Assembly District 39 serves northeastern communities of the San Fernando Valley, including Pacoima, Sylmar, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Mission Hills, Arleta and San Fernando. Due to the resignation of former Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra in November 2017 related to sexual harassment allegations, the area will see a special election on April 3rd to fill the seat through the end of the current term (December 2018).
The district has relatively high rates of residents who walk and bike as their primary mode of transportation, and it is also has a number of streets and intersections identified in LADOT’s High Injury Network, including two streets labeled as Priority Corridors in need of safety improvements.
Luckily, candidates running to represent this district have a strong understanding of what can be done at the state level to increase access to bike lanes, sidewalks, and improve the safety of everyone.
Considering the large field of candidates in this special election, our AD39 committee decided to provide letter grades for candidates based on their responses and track record, with the possibility of making an endorsement for the special election runoff in June. Individual summaries for responding candidates are listed below, along with a link to each candidate’s full response to Bike The Vote L.A.
AD39 Candidate: Yolie Anguiano
Yolie Anguiano is a familiar and engaged voice within safe streets advocacy in AD39. Anguiano lead the East San Fernando Valley Nature Parkway, providing much needed pedestrian improvements and improved access to open space in Arleta. She is a lifelong resident of the northern San Fernando Valley supplementing her community and volunteer service with work for State Assembly District 39, where she spoke out against alleged sexual harassment by Assemblymember Bocanegra. Anguiano’s response to Bike The Vote L.A. displays a superb understanding of the solutions needed to improve mobility options for Angelenos, including equitable funding of active transportation and full-fledged support for Vision Zero. We are confident that Anguiano will be a passionate advocate for safe streets at the state level if elected.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: A
AD39 Candidate: Luz Rivas
An engineer by education, Luz Rivas has a track record on safe streets during her tenure as a Public Works Commissioner. She provided support for many projects spearheaded by Pacoima Beautiful (a local advocacy group), including the Pacoima Wash initiative and the Pacoima Urban Greening Plan. As founder of non-profit, DIY Girls, Rivas has experience empowering women that is much-needed in the light of recent sexual misconduct allegations in Sacramento. Rivas’ response to Bike The Vote L.A. shows an excellent approach to improving mobility options in California, including support for complete streets funding and to clarify the rights of people on bikes under the vehicle code. Rivas is an inspiring candidate who has the prospect of being a strong supporter for safe streets within the California Assembly.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: A-
AD39 Candidate: Antonio Sanchez
Antonio Sanchez’s excellent understanding of the role that transportation takes in providing, healthy and sustainable communities is heavily informed by his expertise as an urban planner. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A., he highlighted his family’s own experience biking in the San Fernando Valley, noting both the regular harassment from motorists and the lack of cohesive bike infrastructure that is all too familiar to Angelenos who attempt travel by bike. Bike The Vote L.A. appreciates Sanchez’s commitments for equitable funding of active transportation and to improve the vehicle code’s clarity on the rights of people on bikes, which are evidence that he would make a vital supporter of safe streets in the California Assembly.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: A-
AD39 Candidate: Patrea Patrick
Documentary filmmaker and environmental activist Patrea Patrick identifies as a regular cyclist, and expresses enthusiastic support for more bicycle infrastructure and tax credits for people using active transportation. Her response to our questionnaire didn’t clearly show a depth of understanding of the challenges to provide safer streets within California, but she nevertheless offers a positive platform on active transportation for voters within the northeastern San Fernando Valley.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: B+
AD39 Candidate: Patty Lopez
Patty Lopez served as Assembly Member for District 39 from 2014-2016 and seeks to take back the seat in this 2018 special election. While Lopez did not establish a track record that was particularly supportive or responsive to local advocacy efforts on safe streets during her assembly term, we are encouraged by her response to our questionnaire, in which she displays a commitment to support a more sustainable transportation system that serves all Angelenos equitably.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: B
Bike the Vote L.A. volunteers made repeated efforts to reach all candidates in this race, but after multiple attempts, the Ricardo Benitez did not respond to our questionnaire. Due to a lack of information about his transportation platforms and his available track record, we gave each him a grade of C-. While Ricardo Benitez did not indicate an opposition to active transportation projects, we are disappointed that he did not respond to our questionnaire.