NUFF Said….

Here in NELA, we’ve been battling the obstructionism, the refusal even to consider facts, and even the outright lies of council member Cedillo and his ilk for so long now that it is depressing. Just this week, “Roadkill Gil” released a letter urging all of us misguided Safe Streets advocates not to use the hit-and-run death of Elena Espinoza-Lugo on North Figueroa Street as a “political opportunity for personal gain”—which, of course, is what the council member is doing with the tragedy. The lady’s family stood with community members—with Cedilllo’s constituents— at the vigil that called, yet again for a safer Figueroa. As most folks know, Figueroa’s road diet had already been engineered and funded, but Cedillo has consistently blocked its implementation while refusing to give explanations of why he does so. Now he plays the pity card in hopes of shutting up his neighbors who are tired of dying in the street—and he will no doubt use this show of calculated false compassion for his personal and political gain.

Sad to say, his colleagues on the City Council will probably fall for Gil’s crocodile tears. We are fast approaching the Joe McCarthy moment, when US Army lawyer Joseph Welch asked the truly evii senator, who spearheaded the witch hunts of the Fifties, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

McCarthy ended up being censured by his Senate colleagues. We can hardly expect such simple honest nobility from LA’s council, which seems congenitally incapable of perceiving the slightest wrongdoing among its ranks. No, sir, they are angels in spotless white robes—in each other’s eyes. The rest of the world sees them differently.

The rest of the world sees cities and streets differently as well. If you want a break from the dreariness, and might enjoy seeing what neighborhood advocates and activists just like you are doing in other cities around LA, around the country, and around the world, you should get yourselves over to the New Urbanism Film Festival. This is a born-and-bred-in-LA event that is in its third edition now, and will be playing in the Mid-City area October 8 through October 11. It features, besides feature films, video shorts, lectures, and networking events, urban walks and bike rides, often with locally-crafted food mixed in with the motion.

While the Neanderthals of the council glower in their wood-paneled cave, you can sit in air-conditioned comfort watching what people all over the globe are doing to build stronger communities, vibrant local economies, and streets safe for walking and cycling, while breaking their neighborhoods free from the bonds of fast traffic, bad air, and unsustainable land and energy use.

There is more to life than sitting in a car in a bleak asphalt channel, listening to hate radio while your blood and your waistline thicken. Guys like Cedillo will never understand…but they represent the dead past.

Come to the New Urbanism Film Festival and see the future, where it’s already arrived. With a little inspiration, LA will get there too.

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  1. […] Risemberg suggests imbibing in a strong dose of optimism and see what’s being done in cities around the world at next week’s New Urbanism Film […]