Bikeside endorses Sharon Commins (MVCC), and Kristopher Valentine & Linda Lucks (VNC)

By Alex Thompson

Bikeside’s slate of candidates for the April 11th Neighborhood Council elections is growing!  We are proud to endorse Sharon Commins, at large candidate for Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), Linda Lucks, who is running for President of Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC), and Kristopher Valentine, at large candidate for VNC.

If you live (reside), work, or own property in Mar Vista then you can vote in the April 11th elections for MVCC, between 10am and 4pm, at the Mar Vista Recreation Center on 11430 Woodbine St.  If you live (reside), work, or own property in Venice you can vote in the April 11th elections for VNC, between 10am and 4pm, at the Oakwood Recreation Center on 767 California Ave.

Sharon Commins (MVCC):

Sharon Commins for Mar Vista Community Council

Sharon Commins for Mar Vista Community Council

Sharon Commins I first met when the MVCC endorsed the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.  Sharon is a kindred spirit for all of us who fight the city tooth and nail everyday.  She was integral to getting the City to repurpose an old fire station in Mar Vista as a community center.  She is chair of the Planning and Land Use (PLUM) committee and she surprised me by endorsing the Backbone Bikeway Network in her campaign materials without me even asking – here’s what she has to say on bikes:

As PLUM co chair, I support cut through traffic mitigation/traffic calming for Mar Vistans, especially through appropriate development policies. I serve on the regional citizen group working to downsize/mitigate the proposed Bundy Village development’s traffic impacts upon our community.

I am also following the somewhat contentious saga regarding development of the updated Los Angeles Bike plan. I support the Backbone Bike Plan concept proposed by various members of the cycling community because, bottom line, it makes sense.

Safer streets and moderated traffic benefit all of us.

I definitely think Sharon will win another term on the MVCC, and I hope all of you Mar Vistans will vote for her!

Kristopher and Linda both recently helped Sara Bond and I get the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights considered by the VNC.  The Cyclists’ Bill of Rights will be before the VNC on Tuesday, April 20th, so mark your calendars.  The elections in Venice are hotly contested this year because of controversy around overnight parking of RVs, so it’s very important that you turnout to vote if you’re able.

Linda Lucks (VNC):

Linda Lucks for Venice Neighborhood Council President

Vote for Linda Lucks for VNC

Linda Lucks is on the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, which is the board that oversees the (former) Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which administrates the Neighborhood Council system.  She has been a champion for participatory democracy in this city – I remember first hearing her name from Stephen Box on several occasions, singing her praises.  Here’s what she has to say on transportation:

Streets, especially in Venice, are the place we live.  In LA, with so little open space, we live our lives in the streets.  They ought to be livable places.  Is Lincoln Blvd a livable place?  Is Pacific a livable place?  Humanizing our streets ought to be imperative for us, because it has a direct impact on our quality of life.  It doesn’t have to be about just cyclists or just motorists or just pedestrians – we can just start from the premise that streets ought to be hospitable to humans.

Venice proper actually does an amazing job on this – Ocean Front Walk, Abbot Kinney, Windward Circle, Rose – all great (but imperfect) places with great street life.  The big blight in Venice is Lincoln, and Washington could be better.  Here’s what Venice could do – instead of resting on it’s laurels as one of the most bike friendly and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods in the city, it could strive to be even better, and become a symbol of what a truly livable community looks like.  Venice is a trend setter in many arenas and bike friendliness is the next frontier.

Kristopher Valentine (VNC):

Vote for Kristopher Valentine for VNC

Vote for Kristopher Valentine for VNC

Kristopher Valentine made an impression on me when Sara Bond and I presented the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights to the VNC Neighborhood Committee.  We ran into immediate resistance with committee members arguing that we ought to include responsibilities along with rights in the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights (what about bill of RIGHTS do people not get?)  Kristopher spoke up and I sighed inwardly, expecting more flak.  Instead, he threw us major support.  He said that he rides his bike, sometimes five times a day, and he drove home the point to the committee that cyclists are in danger, saying “it’s like Russian roulette.”  Here’s some of what Kristopher had to say about bikes in his statement, which you can read in full here (pdf):

The city was designed for the automobile and the automobile only.  Perhaps in the 1950’s this was a luxury, but with today’s population it’s a nightmare. In order to modernize our transportation system we need to find ways to decrease traffic congestion, expand public transportation, and make our neighborhoods more bike and pedestrian friendly.

. . .

Bike path – The one place in Venice that is specifically for cyclists is the bike path on the boardwalk. Unfortunately it is covered with sand, and used by pedestrians for walking. We need to work with the city to get the bike paths routinely cleaned, and with the police and parks department to enforce city code. Due to budget cutbacks we may need to come up with volunteers that can clean the path if the city will no longer pay someone to do it. There also should be a push to expand the bike path from Washington Blvd. to the Marina so that cyclist can avoid Pacific Ave and Speedway.

Pacific Ave – It’s very narrow, unsafe for cyclist and pedestrians, and not the best looking street in Venice. We need to work on a long-term beautification program that would include the creation of a bike lane. That is much more feasible than installing sidewalks. This has been discussed in the past, but due to budget cutbacks has never got off the ground.

We could use more voices like Kris’s who can identify the big picture problem, and then make specific local recommendations.

The Bikeside slate is growing – if you’re a candidate on April 11th and you would like an endorsement, let’s talk –

Here’s the slate for now:

  • MVCC
    • Sharon Commins
    • (two more candidates, at least, on the way)
    • Aric Gregson
    • Xochitl Gonzalez
  • VNC
    • Kristopher Valentine
    • Linda Lucks
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2 Responses to “Bikeside endorses Sharon Commins (MVCC), and Kristopher Valentine & Linda Lucks (VNC)”

  1. Any recommendations for the Del Rey Neighborhood Council?

  2. Unfortunately, none. Next time around I plan to have a crazy big slate of candidates for all of Los Angeles!

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