Caught in a Lie


Example of intractable traffic on North Figueroa at noon on a weekday….

Council District 1’s bossman, Gil Cedillo, has been caught in a lie again in his campaign against the North Figueroa road diet. I say “again” because, though this recent prevarication is one of the most blatant, the entire campaign is founded on untruth: false claims that cyclists are an “outside interest,” while Cedillo panders to cut-through drivers who have no interest in the Highland Park community (except as it represents an obstacle in their commute from somewhere else to over there); false claims that his opposition to bike lanes is based on “safety,” when dozens, probably hundreds, of studies of real-world road diets have conclusively proved that the changes Cedillo is stonewalling do in fact reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths for motorists as well as pedestrians and cyclists; false claims that road diets are bad for business, when again repeated studies the nation and the world over show that they boost receipts, often by vast percentages, for the amjority of retailers along their routes.

Now Cedillo has trotted out another false claim: that the road diet will “hinder emergency response,” bringing visions of houses burning down, old folks dying unattended, and criminals running gleefully about whilst fire trucks, ambulances, and cop cars wail in frustration behind dawdling cyclists….

He even trotted out a couple of local badges who asserted in that, in their personal opinions, the road diet would slow them down.

Not that they ever claimed to have studied, or even seen, a road diet.

But at the highest levels of LA’s police and fire departments, the opinion is that the road diet would have no effect on response times. The departments were consulted for the EIR that evaluated the project before the City Council unanimously approved it in the pre-Cedillo days. Streetsblog LA quoted the relevant passage in their article on the matter:

The implementation of the proposed projects would not impede emergency access. Bicyclists would follow the same protocol as vehicles in surrendering the right of way to emergency vehicles. The design of all bikeway facilities will be governed by the Technical Design Handbook and applicable federal, state and local guidelines.

The proposed projects would comply with all City of Los Angeles fire department requirements. Less than significant impacts to emergency access are anticipated.
(CEQA analysis, page 25)

Cedillo should have read the EIR on coming into office, or been briefed on it by his staff.

Of course, since the road diet would reduce crashes, there would be fewer emergency calls to the LAPD and LAFD, a disproportionate amount of whose time is spent cleaning up after collisions….

This isn’t the first time the reactionaries have resorted to outright lying in their attempts to keep the northeast LA’s streets a speedway for the lazy and arrogant. I covered another recent effort at persuasion through prevarication in a recent post here, titled The Lies that Failed. That was during their attempt to block the revitalization of Colorado Boulevard on the other side of NELA.

Neighborhood residents also report being canvassed by council office staff and volunteers who ask what seem to be leading questions designed to elicit negative feelings towards the road diet. This assertion is supported by an email to Tom Topping, editor of the tablid Boulevard Sentinel and the loudest and most virulent voice of the odd cabal opposing safer streets. You can read it here.

One might try to be charitable and say that Cedillo is merely ignorant of the real-world facts of the matter, and really is letting himself be swayed by the foaming-at-the-mouth reactionaries leading the effort. But that can’t be so. For one thing, Cedillo, a career politician, is not exactly naive; for another, I have personally sent copies of relevant studies to his office more than once, as have others, and this material is widely available and well-publicized in community and planning journals nationwide. You can study this mass of data yourself on Google Drive.

We know Cedillo is not stupid—you can’t be as machiavellian as he is without some brains—and he can’t claim that he was misinformed. So, unless he’s a catspaw for some special interest that he’s keeping hidden, that doesn’t leave many explanations for his behavior….

You make the call.

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One Comment

  1. Brian Nilsen
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Cedillo and Koretz just held a big press conference in front of a bunch of pro-taxi protestors announcing a bill to regulate rideshares. Funny how the two councilmembers who continue to block bike lanes suddenly seem to be in league with a group that would benefit from keeping public transit and alternative transportation down…

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg accuses Councilmember Gil Cedillo of lying — again — in his opposition to bike lanes on North […]

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  3. By Streetsblog Los Angeles » Today’s Headlines on June 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

    […] Cedillo “Caught in a Lie” on N. Figueroa Bike Lanes (Flying Pigeon) Cedillo’s #fig4all Bike Lane Meeting TONIGHT 6pm Rosevelt HS (Facebook […]

  4. […] « Caught in a Lie […]