2017 Mayoral Candidate Report Card: David “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg

Primary Election day: Tuesday, March 7, 7am-8pm
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Vision for Livable Communities: F
Prioritization of Safety: C
Commitment to Equity: F
Commitment to Collaboration: F
Overall Bike The Vote LA Grade: F

For anyone involved in L.A. local politics, City Hall gadfly David Saltsburg, a.k.a. “Zuma Dogg,” is a familiar face and voice for his non-sequitur and profane outbursts during public comment at City Council meetings. We appreciate his response to our questionnaire from the perspective of someone who has commuted by bike on L.A.’s difficult streets, but Zuma Dogg doesn’t have the knowledge, perspective, or temperament to be considered a serious candidate to lead Los Angeles.

(See below for Zuma Dogg’s response to Bike The Vote L.A.)

1. In 2015, Los Angeles approved Mobility Plan 2035, the first update to the Transportation Element of its General Plan since 1999. Mobility Plan 2035 puts “safety first” in transportation decisions, and provides a vision for a transportation system composed of safe and quality transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and automotive options. How would you like to see this Plan implemented, and how do you envision Los Angeles’ transportation system in 2022 at the end of the next Mayoral term?

My main concern, as a biker, myself, is; drivers making turns, who do not give a final look before pulling away; as biker with right of way, is coming through. I spent over six years, as bike/bus only in L.A. Never had a problem biking along side of road, with or without a bike lane. It’s cars who don’t stop for bikers, with a bike lane or not that have hit me, multiple times.

2. How can Los Angeles catch up to peer cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle in terms of quality of roadway infrastructure and bicycle-friendliness?

We can’t catch up. L.A. is very different, geographically, to begin with; and we will never be able to change that. But, we can continually improve our own roadway infrastructure.

3. On August 24, 2015, Mayor Garcetti signed Executive Directive 10, setting ‘Vision Zero’ as a policy for Los Angeles, with the goal of eliminating traffic-related deaths within 10 years. In order to meet this goal, LADOT identified a “High Injury Network” to prioritize safety improvements on L.A.’s most dangerous streets. However, after a year and a half, we have seen very little concrete action to reduce transportation-related deaths on City streets. What do you see as the critical hurdles for improving safety on Los Angeles streets, and how would you work to address these impediments in reducing speeding in order to save lives?

The city can’t tie it’s own shoelaces, because there is no quality management at L.A. City Hall. Those who have followed my campaign, and overall activism at city hall over past decade know that my number one goal as mayor; on day one; is to implement the 14 points of quality and productivity; that many of you know about. You can make all the demands and even turn them into plans. But, then; how do you achieve any of these goals when the system to achieve any and all goals is broken to the point where there isn’t even really a system. It’s called leadership; and it’s something we haven’t seen at city hall in a long time. Read my 14 point plan on my website.

4. In 2011 the City of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan identifying a network of bike lanes to make bicycle commuting a safe and comfortable commuting option. However, after most easy-to-install bike lanes were implemented, the City largely stopped pursuing reconfigurations of roads to accommodate bike lanes on streets where the number of travel lanes might be affected. Since Mayor Garcetti took office, implemented bike lane miles have plummeted from 251 in FY2013-14 and 120 in FY2014-15 to 38 in FY2014-15 and a mere 17 in FY2015-16. Do you see a network of bicycle infrastructure as an important component to making Los Angeles a bike-friendly city? If so, what will your administration do within the next Mayoral term to accelerate the development of a comprehensive network of bike lanes in Los Angeles?

if L.A. is to be a bike friendly city; then more needs to be done. A lot more. Based on these questions, it seems like the main problem is a messed up, inefficient, wasteful system; of do nothingness. To accelerate the goals you mention; it takes the will and intent of the mayor; and then council – and again, we must implement quality and productivity (14 points) at city hall. I think the bike community is seeing that. AND, I am very big on an education campaign (bus signs/public service ads) – reminding drivers that they have to stop for bikers in intersections; and it’s not a movie stunt scene to try and clear the biker, without hitting them. I will be that spokesperson, as mayor; or simply as Zuma Dogg, if you want me to do it.

5. Much emphasis in transportation engineering has been placed in recent years on protected bike lanes and protected intersections. New York City began installing modern parking-protected bicycle lanes in 2007. Los Angeles has started to follow suit, installing short stretches of protected bike lanes in the 2nd Street Tunnel, on Reseda Blvd, on westbound Venice Blvd, on Los Angeles Street, and on southbound Van Nuys Blvd. But with many of these installations limited to ½-mile segments, separated by many miles across a large city, and no protected intersections implemented in Los Angeles; they hardly represent a viable backbone to support bicycle commuting for all ages and skill levels. How do you plan to implement the protected bike lane network envisioned in Mobility Plan 2035, seeing as so far only about 1.1 lane miles of the 300 planned lane miles have been been built in the year and a half since the Plan was adopted? When can Angelenos expect to rely on a system of protected bike lanes to get them around Los Angeles, as commuters now do in New York and Chicago?

The same response, as above, applies here; but I must say; bikers cannot expect L.A. to be the bikers utopia we’d like. The city is a car city, more than any of these other cities mentioned. The streets were not designed to be a bike city. We’re trying to jam a square peg. The city doesn’t have a magic wand. I do believe that city hall wants L.A. to add as many bike lanes, as possible; if for no other reason than to make driving traffic so bad; people take mass transit. They even publicly say so. So, when they do part of a bike lane…then some is exposed without a lane; then back to a lane…we as bikers (and again, though I have a car, now; too; just went over six years without a car, in L.A., and only got a car this past year. So, I spent past six or seven years on bike only. But, I’m not an unrealistic, nutty crybaby, either. And, I remind you, I’ve been hit by cars several times on my bike.

6. A 2014 report by the L.A. Times noted a rise in hit & run crimes against people on bikes in Los Angeles. What action will your administration take – both at the local level and in working with State legislators – to reduce hit & run crimes?

The start is an education campaign. Everyone knows what happens when you are caught drinking and driving. Or, these days;  people know you don’t leave pets in unattended cars, due to heat. We need an education campaign, and a huge on on radio/tv/newspaper/billboards about watching for bikers – and if you hit and run; it’s as big a crime as hitting a vehicle driver.

7. Bike share systems have been implemented across Los Angeles, but as systems expand to different areas of Los Angeles and neighboring cities, experts foresee three major obstacles: stations that are discontinuous/too far apart, stations with unsafe walking conditions that limit access, and systems that are out of reach for low-income residents. What areas would you like to see bike share expanded to within Los Angeles, and what should the City be doing to make these systems more accessible, affordable, and useful to all Angelenos?

It’s not going to be more affordable. It’s gonna be an expensive, rip-off from a price standpoint. it’s like saying, “how will you make popcorn and drinks at movie theater more affordable for low-income residents. It’s not the same as public transportation, yet. Just a tourist thing. If they are all discontinuous; that’s because departments and agencies don’t have a quality and productivity plan (like a flow chart) to make things work together. Clearly, needs to be one, citywide system; that is continuous for the user.

Darn, forgot to mention huge peeve of mine: city needs to issue notice; then enforce for Uber/Lyft drivers who use bike lanes as valet zones. Ive made my presence felt w these drivers, many times; while biking around them, into traffic. But, im running for mayor; so wont say HOW i make my presence felt. 😉