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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
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    Susan Rose
    CALIFORNIA MOVES AGAINST RAPE-On May 13, California moved aggressively against rape on campuses, issuing a directive to all state colleges to “notify authorities when a sexual assault is reported.” Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.C. president Janet Napolitano jointly issued a set of guidelines to encourage collaboration between campuses and…
  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Bike Share King: LA’s Antonio 4,000 … Chicago’s Rahm 3,000

RETHINKING LA - When Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a citywide bike-share program that included 3,000 bikes in 300 docking stations, it must have stirred significant municipal envy in LA’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa because a few weeks later, he responded by announcing a citywide bike-share program of 4,000 bikes in 400 docking stations.
Los Angeles is a late entry into the bike-share business,  approximately 300th on the list of cities around the world that have some form of citywide bike-share in place, a list that includes Mexico City, Paris, Lyon, Munich, San Francisco, Washington DC, London and Melbourne.

Villaraigosa finds himself in an enviable position, able to learn from the successes and failures of bike-share programs around the world, tailoring a program to the unique geography and social environment of the LA area, ensuring success.

But he passed up that opportunity, instead jumping in feet first with a media company that has no experience with bike-share, announcing the program with no participation from the local community, setting in motion a relationship that is vague on details, and acting with complete indifference to the impact on surrounding communities.

Villaraigosa has in his hands an opportunity to demonstrate true leadership by reaching out to Santa Monica, home of America’s largest Bike Center, and to develop a bike-share system with regional impact and connectivity.

But instead, he charged ahead, leaving Santa Monica scratching its municipal head and wondering what they should do with the efforts they have initiated, only to find the largest city in the most populated state in the most powerful country in the world acting as if it is an island.

Is this the transportation skill set that belongs in Washington DC?

Villaraigosa is reported to have his eye on a federal Transportation position, one that has him working overtime to demonstrate his ability to move his transportation agenda forward.

But the devil is in the details and the City of LA is completely at a loss when it comes to installing bike racks, locating bus benches, painting bike lanes, and pursuing funds for Safe Routes to School.

Is this the time for the City of LA to be engaging in a 10 year contract with an unknown quantity while the City of Santa Monica is laying down innovation after innovation?

Villaraigosa’s bike-share deal with Bike Nation promises a $16 million investment in a 10 year contract that would see 4,000 bikes spread through several communities in 400 solar powered portable kiosks.

A conversation with Bike Nation’s  founders, Navin Narang and Brad Barlowe, reveals that the relationship is somewhat informal, not really a contract and not really an exclusive relationship.

It’s simply a private investment in a business that will be operated on public property, requiring the City of LA to facilitate the process and to provide permitting assistance, all in return for a bike-share program that gives Villaraigosa the opportunity to thumb his nose at Emanuel.

If only Emanuel’s performance with sidewalks, potholes, and green space would prompt Villaraigosa to higher levels of performance but that is fodder for another day.

Meanwhile in the bike-share vs. bike-share world, Chicago ran a test program and then opened the process up to bids from companies, then obtained federal funding and finally selected an operating partner with a fairly significant track record.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, took a pitch from a private party and threw caution to the wind, resulting in Villaraigosa’s press conference where “What could go wrong?” was the theme and bike-share was the snake oil.

The City of Los Angeles has a track record for poor oversight of contracts and partnerships. It is reasonable for the people of LA to expect the City of LA to demonstrate that its relationship with media company Bike Nation will be different, a partnership that will come with successful oversight and public benefit, not just more hollow promises.

The City of Los Angeles has a tremendous impact on the region and it is cavalier to move forward on issues of connectivity and mobility without consulting neighbors and synchronizing efforts.

The City of Los Angeles is in an enviable position where it can select from the best yet it acted rashly and without public participation from the advocates who have been involved all along.

Is this the behavior of a Great City? More importantly, is this the behavior of a potential Cabinet member, one who would be responsible for transportation at a national level?

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.) -cw

Tags: Stephen Box, Rethinking LA, Mayor Villaraigosa, Bike Share, Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Bike Nation







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 33
Pub: Apr 24, 2012


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