By Richard Risenberg, October 15, 2014
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the title character, on being
appraised of his uncle’s treachery, moans that “one may smile, and
smile, and be a villain.” And so it is, even in the brightly-lighted
chambers of our city council, where the media-savvy minions of power put
on their smiling faces to assure us that they have only our good in
mind—even when that is manifestly untrue.
Sometimes that manifestation is all too bleak, as in the photo above,
from Sixth and Burnside, in Tom LaBonge’s CD4. Here in NELA, we are
accustomed to blood on the streets resulting from councilmember Gil
Cedillo’s steadfast obstruction of a road diet for North Figueroa. He
bizarrely claims that “safety concerns” are holding him back from
approving what the Federal Highway Administration calls a “proven safety countermeasure,”
and so residents keep dying as heartless cut-through drivers keep on
speeding. Figueroa should lighten the hearts of the community, not stop
them. It doesn’t have to be this way, but, thanks to Gil Cedillo, North Fig remains a deathtrap.
Over in Council District 4, it’s possibly worse. Tom LaBonge intrudes
his bulky self into every bike-related photo op anywhere in or near his
district, often wearing his signature red sweater to catch the eye (and
the cameras). But he has stopped
the Fourth Street Neighborhood Greenway, is trying hard to stop the
Lankershim Boulevard road diet, and stands stubbornly against a
community-friendly Glendale/Hyperion bridge rebuild.
And now, Sixth Street in the Miracle Mile, a narrow four-lane that
impatient scofflaws use as a fast alternative to Wilshire one block
away, sometimes hitting speeds of 60 and 70 miles per hour. There are
many, many crashes here; I walk or pedal along this street nearly every
day, and piles of car parts, clusters of rescue trucks, and even traffic
lights tumbled into the roadway by careering Beemers are commonplace.
And, unfortunately, deaths and injuries. I live just off Sixth, and came
upon the scene in the photo above two days ago.
The woman lying by the car is considered “lucky.” A cop I asked
reported that the paramedics thought she would live. But if that’s
“lucky” in LaBonge Land, I don’t want to know what “unlucky” gets you,
besides an ambulance ride with no need for lights and siren.
Sixth Street was slated to receive a road diet, but—yes, you guessed
right!—Tom LaBonge chose to “defer” it. His rationale? Road work on
Wilshire might send more traffic onto Sixth. But his presumptions have
led him into error: road diets, while they restrain top speeds, often smooth out traffic flow and result in quicker, if calmer, A to B transits of a street.
So our faux-benevolent council members are just imposing their arrogant ignorance on the public they claim to serve.
Shakespeare nailed it again in Macbeth, where he calls life “a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing.”
Which describes life—and death—in Cedillo’s and LaBonge’s districts very, very well.