Why do I get the feeling the city council is Lucy.
And we’re Charlie Brown.
And they really think we’re going to fall for that damn football trick one more time.
Yesterday, the city council had the chance to adopt the Healthy Streets LA ballot proposal.
Instead, they pulled the football away one more time, voting to develop their own plan, which will be based on the Healthy Streets LA plan, but with a greater focus on equity.
And voted to place Healthy Streets LA on the 2024 ballot.
In other words, they’re kicking the can down the road once again. Which seems to be the city’s favorite sport.
It really was typical Los Angeles.
A number of council members spoke, seemingly with their hair on fire, about how dangerous LA streets are, how little the city has done, and how they need to be forced to keep their commitments.
Then they voted unanimously not to.
Shamefully, they also chose to ignore the large turnout in support of the measure, with Council President Nury Martinez cutting off comments while over 30 supporters were still waiting to speak.
Although they somehow had time to listen to those opposed to the measure, for some reason.
If you’re wondering why I sound angry, it’s because we’ve been here before.
In 2010, then-Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared “Car culture ends today!”
In a powerful statement before the full council, Rosendahl said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” He reminded his fellow council members about the harassment cyclists face on the road, as well as the lack of support riders have received from the LAPD in the past. “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”
“This is my pledge to the cycling community.”
That pledge lasted until Rosendahl left the council to battle a recurrence of the cancer that took his life.
Under Rosendahl’s guidance, the city preliminarily adopted the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, written a group of bike bloggers known as the Bike Writer’s Collective, sending it to the City Council for review and inclusion in the 2010 bike plan.
Except it never made it into the plan. In fact, it was never heard from again.
Rosendahl also shepherded approval of the innovative 2010 bike plan, with its three levels of bikeways forming a unified network designed to channel bike riders through their neighborhood, and throughout the city.
That was subsumed into 2015’s Mobility Plan 2035. And once again, never heard from again.
In fact, we were soon told the plan was merely “aspirational,” which probably explains why only 3% of the plan has been built out in the seven years since.
Charlie Brown, meet football.
Then there’s the city’s Vision Zero plan, also adopted in 2015, which pledged to eliminate traffic deaths in the City of Angels by 2025.
Hint: we ain’t gonna make it.
In fact, traffic deaths have continued to climb virtually every year since, jumping 19% in 2019, and 21% in 2020.
There goes that football again.
That was followed by the mayor’s Green New Deal, which promised to phase out gas-driven cars while providing safe and efficient alternatives to driving.
You can probably guess what comes next.
Now the city council expects us to trust them while they tee-up the ball yet again, pledging that the new ordinance they’re going to write will be even bigger and better than Healthy Streets LA.
Except (soto voce, crossed fingers hidden behind their backs) any ordinance they write they can also change at any time, for any reason. Unlike the Healthy Streets LA proposal, which could only be changed by a vote of the people had they adopted it yesterday.
So if a councilmember doesn’t want a particular project in his or her district, or LA’s notorious NIMBYs rise up in opposition, they can reject it in part, or in toto.
Or when a new council comes in, they can overturn it, again in whole or in part.
So much for forcing them to keep their commitments.
I’ve worked hard for 14 years now to kick over SoCal rocks, and shine a light on all the ugliness underneath, at serious harm to my own mental, physical, emotional and financial health.
But days like this, combined with the ongoing carnage on our streets, make me wonder if it’s all worthwhile.
And I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. Especially now.
But let’s give credit to Michael Schneider and Streets For All for all their hard work in getting us this far. And to everyone who turned out yesterday to speak to the council, whether or not they bothered to listen, and everyone who emailed and called their councilmembers fighting for a better result than the one we got.
You deserve better. We all do.
Instead we have to wait another two years for an expensive, uncertain electoral battle against the full force of LA’s NIMBYs.
Meanwhile, we need to hold the council’s feet to the fire to ensure they keep their promises, and come up with a workable alternative.
And stick to the damn thing this time.
Because I can’t speak for you. But I’m done falling for the same damn trick again.
Peanuts drawing from ClipArtMax.
It looks like Hollywood has worn out its welcome in LA’s Victorian Angelino Heights neighborhood — especially the seemingly endless series of Fast & Furious sequels.
A protest is planned for tomorrow to halt filming, in an effort to reduce the number of boneheaded copycats attempting to duplicate the stunts there.
Thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the heads-up.
Santa Ana cops are on the lookout for a bike rider who kicked a motorist after crashing into his car, then possibly threatened the driver with a knife.
Although there’s so much wrong here, I don’t even know where to start.
Reading between the lines, the driver apparently right hooked the bike rider, while illegally turning across the bike lane instead of safely merging in to make his turn, as required by California law.
And while the bike rider was clearly in the wrong to kick and threaten the driver, LAPD officers have made it clear to me in the past that a driver commits assault simply by getting out of his vehicle.
In other words, the bike rider was the victim of the crash, and could have been acting in self-defense when he threatened the driver, since leaving the car could have been seen as a threatening act.
A good lawyer could have a field day with this one if they find the guy.
The LAPD is looking for a hit-and-run driver who left a Vespa-style moped rider with severe injuries at 3rd and Flower in DTLA earlier this month.
Los Angeles has a standing reward of $25,000 for any hit-and-run resulting in serious injuries.