Behold How Good and Pleasant

The full quote goes, “Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!”

…Which may not even be something to hope for. A lust for” unity” seems to lead to fascism, and whether of left or right doesn’t matter, because it is inherently oppressive. I prefer to think that what would really be good and pleasant would be solidarity: working together towards common goals, while making room for, and use of, the exhilarating diversity of thought and talents in our bustling little communities here in LA.

Sad to say, we don’t even get that, as our (sort of, in one case) elected leaders play us off into factions that fight each other over quibbles and intuitive but usually incorrect gut feelings, while the powers-that-be make their own quiet plans.

That may be changing. For now, CD 1’s Gil Cedillo (who squeaked into office by fewer than 800 votes, and then immediately backstabbed the good folks he’d pandered to in the safe streets community), gets to play tin god in the council chambers, blocking road diets and bike lanes, then grudgingly tolerating a traffic signal or two after enough bodies pile up, while keeping North Figueroa the perfect model of a modern Slaughter Alley. But opposition is rising….

As the LA Times noted a couple of days ago, not one, not two, but three candidates are gearing up to oppose him after what many in NELA hope will be his single term. They are former opponent Jesse Rosas, Miguel Amaya, and our own Josef Bray-Ali, the owner of Flying Pigeon LA, a former white-hat developer, and a tireless advocate for safe streets, local businesses, and a healthy community. Although the Times article characterizes him as a “bicycle advocate,” we all know that he is much more, and that the original road diet plan would have strengthened commerce and neighborhood solidarity and made the street safer for all—cyclists, yes, but walkers and drivers as well.

All Cedillo’s efforts have done is paint the street with blood—literally.

Meanwhile, across town, Paul Koretz is seeing opposition, as Beverly Grove lawyer Jesse Max Creed prepares a run for CD 5. Koretz has been steadfast in blocking bike lanes on Westwood, refusing even to permit an impartial study of the matter—which leads you to wonder what hidden interest he is “protecting” in his busy Westside district. Even Ryan Snyder’s plan for the street, which would have left all car lanes an parking intact, was refused consideration.

Creed is not running on a pro-bike ticket (at least not yet), but there’s a chance he’d be more reasonable than the ever-obdurate Koretz.

So it looks like, with a little bit of solidarity, we might be able to vote a couple of neanderthals out of office, and move in folks who believe it is people, and not traffic jams, that make a city great.

Don’t forget to vote local on March 7th next year!

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