Streetsies 2012: People of the Year
by Damien Newton
Well, it's time to close the books on 2012 with our last round of Streetsie Awards. As always, I have my say, and you'll have a chance to have yours. I always miss people, both nominees and award winners, when I do this. Leave my mistakes in the comments section
Politician of the Year:
The nominees: Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian already lost his Metrolink Board of Directors seat, allegedly over his vote to allow Measure R on the ballot, and now faces losing his Metro Board of Directors seat over his effective opposition to the I-710 Big Dig. Down in Long Beach, Suja Lowenthal has become a local spokesperson for livability issues. Supervisor Mike Antonovich has certainly made his mark opposing Measure J as Chair of the Metro Board of Directors. In the Mayor's race, Eric Garcetti has swept up the endorsements of most major bike and pedestrian advocates while injecting livability issues into the campaign while Wendy Greuel has shined a light on waste and fraud in the city, including LADOT. In Sacramento Mike Feuer earns a nod for his tireless advocacy for Measure J and his succesfull efforts to oversee the Buy Here Pay Here industry. Senator Alan Lowenthal (now Congressman) also earns a nod for his efforts on Give Me 3. The Lowenthal's are not related, it's just that half the people that live in Long Beach are named Lowenthal.
Editor's Choice: Ara Najarian
Staffer of the Year:
The nominees: Jaime De La Vega has been the leader of a different kind of LADOT the last year. Speaking of LADOT, Michelle Mowery has enjoyed a career renaissance as LADOT has made painting bike infrastructure a priority. Much of the best legislation that goes through City Hall is sheparded by Bill Rosendahl's deputy Paul Backstrom. Cyclists already miss Sgt. David Krumer's leadership on bicycle issues. Jody Litvak earns our annual praise for dealing with the outreach for the Westside Subway for Metro. While Charlie Gandy gets a lot of the press for the bike renaissance in Long Beach, Alan Crawford does a lot of the day to day work.
Editor's Choice: Jaime De La Vega. While nobody is going to get LADOT confused with Gabe Klein's Chicago DOT or Janette Sadik-Kahn's NYCDOT, the change at LADOT since De La Vega took the reigns 18 months ago is dramatic and worth noting. It also marks a major change in De La Vega's perception from "the hummer guy" to the head of a DOT that is still moving towards sustainability.
Advocate of the Year:
The Nominees: John Jones of Eastside Riders already got his award for the dramatic growth of the Eastside Riders from Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility, but he's becoming a giant in the community. Javier Partida with Los Ryderz has had a similar impact in Watts and beyond. Maryanne Aguirre seems to pop up in half our Eastside stories for volunteer /leadership work with the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade and Corazon del Pueblo. Our own Sahra Sulaiman does a lot of work with LACBC, local bike groups and city planning that she doesn't write about. All the great changes in Downtown for cyclists and pedestrians might not have happened without Neighborhood Council Member Valerie Watson`s tireless work over the years.
If not this award, Darrell Clarke deserves a lifetime achievement award for his decades of advocacy for the Expo Line. Speaking of lifetime achievement awards, this might be your last chance to vote for Joe Linton. Ron Durgin proves that smart bike planning can be good advocacy at Bike Center. Roadblock isn't just media friendly and ruggedly handsome, he also programmed the Midnight Drag Race for Wolfpack Hustle.
Editor's Choice: Valerie Watson. I know, what's with all the LADOT love? Watson earns the nod for her work with the Downtown Neighborhood Council. DTLA wouldn't be the same without her.