Los Angeles is changing and that's a great thing. The obsolete "vision" of the great big freeway, communities historically and economically segregated by race, economics and ethnicity and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) politics is giving way to more rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), bike lanes, bike share, social and economic integration and transit-oriented development. A demographic shift back to urban living, a smart, hard-working good governance mayor, a growing grassroots movement for quality-of-life improvements including walkable complete streets, sensible density, pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods and open space, green infrastructure and a move toward renewable energy are making living here better and better.
Consistent with these changes, is a shift away from the business-as-usual ways of City government and an embrace of the adage that all politics is local. A wave of locally-focused community leaders has brought to Los Angeles candidates for office who read, believe in science and wield a strong command of state-of-the-art urban policy and practice.
Fact: Josef Bray-Ali, the candidate for CD 1, is emblematic of the good things happening in Los Angeles. Joe is the real deal. He is a smart, hard working, principled and articulate candidate who understands urban policy and knows, loves and works tireless for his community and Los Angeles generally. Like that other Joe from Washington and Delaware, he is also the kind of guy you want to drink a beer with, which is what I did on Saturday at Sunset Beer in über hipster Echo Park.
We all have our reasons for supporting one candidate over another. I can't vote in CD 1, except in Donald Trump's alternative facts universe, but if I could, I'd be voting for Josef Bray-Ali for City Council.
Fact: Joe Bray-Ali is earning the support of CD 1 residents the old fashion way by walking and biking the streets and knocking on doors. He is taking the time to meet voters and listen to their concerns about their community.
Fact: Unlike his developer-backed opponent, most of Joe's support has come from small donations from community members and certified matching funds.
Fact: Joe is surging in this important City Council race by mobilizing previously overlooked, uninvolved voters. In 2016 alone the district added 11,000 new registered voters to the rolls.
Fact: Endorsements matter! If you don't trust me on this one, you may want to read the L.A. Times' endorsement of Joe for CD 1.
The Times' endorsement is a striking rebuke to the current, in-the-pocket-of-developers councilman. Joe has also won the endorsement of the LA League of Conservation Voters for his commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. For example, Joe supports a styrofoam ban in Los Angeles and an official ban through punitive taxation on drilling and fracking within 2,500 feet of residential zoned communities.
Fact: Nearly half of Joe's opponent's contributions come from developers, and only 15 percent of Joe's opponent's contributions are from in-district donors. How can a candidate like Joe's opponent be trusted to represent CD 1 residents? Fact: He can't!
Fact: CD 1 is home to most of the hideous developments of L.A. embarrassment and Trump-like opponent of walkable communities, Geoffrey Palmer. Palmer's monstrosities include the arson-targeted DaVinci, the Piero, and the fortress-like Orsini. To gain needed variances for these eyesores Palmer has maxed out to Joe's opponent. Nationally, Palmer is one of the largest contributors to the Deplorable in Chief, Donald Trump. Are you with Joe, or with a major backer of the Deplorable in Chief?
Fact: In a previous election cycle Joe's adversary for the Council seat accepted $80,000 from Chevron and voted against State Assembly bills to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Joe's opponent seems keen on letting the oil companies reopen some of the 1,000 plus oil wells located in CD1 between Chavez Ravine and MacArthur Park. In contrast, as a parent and committed environmentalist, Joe will protect the public health by keeping those wells capped.
Fact: This past month, the City's purchase of the G2 Parcel along the L.A. River cost taxpayers $50 million. The site's estimated cleanup costs run between $150 million and $200 million due to industrial contamination of the Taylor Yard. Throughout his career, Joe's adversary accepted the maximum donations allowed from Union Pacific and BNSF. Is it any surprise that L.A. taxpayers have just eaten the cost of cleaning up the Taylor Yard parcel?
Fact: Joe Bray-Ali has been a tireless advocate for safer streets for pedestrians, bike riders and drivers. A key leader in the safe streets Figueroa for All movement, Joe's advocacy is helping make North East L.A. a safer place to live and is improving the neighborhood's connections to Pasadena and the Los Angeles River.
Joe's vision for CD 1 and the entire city, includes zero deaths and injuries from irresponsible, dangerous drivers. This is just one more reason that Josef Bray-Ali should be CD 1's next councilmenber.
It's time that CD 1 was represented by a councilmember who cares about the district. It's time to elect Joe Bray-Ali.
Yours in transit,