Tag Archive for Josef Bray-Ali

Morning Links: Ventura DA gives form letter response, deadline to support candidates opposing Koretz and Cedillo

Evidently, the Ventura County District Attorney can’t be bothered to respond individually to complaints about how they do their job.

Or in this case, don’t do it.

Last week, we featured a heartbreaking guest post from Hailey Cushman, daughter of Jesse Cushman, who was one of the two people killed by an allegedly distracted driver in Moorpark last fall.

Several people were inspired to write the DA’s office to complain that the driver, Rachel Hill, was only charged with misdemeanors in their deaths, rather than the felony counts the CHP recommended. And isn’t expected to spend a single day behind bars.

On Tuesday, I heard from three separate people who received the exact same response from the DA’s office, identical in every word, space and comma.

And not only that, one that they couldn’t even be bothered to respond to personally; each was signed simply “Webmaster.”

RE: Ventura County District Attorney Contact: Refile People vs. Rachel Hill as a felony

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:03:47 +0000

DA Criminal <DA.Criminal@ventura.org>

Dear Ms. xxxxx

Thank you for contacting the District Attorney’s Office. While we appreciate your concerns regarding this case, we are required to make difficult decisions, which include filing only those criminal charges that we have legally sufficient, admissible evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court. The case was reviewed and filed by a veteran prosecutor in our Criminal Division. Please understand that the decision to file this case was not made lightly. The District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough review of the investigation done by the California Highway Patrol and our conclusion is reflected in our filing decision.

Webmaster

Ventura County District Attorney

Nice to see they take complaints — let alone the lives of traffic victims — so seriously over there.

Maybe the good people of Ventura County should ask themselves if this is really what they want from their DA.

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It’s time to put your money where your vote is.

Recently we reported that CD5’s Paul Koretz, who has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly set bicycling on the Westside back 20 years, will be facing a challenger in next year’s election.

Which means his opponent, Jesse Creed, already has my support before I even meet the guy.

However, the end of this month marks an important fundraising deadline for candidates for LA City Council.

So if you’re as pissed-off as I am about Koretz siding with wealthy homeowners at the expense of everyone else — let alone claiming to be an environmentalist while blocking bike lanes that would enable people to leave their cars at home — dig as deep as you can to make a contribution to his campaign.

And while you’re at it, send another one to Josef Bray-Ali; the owner of NELA’s Flying Pigeon LA bike shop is taking on Gil Cedillo in CD1, thanks in part to Cedillo’s ongoing efforts to keep North Figueroa dangerous.

Send your check to:

Bray-Ali for City Council 2017, 3346 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065. Be sure to include your name, address and employer, which is required in order for his campaign to legally accept the contribution.

………

Speaking of Koretz, the motions to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the Mobility Plan come back before the Planning Commission at 8:30 am tomorrow, on the 10th floor of City Hall in Downtown LA.

It’s not looking good at this point. So we need everyone to attend if you can, or if not, reach out to the commission to demand a safer, and more rideable Los Angeles.

Maybe if we show overwhelming support for keeping them in the plan, the commission — and more importantly, the city council, which will consider it next — may actually listen.

………

If your plans for today included a ride along the upper reaches of the LA River Bike Path, you may want to reconsider.

The path will be closed from 8 am to 3 pm today between Glendale and Fletcher Blvds for major cleanup work following the removal of the flood control barriers.

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Caught on video: A Philadelphia bike rider is run off the road and threatened by a driver who fled the scene, then can’t get the police to give a damn.

Thanks to Thread Riot for the heads-up.

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The New Yorker offers photos from 75-years of bike racing. Which is not the same as cycling, despite the headline.

Six African riders are on track to compete in this year’s Tour de France, including Eritrea’s Daniel Teklehaimanot, who became the first black African to compete in the Tour last year.

A British amateur rider conquers the Tour de France’s famed Col du Tourmalet in just three and a half hours; even more impressive considering he’s just eight-years old.

If you want to hear Lance talk about cycling, skip his new podcast.

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Local

The LA Times endorses plans for a half-cent transportation sales tax, while calling bicycling and walking “a vital part of the transportation infrastructure that has been too often overlooked.” Meanwhile, Metro’s CEO calls it an opportunity to be bold, while a pair of Inglewood and West Hollywood leaders say speed up completion of the north-south train lines.

Kill four people who were walking in a Redondo Beach crosswalk, admit to taking pain killers before getting behind the wheel, and get off with time served.

Damien Newton discusses Metro’s open streets program, as well as Sunday’s 19-mile 626 Golden Streets.

While everyone else is offering advice on how to ride in the heat, contrarian CiclaValley tells you what not to do while cycling in it.

 

State

Caltrans’ survey for their first-ever draft bicycling and walking plan will close at the end of this month.

San Diego unanimously approves plans for nine miles of protected bike lanes in the downtown area, along with five miles of wider sidewalks.

Three San Diego area mayors call for approval of that county’s proposed $18 billion sales tax measure to fund transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrians projects.

Monterey considers installing its own bikeshare system.

A new line of smart bikes from the Bay Area will come complete with built-in lights, turn signals, brake lights and an electronic shifting system, along with an open OS that will allow developers to add additional features.

The executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition hopes to have more time to ride his bike once he steps down at the end of this month.

 

National

People for Bikes considers how Kickstarter is kick-starting innovation in the bike industry.

Kryptonite increases the amount of optional anti-theft protection coverage they offer with their locks, while streamlining the registration process.

The Denver CO 2011 bike plan calls for investing $119 million to build an additional 270 miles of bike lanes; four years later, it had only spent $2.8 million to stripe 68 miles of new lanes. Sounds like another city I could name.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Austin TX makes safety improvements to an intersection just weeks after a 14-year old boy was killed riding his bike.

Houston adopts an ambitious new bike plan calling roughly 800 miles of new bike lanes within the next ten years.

The annual Remember the Removal ride will finish on Thursday, as members of the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians retrace the infamous Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma.

A Memphis woman is behind bars after threatening to shoot a bunch of kids in a dispute over a stolen bicycle. Seriously, no bike is worth dying for. And it’s sure as hell not worth killing anyone over, especially not a kid.

Cincinnati’s Red Bike network has expanded seamlessly into Northern Kentucky to form the country’s first multi-state bikeshare system.

Minneapolis makes plans to unseat Portland as America’s bicycling capitol.

Seriously? A Massachusetts driver is expected to be released on a whopping $1,000 bail after being charged with possession of heroin and cocaine, driving with an open container, driving to endanger and driving under the influence when he knocked a woman off her bike. Nice to see the court system taking DUI seriously. And yes, that is sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure.

More proof cyclists are tough. A New York man rode his bike home after getting shot in the stomach.

 

International

Caught on video 2: An Ottawa, Ontario bike rider’s rear-facing cam captures the driver who smashed into him from behind; fortunately, he walked away from the crash.

A bystander jumped into a London river to save the life of a 68-year old bike rider who had fallen in.

A British paper offers advice on how to ride in the rain. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

A stoned driver in the UK gets seven years in prison — and a 10-year ban on driving — for killing a bicyclist after using heroin and prescription medication.

An Irish soccer fan rides nearly 375 miles to the Euro championships to raise money for cancer charities, only to get mugged on arrival in Paris; fortunately, women working at the Gare du Nord train station chased off the men who tried to steal his bike.

An Aussie cyclist says riding 2,600 miles across the continent in just 32 days can change your life, especially if you almost die twice, get bitten by a snake and caught in a cyclone.

A Singapore women’s non-profit group rode through Cambodia to raise awareness and funds for a hotel and restaurant training school trying to stop human trafficking.

Caught on video 3: A Chinese sidewalk cyclist barely avoids being run down by an out-of-control driver who smashed into a clothing shop.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle, maybe you should only steal one box of frozen chicken at a time. It’s not a bike helmet, it’s a speaker with a hockey puck on top.

And when is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s a contraflow traffic lane, of course. Thanks to kdbhiker for the video.

Morning Links: Universal bike path on a five-year plan, and Koretz and Cedillo face challengers for LA Council in 2017

Good news, as the May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive now has resulted in a lucky 13 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, which means we still have 87 to go to reach the goal of 100 new members by the end of May.

So please, take a few moments to sign up now to lend your support to the leading voice for bicyclists in the LA area. Not to mention you’ll get free bike swag when you sign up, through a special arrangement with the LACBC just for BikinginLA readers.

And my deepest thanks to all those who have signed up already!

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for that new bike path to open along the LA River through Universal Studios.

After I received an email asking about the path, which was promised by Universal in exchange for approval to open the new Harry Potterville, I contacted the LA County Department of Public Works.

And eventually, after the email was passed from person to person until it finally found someone who could answer my query, I got the following response.

A condition of the development agreement between NBC Universal and the County requires NBC Universal to provide funding to the County for the design and construction of a bike path along the Los Angeles River that will connect Lankershim Boulevard/Cahuenga Boulevard to Barham Boulevard.  The bike path requires a bridge crossing and ramps at either end in order to connect to the roadways; this requires coordination with and approval from multiple agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Los Angeles.

Because the project is complex, construction will probably occur in stages as plan approvals and permits are secured.  The bike path will not be open to the public until all project components are constructed, which could take at least 5 years.

So yes, it’s moving forward.

And no, you won’t be riding it anytime soon.

Then again, considering Universal had long fought any suggestion of a pathway behind the studio lot for fear aspiring writers would sue them after tossing their screenplays over the fence, this is progress.

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It looks like CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz will get some competition as he runs for his final term on the city council, as a 30-year old lawyer representing homeless veterans has thrown his hat in the ring. No word on whether he’ll offer more support for bicyclists than Koretz, who has dedicated his time in office to stamping out bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The same story also mentions that Josef Bray-Ali, a long-time community advocate and owner of the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop, has taken out papers to challenge CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who singlehandedly killed shovel-ready plans for a much needed road diet on North Figueroa.

I’ve known Bray-Ali for nearly a decade, and found him to be a tireless advocate for safety for all on our streets, regardless of how you travel, with a deep concern for the entire NELA community.

He also has a detailed knowledge and understanding of city spending that few can match, with an uncanny ability to ferret out where the money really goes, as opposed to where it’s supposed to.

Which is why he’ll have my unqualified support in next year’s city election.

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More big hearts in the news.

The Santa Ana police association and a non-profit community service program pitched in to buy a new adult tricycle for a man with cerebral palsy after his only source of transportation was stolen. The Orange Cycle bike shop provided the new bike at a sizable discount, while also pitching in a new helmet, bell and bike lock.

And a young Birmingham AL boy is so grateful when a cop stops to fix the chain on his bike, he gave the officer a pat on the head.

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Sad news, as 21-year old Dutch cyclist Gijs Verdick died a week after suffering twin heart attacks while competing in an under-23 race in Poland.

Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin takes the pink jersey away from Germany’s Marcel Kittel in the Giro.

The first stage of the Amgen Tour of California will cover 106 miles through East San Diego County, while CiclaValley looks at Stage 2 through the iconic roads of the San Fernando Valley.

Bicycling talks with UC Berkeley law professor Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, who briefly held the women’s hour record last year.

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Local

The LA City Council Transportation Committee meets today to discuss proposed anti-bike amendments to the city’s Mobility Plan. I can’t make it due to prior commitments, so speak loudly on my behalf if you go.

The Eastside’s Ovarian Psychos have become LA’s unapologetic two-wheeled feminist powerhouse.

Santa Monica Spoke invites everyone to discuss women’s biking issues over donuts Tuesday morning.

 

State

The latest podcast from Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with the newest member of Calbike’s board of directors.

A Santa Barbara family takes a weekend road trip by bike.

An Olympic road cyclist from San Mateo urges people to join her for the Bay Area’s Bike to Work Day this Thursday. Meanwhile, Cyclelicious asks if we focus too much on bike commuting to promote bicycling at the expense of other trips that can be taken by bicycle. Short answer, yes.

Caltrain and BART are adding more capacity for bikes by the Bay.

A cyclist in Calaveras County thanks the 99% of considerate motorists who pass safely, and reminds the other 1% why they need to.

A Sacramento writer says plans for a bike-friendly new development have turned out to be just the opposite as city budget problems cause cutbacks in promised bikeways.

A Chico letter writer complains about cyclists with their “smug biker gang mentality” who refuse to get out of her damn way no matter how much she honks. Even though the cyclists in question were riding to remember a much loved rider who died following a brief illness, after a 2007 collision left him paralyzed when the group he was riding with swerved to avoid a pedestrian. Big effing heart she’s got there.

 

National

A graphic from NACTO shows just how inefficient private motor vehicles are if you want to move more people without widening streets; a two-way protected bike lane can move nearly five times as many people per hour.

Remarkably, Anchorage AK police don’t keep stats on hit-and-runs, and have no idea how many drivers have fled the scene after hitting bike riders.

A 65-year old Des Moines bike rider has died after being assaulted by two men earlier this month.

An 18-year old Wisconsin bike rider gets just a $187 ticket for crashing into a woman while riding on the sidewalk, even though the victim died later as a result of hitting her head on the pavement. If we expect drivers to be held accountable for their actions behind the wheel, we have to expect bike riders to be, as well.

A New York man pleads not guilty to felony charges for failing to secure the boat he was towing after the trailer broke lose, fatally striking a young woman riding her bike last fall.

Sad news from the Police Unity Tour, as a retired New Jersey cop was critically injured on the ride to honor fallen police officers, and isn’t expected to survive.

Baltimore chefs get on their bikes to support a program that brings meals to patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

 

International

Nice piece from the Register’s Dan Whiting on Saturday’s 50-mile Rosarito to Ensenada bike ride, and a bike-riding East LA native who refuses to give up.

An Argentinian man traded his backpack for panniers 10 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since; he’s currently touring Africa after visiting 85 countries.

A pair of teenage salmon cyclists bring a major British highway to a complete halt, but slip away before they can be stopped.

A Manchester UK bike lane has been paved over just seven weeks after it opened, following complaints from bicyclists that it actually made the road more dangerous.

 

Finally…

If you want to go faster on your bike, just hang onto a car, only ride downhill or go through really scary neighborhoods. Bone up on excuses for your next failed drug test.

And when you’re riding Down Under, it’s bad form to punch the cops if they try to stop you for riding without a helmet.

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Don’t miss today’s guest post about Team LACBC and the 2016 edition of the California Climate Ride. 

Giving credit for L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, the backlash begins & fighting blocked bike lanes

Catching up from last week, it seems the successful passage of L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance is making waves, though not necessarily the way we might have hoped.

Despite a number of council and committee hearings as it glacially made its way through the development process leading up to unanimous approval by the city council, many motorists seemed to be blindsided by the new ordinance.

Which is what tends to happen when you don’t pay any attention to your own government.

One thing that seems to have been forgotten in the cycling community’s celebration over the passage of the anti-harassment ordinance is the role the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition played in seeing this law through from the very beginning.

It’s true that Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and his aide Paul Backstrom deserve the lion’s share of credit, along with Judith Reel — who had the stroke of genius to make this a civil, rather than criminal, law — and LADOT’s Michele Mowery. No one can understate the important roll attorneys Ross Hirsch and Daniel Jimenez played in vetting the wording, or the vital support of Bicycle Advisory Committee President Jay Slater and other members of the BAC in getting it passed.

And let’s not forget the work of LADOT Bike Blog’s Chris Kidd in explaining and carrying the torch for this bill.

But I remember committee meetings where the only cyclists present were myself and representatives from the LACBC.

I don’t mention this because I’m on the board of the coalition.

But because it was the hard work of Aurisha Smolarsky, Dorothy Le, Jen Klausner and Allison Mannos in fighting for this bill that convinced me to join the LACBC and become a board member in the first place. As well as Alexis Lantz, who later took over for Aurisha in fighting behind the scenes to make this law as strong as it could be and help ensure its passage.

Without their hard work, this law might not exist today. And it certainly wouldn’t be as strong as it turned out to be.

……..

Road.cc looks at L.A.’s bicycle anti-harassment ordinance, while KPCC says L.A. cyclists get the toughest protections in the U.S.; personally, I might question that since this is a civil, rather than criminal, law. The C-Blog offers a well-written and thoughtful response to KABC radio in defense of the ordinance. Writing for Orange 20, Rick Risemberg says common decency now has some teeth, while a conservative writer calls it a terrible law that will lead to legal motorist shakedowns. And our neighbors to the south don’t seem too interested in following our lead.

The L.A. Times calls it a smart law; unfortunately, some of their readers don’t get it, despite intercession by Sgt. Krumer to explain what the law does and doesn’t do.

Sgt. David Krumer at 12:34 AM July 22, 2011

Hello motorist,

It appears that some folks are not exactly sure what harassment means within the context of the ordinance.  You can still yell at a cyclist who engages in bad behavior.  You can not however threaten a cyclist with physical harm or make comments like “I am going to run you over.”  You also can not engage in conduct that is likely to put a cyclist in harms way such as:

1) Revving your engine multiple times as it is an implied threat that they may get run over if they don’t move out of the way.

2) Tailgating a cyclist

3) Passing a cyclist at too high a speed or to close a distance so as to scare or intimidate them off the road.

4) Riding up at a high rate of speed and honking at a cyclist (this has caused cyclists to get scared and fall of their bikes).

Hope this sheds light on what “harassment” means.  In short it is an ordinance that prohibits threats (explicit and implied) as well as behavior likely to cause injury.

Meanwhile, one reader suggests, in what we can only hope is a failed attempt at humor, that drivers should eliminate anyone who might be able to testify against them:

edwardskizer at 3:50 PM July 23, 2011

Drivers frustrated by this law have to remember just one rule: leave no witnesses.

Yes, very funny indeed. And that Dr. Thompson thing in Mandeville Canyon was a real knee-slapper, too.

Or if you want to waste an hour of your life and churn your stomach after realizing the sort of people we have to share the streets with, read the comments to this Times story.

Then again, L.A. isn’t the only place that needs a law like this.

……..

After years of effort from countless cyclists — myself included — Flying Pigeon finally tracks down the people who are responsible for doing something about blocked bike lanes, including all those damn trash cans.

And AAA responds to Will Campbell’s complaint about opposing California’s proposed three-foot passing law; not surprisingly, they don’t apologize or change their minds.

Which makes me think it may be time for cyclists to consider an auto club that doesn’t support a driver’s right to pass dangerously close.

……..

Congratulations to Cadel Evans for an unexpected victory in the Tour de France, and the first ever victory for the land down under, as his countrymen rejoice but don’t get a day off. He now tops the UCI rankings, as well.

The Schleck brothers finish second and third, while Mark Cavendish takes the points prize, noting that it didn’t come easy. Andy Schleck, or possibly his brother Frank, appeared to have the race won until they cracked and Cadel crashed through to victory.

Michael from Claremont Cyclist offers some great final thoughts. The Wall Street Journal looks at the Jackie Robinson of cycling. Thomas Voeckler fought the good fight to hold the yellow jersey longer than anyone thought he could.

Unfortunately, the North American contingent didn’t exactly impress.

……..

Will offers suggestions to improve that scary tunnel at the top of Sepulveda Blvd. A local cyclist had his bike confiscated after riding on the 405 during Carmegeddon, and asks you to buy a t-shirt to help get it back. With little luck and effort, Bicycle Priority Zones could soon spread across the county. Better Bike complains about politicians low-balling bikes at the last Westside COG meeting. The Times looks at the tweet that lead to a $7000 donation to the LACBC; in a final note to the story, the guy who sold his own car to make that donation had his bike stolen over the weekend. Working to make Beverly Hills more bike friendly; who knew they actually have bike racks? Gary Kavanagh writes about the lessons learned from the recent Carmageddon. Local Linus bikes are featured in a new fashion video. Six SoCal firefighters ride cross-country to honor 9/11 victims.

Long Beach starts a new bike safety campaign to remind cyclists to stay off the sidewalk. Complaints that cyclists don’t stop for a Newport Beach stop sign lead to the observation that hardly anyone does. Joe Linton rides the bike path along San Diego County’s San Luis Rey River. A Redding writer says he doesn’t see how a 3-foor passing law could make a lick of difference. The fight over San Francisco bike lanes moves to crosstown streets.

Levis unveils their new Commuter Jeans, complete with a U-lock loop. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club wants more women riders on the road. After winning a new Trek Madone, Springfield Cyclist puts his old bike up for sale, and will donate the sale price — plus an additional $100 — to support victims of the devastating Joplin tornado earlier this year. A pair of blind riders take on RAGBRAI. Advice on how to deal with riding to work on a hot day. New York drivers turn a sidewalk and bike path into a DIY shortcut. The bike wars go on in Virginia Beach VA, where cyclists were recently treated to tacks on a popular riding route. The Tallahassee Democrat says cyclists have rights on the road, too.

Mexico considers investing the equivalent of $120 million in bikes and infrastructure. Do wobbly cyclists calm traffic? A UK man and woman are sentenced for severely beating a cyclist for no apparent reason. The 10 worst gyratories in London; and yes, I had to look it up myself. Fifty-four percent of English children want to ride their bikes more. A driver says he’d rather kill a cyclist and possibly himself than hit a family in a car; good response from bike writer Carlton Reid. Great bike illustrations from a Dublin artist. Town Mouse visits France and falls in love with a local bike. An Aussie cyclist is critically injured in a collision with possible U.S. Navy personnel.

Finally, while the UK is taking posties off their Pashleys, the USPS is putting bikes on their stamps. And a Florida judge ignores the law to blame the victim of a road rage assault for riding too far from the curb; let’s hope L.A. jurists are more enlightened when the first cases under the new anti-harassment ordinance come to court.

Come back later tonight when I’ll post a harrowing first-person account of the collision that left cyclist Adam Rybicki fighting for his life, and a call for justice from the riders who barely avoided serious injury along with him

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