric Garcetti (so far we like what we see, but it is too early to award.)
Past Winners: Santa Monica Mayor Pam O'Connor, Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl
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