2017 L.A. Streetsies: Vote for Elected Official of the Year
The fires of 2017 are nearly over and that means that it is time to vote for the 2017 Streetsie awards!
Longtime readers probably know the drill. This year there are five categories: Elected Official, Civil Servant, Media/Journalism, Advocacy – Individual, and Advocacy – Group. Voting starts this week and will close on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at noon. Reader voting accounts for one half of the scoring this year, with one quarter going to SBLA staff voting, and another quarter going to a SBLA steering committee vote.
Below are details on all the elected official Streetsie nominees:
Laura Friedman – It is still early in the tenure of State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, but she is already showing impressive leadership. Friedman represents California’s 43rd District including Glendale, Burbank, and parts of Los Angeles. As a Glendale City Councilmember, Friedman biked to City Hall and supported walk and bike initiatives. In Sacramento, Friedman has continued to push for active transportation, including a new L.A. River bike-ped bridge. Her statements on the 710 Freeway and the S.B. 1 gas tax are spot on, showing that she gets induced travel. She attended the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany and is also responding to 2017’s much needed #MeToo #WeSaidEnough uprising, leading efforts to retool Sacramento’s laws and processes on harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Mar Vista Community Council – With 2017’s westside driver backlash causing some elected officials to backpedal and others to cautiously tread status quo waters, some of the more impressive leadership has come from the city’s elected neighborhood councils. The Mar Vista Community Council was instrumental in the extensive community outreach efforts to plan and implement the Venice Boulevard Great Streets project, which includes a road diet, mid-block pedestrian crossings, and protected bike lanes. When the project came under fire for slowing drivers down, the Mar Vista Community Council supported keeping the improvements in place. They endured multiple meetings where crowds of project opponents and supporters had their say. Thanks to the council’s courage and perseverance, the Venice improvements have remained in place, and data is showing that the changes have made Mar Vista safer. (Note: SBLA founder and nonprofit director Damien Newton serves on the 13-person MVCC board. He modestly requested that MVCC not be included among this year’s Streetsie nominees. His request was ignored.)
Mid-City West Community Council – One of the city’s neighborhood councils that most consistently pushes for greater walkability, bikeability, livability, and safety is the Mid-City West Community Council. For several years, the council has organized and funded temporary Park(ing) Day sites, sometimes tied to campaigns for longer-lasting changes. The Mid-City West council has worked with the city and with other community groups to lay the groundwork for much-needed road diet safety improvements on 6th Street. Though the project was, under dubious pretenses, scuttled by City Councilmember David Ryu recently, the council has pledged to continue to push for the safety improvements.
Miguel Santiago – Was there any more welcome news in 2017 than the long-needed revision of crusty old 1980s crosswalk regulations? Lately those outdated gotcha laws have been responsible for 4,000-plus LAPD fish-in-a-barrel pedestrian sting tickets every year, primarily outside Metro stations in central L.A. State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago spearheaded A.B. 390, which allows pedestrians to legally enter crosswalks during countdown phases. A.B. 390 goes into effect on January 1. Santiago represents California’s 53rd District, including Boyle Heights, downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Pico Union, and Huntington Park. Santiago has been great on many other important issues, including housing, education, and climate change.
Honorable Mentions: L.A. City Councilmember Nury Martinez has been an important Transportation Committee voice, including strong support for Vision Zero. Congratulations to Bike SGV leader David Diaz Avelar for being elected to the El Monte Union High School District Board of Trustees. L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas played the lead role in the county’s move to take back blighted lots at Vermont/Manchester. Beverly Hills City Councilmember Lili Bosse showed key leadership in the city’s approval of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. SBLA just honored L.A. City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and José Huizar in 2016, so this year they just get a mention – for key leadership on Mar Vista Venice Blvd great streets improvements and the recently-approved Affordable Housing Linkage Fee.
Past Winners: Councilmember Mike Bonin and Councilmembers Huizar and Harris-Dawson, Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Councilmember Huizar, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor, Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl