Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the date and time of his bike summit today – Monday, August 16th from 9am-11am. The mayor’s staff, renowned for the extraordinary political acrobatics, completed a triple front FAIL in organizing the bike meeting.
Failure #1: The meeting takes place during work day, making it impossible for many of the city’s best bike advocates to attend. Had the mayor’s staff consulted with bike advocates ahead of time, it would have realized this.
Failure #2: The mayor’s staff did not coordinate with members of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee – the official body focused on bicycle issues in Los Angeles. Members of this committee learned of the summit secondhand, from press.
Failure #3: The mayor’s staff titled the meeting the Bike Summit, disrespecting advocates who organized two previous bike summits in Los Angeles. More than 150 people attended each of the two previous bike summits – the Bike Summit in 2009, and the Street Summit (rebranded Bike Summit) in 2010. The Mayor’s event, early on a working day, can’t compete with the real Bike Summits, so his staff have set him up for a failure.
A summit is a bringing together of the most powerful energies on an issue. Bikeside endorses the good intentions of the Mayor and welcomes his energy and clout. We do not endorse the process or timing of this event. By scheduling the bike meeting during the workday, the Mayor’s staff settled for third place. The Mayor’s staff sent a clear signal that convenience for city staff will continue to be a higher priority than engaging the community leaders who have been working on bike issues all along.
When the Mayor returned from Copenhagen he said “in the area of bicycling I’ve got to do a better job and the city’s got to do a better job.” Indeed. Mr. Mayor, you may begin instructing your staff to move the meeting to a weekday evening, coordinating with existing leadership, and choosing another name.
Good process leads to good results, and bad process to bad. In the Cyclist LAPD Task Force good conversations, deliberative action, commitment to empathy, and honesty are the prevailing themes. Good process, good results. The bike plan update process went dark for 18 months with a group of planners and staff that were hostile to the community. Result? The plan is in a do-over phase. Bad process, bad results.