2017 Los Angeles CD7 Primary Endorsements: Monica Rodriguez, Fred Flores, and Jose Castillo
When former City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes stepped down last September, it left a void not only for the northern neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley, including Pacoima, Sylmar, Sunland-Tujunga, and Lake View Terrace, but also for safe streets advocacy on the City Council. Fuentes had helped to shepherd new protected bike lanes to Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima, and was noted by Los Angeles Streetsblog as having been “on the right side of every livability project he has weighed in on.”
Three candidates running to fill this open City Council seat stand out for their embrace of livable streets: public works commissioner Monica Rodriguez, community advocate Fred Flores, and real estate agent José Castillo.
Of the three, Rodriguez – an Eric Garcetti appointee to the L.A. Public Works Commission with a slew of endorsements from City Councilmembers and the Mayor himself – is running the highest-profile campaign. In her response to Bike The Vote L.A., she offered a strong endorsement of traffic calming and safety improvements such as protected bike lanes. She did, however, stop short of fully committing to safety as a top priority, focusing on “locations where we can eliminate traffic deaths and improve mobility without dramatically limiting automotive travel time.” If she advances to the runoff, we hope she will embrace Vision Zero, even when it forces difficult choices between the safety of all Angelenos and vehicular convenience for a few.
While Flores and Castillo may lack some of the experience and establishment support that Rodriguez offers, they each make up the difference with wholehearted embraces of prioritizing the safety and dignity of the 7th District’s most vulnerable street users. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A., Flores admirably committed to “always support and advocate for those who walk, ride bikes and use our public transit system.” He stressed his role as a staffer for Congressman Howard Berman in securing funding for the Pacoima Wash Greenway project in the city of San Fernando, and promised to work toward extending the project to Pacoima and Sylmar. Castillo expressed support for funding Safe Routes to School, and a desire “to create a district where people can work, play, shop and live in safe communities.” He wrote in impassioned terms about his desire for a cross-Valley transit connection between Pacoima and Cal State Northridge, and for a walkable downtown Pacoima with good linkages to transit
With 20 contenders vying to represent the 7th District, the race is destined to continue into a May runoff. Rodriguez, Flores, and Castillo each offer their own unique strengths and commitments to improve the quality of life for residents of the San Fernando Valley. Bike The Vote L.A. endorses Monica Rodriguez, Fred Flores, and José Castillo for City Council District 7 in the March primary.
Castillo’s response to Bike The Vote L.A., click HERE