LACBC’s forgetful Measure R narrative
LACBC recently crowed that the 10% of Measure R (local return) funds set aside for cyclists & pedestrians became available. As LACBC puts it, the “collaborative effort between LACBC, LA Streetsblog (Damien Newton), and the Green LA Coalition”
led to the liberation of $3.27 million in funds for the next fiscal year for cycling and pedestrian projects.
However, anyone who was paying attention knows that those funds would have been $1.95 million, not $3.27 million, if it weren’t for the efforts and scrutiny of one Bikeside board member – Stephen M Box.
When the “10% for bikes and peds” motion came before LA City Council Transportation Committee it was Stephen Box that noted that LADOT had calculated 10% incorrectly, first in City Watch and then in public comment:
The 10% commitment had advocates celebrating but a check of the math revealed a small $7.3 million problem, the LADOT had calculated the 10% on net funds yielding $10.8 million over the next 5 years instead of on gross which would yield $18.1 million.
LADOT used the net return, instead of the gross return, reducing the 10% commitment. Box mentioned this to the committee, and the Chief Legislative Analyst [CLA] (who some say is more powerful than the councilmembers themselves) agreed:
as I stood to leave, the City’s Legislative Analyst (CLA) said “You’re right.” I waited but that was it. I asked “So then you’ll fix it?” It was that simple. “Yes.” Box’s comment led to an increase of 68% in funding ( $18.1 / $10.8 = 1.68 ) from the 10% motion, which amounts to $1.32 million this year, and $7.3 million over 5 years.
It’s all available online – check out the November 18th, 2009 meeting of the Transportation Committee meeting (99 Mb). Stephen’s comment, and followup from staff, begin at 56:40.
LACBC – be honest with your narrative. You attribute the success to the efforts of three organizations, but 40% of the money ( [18.1 -10.8] / 18.1 ) can be attributed to Box’s public comment, his City Watch article, and the CLA. Congratulations to Stephen Box and the CLA for freeing up $1.32 million in additional funds for cyclists and pedestrians for this (fiscal) year, and congratulations to the three org coalition (if indeed LACBC’s narrative is accurate on that point) for the other $1.95 million.
(Edit – some may have trouble following the ball here. The $18.1 mil figure is for 5 years. It would have been $10.8 mil but for Box’s efforts. That’s 5 years. For this fiscal year, the amounts are $3.27 mil and $1.95. The “difference due to Box” is $7.3 mil over 5 years or $1.32 mil this year.)