Friday, February 15, 2008

"Done Deal" Pico Plan Moves Forward Depite "Some Opposition"

Who Cares What This Guy Thinks?

In their rush to cover the news (broken last night in an excellent piece in the Times) that the Mayor is ignoring the wishes of the City Council and local councilmen, the mainstream media is downplaying the opposition to the Mayor's plan to remove parking, synchronize lights and promote traffic flow on Pico and Olympic Boulevards.

Fox, the LA Business Journal and NBC are all running with the AP story on the mayor's move which marginalizes the near unanimous opposition of the community groups, business groups, business owners and residents along the corridor as "some opposition." The AP story takes the Mayor's word on the benefits of the project, and ignores the controversy created by a Mayor bulldozing opposition and the public process. There is no mention of the thousands of people that have shown up to hearings and public meetings, that testified and signed petititions in the time between the plan's surprise announcement and yesterday's decree that "the council did not have jurisdiction over such issues as parking regulations or whether streets were one-way."
The Times gets it right, repeatedly going back to the breadth and passion of the opponents to this plan. The story here isn't just that the Mayor has a new plan to fight traffic, the story here is also that neighborhood councils and councilmen don't have any power to influence what happens on their streets (according to the Mayor's office.)

While the community will doubtless fight on, lawsuits are already in the works, the other big loser is Counciman Bill Rosendahl, an outspoken critic of the project who saw the concerns of Councilman Herb Wesson addressed (the plan no longer extends all the way from Santa Monica to La Brea, it now stops at Fairfax) and his own ignored.
And what were Rosendahl's radical ideas that were so revolutionary that they couldn't even be considered? Rosendahl asked that the Department of Planning work with LADOT and the community to address the community's concerns before the plan was implemented.
Yesterday's power play by the Mayor marks the end of the pretense that the city and the community is working together to make the best plan possible for everyone.
You can check back with Street Heat for full all of the latest coverage as the controversy enters its next stages.
For previous coverage of the Pico/Olympic plan, click here.
Image from PR Web.

3 comments:

Justin said...

Sometimes you need to break a few eggs to make an omlette. Executives, kind of by definition, are not fans of design by committee. While they may take other people's opinions and thoughts into account, in the end they are looking to make a decision and get something done. If this works well, and improves traffic in a meaningful way, I say "Go Mayor" and support him in his decision to go forward, even with opposition there. Thats part of what we hired the Mayor to do. Make difficult, and sometimes unpopular decisions to improve the City. I have followed this issue somewhat closely, and while th opposition is LOUD, its points seem to be fairly minor, and focused on how this change impacts them personally, not the community at large. ("People won't be able to visit my dry cleaner during rush hour, wah!").

Now, if this change does NOT make a noticeable difference in the traffic problems we are seeing, then the Mayor is choosing to harm some individuals without there being a greater good. In this case the Mayor is a poor executive (in this case) and should be held accountable for his poor decision.

So, go forward, Mr. Mayor, with your plan, but it had better be a successful one.

Justin

Justin said...

To follow up to my own post...

In your article you mention "near unanimous opposition" by various groups.

Yes, there are a small number of people (statistically speaking, in terms of the size of the City) who this will be a moderate inconvenience to. Those people have the motivation to go out and protest this. For the MANY MANY more people who this will (hopefully) help, this probably does not rise to the level of something they are going to go to a meeting to talk about. Thats just the way the world works.

Justin

"Part of the silent (possibly) majority"

MetroHopper said...

It is a delicate issue, this. I wish Tony V were competent; perhaps then we could put up with his being the left coast's Robert Moses.
Unfortunately, Tony is only concerned with creating a legacy for himself. His failed bid to lord over LAUSD established this sad fact; the attempt to bulldoze through constituents concerns corroborates it.
For all my kvetching about the ostentatiousness of an extensive subway system in Los Angeles, I would nevertheless love to have such a system. But I am all too aware of how difficult it will be as well as how long it will take to build one. The current mayor of Los Angeles, however, has not the competence to see it through.