As the March 5 Primary election draws near, residents of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood, and those who live near the LA River face an important opportunity to choose the next Mayor and Councilmember of District 13, now held by Eric Garcetti, who is a Mayoral candidate.
The winner of these races will make decisions that affect the environmental health and livability of our communities. These issues haven't been a major part of the candidates' campaigns, which have been centered around typical issues of jobs, public safety and the like.
Yet the actions of our new Councilmember and Mayor will determine how Los Angeles and our neighborhoods look, where families play, and the sustainability of our life-giving resources of air, water, public space and transportation.
You'll want to know how well candidates know your neighborhood and their history of involvement. And if you care about the environment you live in, ask your candidates where they stand on these important issues:
- The near-term and long range future of the Silver Lake Reservoirs
- The renovation of the Los Angeles River
- The growth of Echo Park
- And a new transportation vision that may finally free us from the stranglehold of the automobile.
Let's look at a few of these:
- In Silver Lake, key decisions will be made in the next months on pipeline projects that connect underground reservoirs being built on the Valley side of Griffith Park to Silver Lake. Controversy has grown as that project comes near our dense neighborhoods.
The next phase may mean a partial or complete drainage of Silver Lake Reservoir. What will be the impacts on residents, Path walkers and runners, Silver Lake Meadow visitors and others? What will be the fate of wildlife (like Great Blue Herons) that nest and live along the Reservoir banks? And what about dust created by a drained clay-bottomed lake, for the years of construction? The Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy is working to help make this project successful and with minimal impacts, and we'll need a Councilmember who understands and supports our efforts.
- Once complete, the Reservoirs will be taken off-line. The Conservancy is helping create a vision for our treasured Reservoirs — one that conserves precious water resources, manages stormwater, and builds new public amenities. Renovation of Echo Park Lake is nearing completion and will open soon. How will we build a comprehensive future for Silver Lake?
- Revitalization of the Los Angeles River is underway, and that will dramatically change what once was, and will again be, the source of life that made this city possible. How can it connect to Silver Lake, and to other corridors for wildlife, bicycle paths, and to revitalized neighborhoods?
- In Hollywood, part of the Hollywood Freeway may soon be covered to create a park and reconnect neighborhoods. It will take hard work and vision to make this a reality. How will City leaders keep this project moving forward?
- As LA builds a viable transportation system, our neighborhoods will need new ways of getting around, so we can escape the automobile and the ever-increasing stress of traffic, parking, and pollution. How can rail, real bicycle networks and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes become a reality in our neighborhoods? What vision candidates offer to build an attainable transportation future?
These are a few of the most important environmental issues that affect us all. Learn what candidates are saying, and promising, as the election draw near. We'll talk more about these issues in the near future.