2015 PRIMARIES BIKE-FRIENDLY SLATE CARD:
(see below for summaries)
- L.A. CD4 – Tomás O’Grady, Carolyn Ramsay, Sheila Irani, Steve Veres
- L.A. CD6 – Nury Martinez
- L.A. CD8 – Marqueece Harris-Dawson
- L.A. CD12 – Mitch Englander
- L.A. CD14 – José Huizar, Nadine Diaz
- West Hollywood City Council (pick 3) – John Heilman, Lindsey Horvath, Joe Guardarrama, Tristan Schukraft, John D’Amico, Matt Ralston, James “Duke” Mason
- Burbank City Council (pick 2) – Will Rogers, Sharon Springer, Christopher Rizzotti, Emily Gabel-Luddy
- Pasadena Mayor – Terry Tornek, Jacque Robinson, Jason Hardin
- Pasadena CD1 – Brian Biery
- Glendale City Council – Erik Yesayan
- Election Day for L.A. & West Hollywood is Tuesday, March 3rd. Polls are open 7am-8pm.
- The deadline to register to vote is 2/17. You can even register online: http://bitly.com/btvregister
- Where’s your polling place? Check lavote.net, or call 3-1-1.
- In the City of LA, Early Voting has already started at City Hall and Piper Technical Center (more info).
- City of Burbank Election Day is 2/24 (register by 2/9)
- City of Pasadena Election Day is 3/10 (register by 2/23)
- City of Glendale Election Day is 4/7 (register by 3/23)
ABOUT THIS ELECTION:
The upcoming city elections across Los Angeles County (March 3 for City of L.A.) are Primaries to determine which candidates who will move forward to a run-off (May 19 for City of L.A.). Unless a single candidate gets over 50% of the vote, the two candidates with the most votes will proceed. These local-only elections have exceptionally low voter turnout in Los Angeles, so we as advocates have a chance to have a huge influence on who gets in office. This election is a key moment to help shape how Los Angeles will – or won’t – make streets safer for people walking and bicycling. We need everyone to get out and volunteer for candidates in the next few weeks and, of course, vote on March 3rd (or February 24th in Burbank, March 10th in Pasadena & April 7th in Glendale).
Bike the Vote is made up of people who care about the future of Los Angeles. We seek to educate candidates about the importance of bicycling and walking and to support candidates who are committed to improving the safety of our streets. We invite any and everyone (except for paid staff of campaigns) to join our conversation and help make future decisions!
L.A. CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4:
In L.A.’s most competitive council race, there are 14 candidates running to fill the position previously held by bike-unfriendly councilmember, Tom LaBonge. The bad news is that a number of candidates have demonstrated a poor understanding of street safety concepts, and a couple have expressed outright anti-bike prejudice. The good news is that many candidates are becoming more versed in livable streets, and that three candidates stand out as livable streets proponents: longtime safe streets advocate, Tomás O’Grady; one of the leading fundraisers in the race, Carolyn Ramsay; and transportation-savvy candidate, Sheila Irani. Another leading fundraiser, Steve Veres, also provided a thoughtful response to LACBC’s questionnaire (link), and came out in support of the Hyperion Bridge retrofit Option 3. Nonetheless, we’d like to hear more specific comments from Veres on street safety projects.
The race is all-but-guaranteed to go to a May 19th run-off, and so the ideal outcome would be to have two of these four emerge from the primary. Each has slight advantages that make them great candidates.
Advocates in the district are well-acquainted with Tomás O’Grady, a repeat candidate for this seat who was runner-up to LaBonge in 2011, as a leader within the Vision Hyperion group. He sees a future for L.A. as a multi-modal, ‘Vision Zero’ city and has consistently and forcefully stated that he will support reallocating space away from cars to make streets safer for people bicycling and walking (link).
Among the leading pack of candidates, it is encouraging to find a livable streets platform articulated by Carolyn Ramsay, a former CD4 chief of staff. She recently joined O’Grady in taking a stand in favor of a multi-modal Hyperion Bridge, and has communicated a practical approach to building a similar consensus for road diets and other street safety projects throughout CD4. In her response to LACBC, she highlighted a focus on building protected bike lanes in the district and increasing penalties for hit & run drivers (link).
Sheila Irani has the most experience in transportation planning and emphasizes her experience working (unsuccessfully) to build consensus for bike lane projects as a former LaBonge staffer. Having someone on the Council with Irani’s pro-bike attitude and solid expertise would be a boon for safe streets advocates. Some of her responses to LACBC, however, are disappointing (example: “it is a tough sell to get bike lanes on major corridors and I do think we should keep the bike lanes to adjacent streets as much as possible”) (link). If Irani progresses to the runoff, we’d like her to clarify her stance on improving safety, mobility and access for people bicycling and walking, particularly on major corridors.
All three of these candidates are well worth your vote, though personal preference may tip the scale for you one way or the other.
L.A. CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 6:
Sitting councilmember Nury Martinez is the former executive director of Pacoima Beautiful (a pro-complete streets community organization), and is one of our best advocates on the City Council for safe mobility options. With Martinez enjoying wide support, it’s not clear yet how competitive this race will be, but she is well deserving of your vote for a safer San Fernando Valley.
L.A. CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8:
Marqueece Harris-Dawson leads the fundraising race for CD8 to replace termed-out Councilmember Bernard Parks, and thankfully is as far a departure from Parks as one could get. The former director of Community Coalition, Harris-Dawson has ground-level experience with the district, a focus on improving the lives of community youth, and a fresh, progressive perspective on improving South L.A, including support of bike lane projects (finally!).
L.A. CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 12:
Current councilmember Mitch Englander is running unopposed for CD12, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pointing out that he has been a consistent supporter of bike lanes in his district and is leading the charge for repair of streets and sidewalks across the city in a way that improves the safety of both pedestrians and people who commute by bike (link). Just recently, Englander authored a motion and worked with LAPD to create a “yellow alert” system for hit & run crimes to address Los Angeles’ hit & run epidemic (link). Englander has been a solid ally for street safety, and we look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in a second term on the Council.
L.A. CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 14:
The race for Council District 14 is a primarily a grudge match between two powerful figures: sitting Councilmember José Huizar, and termed-out former County Supervisor and all-around political power player, Gloria Molina.
Safe-streets advocates know José Huizar well as a steadfast ally who pushed for My Figueroa when it appeared to be in danger, green-lit Eagle Rock’s buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard, and supported the build-out of Downtown’s network of bike lanes. Huizar has gone further than any other candidate city-wide in making ‘complete streets’ a central component of his platform (link). His response to LACBC’s candidate questionnaire was impressive, including support for an expanded bicycle network and an ‘Yellow Alert’ system for hit & run crimes (link).
Not to be lost in the shuffle is bike-friendly candidate, Nadine Diaz, who is a cyclist herself. While polls last year showed Diaz unlikely to proceed past the March primary, she gave thoughtful responses to LACBC, including a call for stiffer penalties for the perpetrators of hit & runs (link). Her statements that there had been insufficient outreach on bike lanes in NELA, however, have been unfortunate and misinformed.
Molina, on the other hand, has been silent on street safety in this campaign, having neglected to respond to LACBC’s candidate questionnaire (in a familiar fashion to then-candidate Gil Cedillo in neighboring CD1 in 2013). We had hoped that Molina was still the same bike-friendly person who supported annual bike rides for kids in East L.A. (link) and pushed for the Rail-to-River project in South L.A. (link). But after hearing her express opposition to bike lanes installed in CD14, that mobility “isn’t just about bikes and pedestrians,” and that the Downtown renaissance has disrupted automotive access to the area during DLANC/ASNC’s candidate forum; it is clear that Molina does not have road safety interests in mind.
WEST HOLLYWOOD CITY COUNCIL: (3 SEATS)
James “Duke” Mason
The race for West Hollywood is full of a great deal of candidates who get that safe streets improve the lives of all residents, and only a couple of candidates who think that increasing motor vehicle speeds – to the detriment of everyone’s safety – is a solution for congestion. WeHoVille asked candidates a comprehensive series of transportation-related questions, which resulted in a great deal of thoughtful responses from the majority of candidates (link).
Candidates Tristan Schukraft, James “Duke” Mason, Matt Ralston, sitting Mayor John D’Amico, and Transportation Commission Chair Lindsey Horvath all call for improving walking, biking, and transit as a way to provide convenient mobility options for residents. And while they don’t address bikes specifically in their comments, Mayor Pro Tempre John Heilman & Joe Guardarrama also call for traffic calming and efficient transit options. West Hollywood residents have a great selection of candidates to ensure the city continues on its path towards safer streets. UPDATE: 10 of 12 candidates have provided responses to a questionnaire by the WeHo Bicycle Coalition showing wide support for the 2011 West Hollywood Bike Task Force’s recommendations, primarily from those noted above (link).
BURBANK CITY COUNCIL: (2 SEATS)
Walk Bike Burbank sent city council candidates a thorough questionnaire and received some great responses from some candidates, and some dreadful responses from others who clearly don’t support goals for safer streets (link). Candidates Christopher Rizzotti (link) and Emily Gabel-Luddy (link) both communicated clear and thoughtful support for safer streets, and could make great advocates on the Burbank City Council.
But responses to Walk Bike Burbank from candidates Sharon Springer and Will Rogers were exceptional in their vision for better mobility options. Sharon Springer explains that an embrace of ‘complete streets’ is the solution to congestion problems that face the district (link). Will Rogers thoughtfully rebuts the flawed logic that existing levels of bicycling don’t warrant new bike lanes, stating, “I believe it’s absolutely critical it be made clear that bicycle and other transportation projects aren’t simply intended to serve a current need, but rather are necessary to make possible the sweeping changes in our habits that are necessary to our future.” (link)
The biggest transportation issue in the Pasadena mayoral election is the 710 tunnel, which is universally opposed by all six mayoral candidates. Councilmember Terry Tornek, Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, and local magazine publisher Jason Hardin have all incorporated safety for people bicycling and walking as elements of their platforms. All three provided promising responses to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition’s candidate questionnaire (link).
PASADENA CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1:
Running to fill Jacque Robinson’s position on City Council, Brian Biery gave a thoughtful and thorough response to Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition’s questionnaire (link). Biery has made “Improving Alternate Forms of Transportation” a central issue of his platform, and supports dedicated bike lanes and complete street retrofits throughout District 1. Biery also noted that he supports a Vision Zero initiative to prioritize human life over driving convenience, making him an exceptional candidate for Northeast Pasadena.
GLENDALE CITY COUNCIL: (2 SEATS)
Former Glendale Planning Commission Chair, Erik Yesayan, is also well known in the livable streets community as the co-founder of Walk Bike Glendale. In addition to prioritizing bike safety projects, Yesayan champions walkable communities within Glendale, and supports adoption of a Pedestrian Safety Master Plan for the city (link). Yesayan would be an exceptional advocate for livability and mobility options in one of L.A. County’s more populous cities.