I rode to the Mar Vista Community Council armored with the knowledge that 28 cyclists confirmed their attendance on Facebook, and I had copies with me of an eloquent plea from Ted Rogers (BikingInLA) for the Mar Vista CC to endorse the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights. When I arrived I saw one bike. Not five, or ten, or twenty. One bike. I knew I was in for it. How can you expect to pass a motion for the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights with only one other person from the cycling public present? Just two weeks ago we rolled to City Council 50 deep, what could two people do?
The truth is the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights it growing up, and it can almost stand alone. Myself, Brian Cooperman and Iain Marjoribanks each took our turn to speak when the motion came up, and then answered a variety of questions from the council. I sat on the edge of my chair when the Chair asked that discussion continue amongst the council members only, deeply concerned that I could not answer objections. Then I noticed that council members were answering other council members objections themselves and I slumped back in my chair, comforted that although we were there to discuss the motion, the council was well equipped to discuss it without us. When the vote came up it was 10-0, with one abstention.
BRAVO Mar Vista CC! Y’all have done a great service to West LA cyclists by affirming cyclists’ rights.
It’s not just the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights which is growing up. The Neighborhood Councils are growing up too. The rebellion and defeat of Measure B was a defining moment A moment when the NC’s said to the mayor and City Council “we will tell you what we want, not the other way around.” Council members were taken aback, and many left out in the cold, endorsing a measure that a majority of their constituents opposed.
Now what has happened? Like a frustrated parent, unable to control their increasingly independent teenager, Parks and Smith have tried to throw the NC’s out of the house, threatening to cut the NC’s annual budgets from $50,000 per council to $11,200. It smacks of revenge for the defeat of Measure B, but I still can’t understand it. It would seem political suicide to even suggest such a cut, given that most of LA’s new political talent is incubating in the NC system. You would think that professional politicians would act more rationally.
The NCs are by far the most effective way that residents connect with their city, and if anything should have a budget increase. And what does cutting $3.6 million from the NCs budget do toward addressing a $530 million deficit? It’s less than a percent of the short fall.
I’m pleased to see that the NCs have struck back with such unity, and demanded a reasonable budget. I’m even more pleased to see that the increasingly savvy members of each NC are bike friendly. I think the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and NCs have a bright future together – which West LA Neighborhood Council shall we approach next?