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.