The future of bicycling in LA County and the State of California is in your hands.
Or more precisely, awaiting your vote.
Bike the Vote LA offers a full slate of endorsements for your voting pleasure in tomorrow’s election.
I’ll leave it to you to make your own choices.
Though I will point out, for those in his district, that District 43 Assembly Member Mike Gatto has proven himself to be one of the most effective members of the legislature — and one of the best friends bicyclists and pedestrians have among California’s elected officials.
As for myself, I plan to cast my ballot for Bobby Shriver for LA County District 3 Supervisor to replace Zev Yaroslavsky.
While I have a great deal of respect for Shiela Kuehl and all she has accomplished at the state level, I’m troubled by her responses to the LACBC’s candidate survey earlier this year. Especially this one, in response to a question about whether she would support protected bike lanes in her district:
Yes, I would, so long as it doesn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to cars.
In other words, she would automatically rule out road diets, even though a US government study shows they can improve safety for all road users by 20 to 50%. And protected bike lanes have been shown to reduce injuries by as much as 90%.
Meanwhile, Shriver expressed strong support for complete streets, and pledged to build at least 40 miles of new bikeways each year.
But don’t take my word for it. Click the links above to read both candidates’ responses, and decide for yourself.
I also plan to vote for Jim McDonnell for LA County Sheriff.
While I’m troubled by his heavy-handed crackdown on the nascent Lang Beach Critical Mass — including bogus tickets and the illegal seizure of some riders’ bikes — I’m impressed by his responses to the LACBC survey. Especially his willingness to meet with cyclists and establish a bike liaison program similar to the LAPD’s to help resolve conflicts between the department and the riding community.
And I have a real problem voting for a candidate who has barely campaigned for the office he’s seeking, and has spent his entire career in a department riddled with allegations of corruption and civil rights violations, as his opponent, Paul Tanaka, has.
On the other hand, I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to throw my vote away by casting it for Republican Neel Kashkari, who has virtually no chance of beating incumbent Governor Jerry Brown. Particularly in light of his misguided pledge to halt California’s planned high-speed rail system — or as he calls it, Jerry Brown’s crazy train — which was approved by voters in 2008, long before Brown took office.
But I can’t in good conscience vote for a man who vetoed every piece of hit-and-run legislation that passed his desk, as Brown did this year.
Is it too late to vote for Meg Whitman?
One last note. Or rather, vote.
I will be voting in favor of LA County Proposition P, which in effect replaces two soon-to-expire property taxes that have funded parks and bikeways throughout the county.
Prop P would create a 30-year stream of funding for parks and open space, beaches and trails — including, possibly, a 22-mile bikeway from Claremont to Rosemead.
Yes, we could all benefit from lower taxes.
But if Prop P fails, everyone in LA County will be poorer for it.
Finally, a quick reminder.
As we’ve noted before, LADOT estimated in the 2010 bike plan that there are roughly 400,000 people in the City of Angels who ride a bike on a monthly basis.
Which is about 22,000 more than bothered to vote in the last city election.
And there’s no reason to believe the same doesn’t hold true throughout the county, where only 17% of registered voters bothered to cast their ballots in the June primary.
That makes bicyclists the sleeping giant of LA politics, with the power to sway elections — especially close ones.
But only if we remember to vote in terms of our own self interests.
Or bother to vote, period.
Because we have the power to ensure a bike-friendly future for the City and County of Los Angeles.
And as we’ve seen, it only takes electing the wrong person to undo hard-won the gains we’ve made.