Let’s talk about yesterday’s election for just a moment.
As you may be aware, I invited each of the candidates for L.A.’s 5th Council District to use this site to address cycling and other transportation issues. Four of the six candidates — Adeena Bleich, Robert Schwatrz, Robyn Ritter Simon and David Vahedi — chose to participate.
And one of those four, David Vahedi, received the most votes yesterday. He’ll face off with Paul Koretz — one of the two who chose not to participate — in a runoff election May 19.
Thanks in no small part to mentions by Damien Newton of L.A. Streetsblog, as well as a few local riders who emailed a link to the candidates’ statements or posted links in local biking forums, these pages received over 300 unique visits.
Now consider this. Vahedi won yesterday’s primary with a margin of just 60 votes, out of over 26,000 votes cast.
At the same time, Koretz finished just 1512 votes ahead of Bleich, the 3rd place finisher. That’s 1512 votes out of the roughly 100 thousand or so registered voters in the 5th District — the vast majority of whom didn’t even bother to cast a ballot.
So if you ever wondered if your vote really makes a difference, consider this: if just 20% of the people who read these statements cast their votes for Vahedi, we were responsible for his entire margin of victory. And if just 757 people had voted for Bleich instead of Koretz, she’d be in the runoff, instead.
And you can’t tell me there aren’t at least 757 cycling registered voters on the Westside.
Over the next few days, I plan to email each of the candidates who provided a statement, to thank them for participating and offer my support in the future. Because we need to support the people who support cycling.
I’ll also make one last attempt to reach Paul Koretz, and encourage him to provide a statement. I won’t vote for anyone until I know how they stand on the issues that affect us as cyclists. And I hope you won’t, either.
Although I’m more that happy to let Damien take over from here on out.
As for all the cyclists who were eligible to vote yesterday, but didn’t take the effort to cast a ballot, I have just one question.
What the hell is wrong with you?
Bike Portland is on her way to L.A. for this weekend’s Bike Summit; yours truly will be participating as well. As if there weren’t enough problems on area bike paths, now we have to dodge bodies. And finally, I was thinking about getting this for my next bike jersey, although this one seems pretty meaty, too.