The Westchester-LAX/Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce billed its annual luncheon speech by the local Los Angeles City Council member as “The State of The City Address.”
But Councilman Bill Rosen-dahl made it clear from the beginning that his remarks Thursday, September 22nd, at the Crown Plaza Hotel at LAX would be about “The State of Bill Rosendahl — 11 Weeks After Taking His City Council Seat.”
Rosendahl told the chamber members he would be pleased to return next year “where he could reflect on a year of activity after he had had some experience” as councilman and resume the traditional “State of the City Address.”
But for the moment, the topic was all Bill Rosendahl.
Rosendahl again emphasized his staff.
“The most important thing is to have a team around me that reflects my energy so we can get things done,” the councilman said.
And, indeed, it is about energy. Rosendahl has spread that “energy” to his “citizen staffers” — citizens that Rosendahl plucked out of the various communities in his district and transformed into “citizen staffers.”
Rosendahl pointed to John Crosse of Playa del Rey, who “ran Hyperion (Treatment Plant) and he is already helping me with the environment.”
He also noted Laurie Sale, whom Rosendahl said is helping Rosendahl’s “mandate on education.”
Loyola Marymount University is developing an intern program “where students can get credit for helping me on several issues as development and traffic,” Rosendahl said.
No doubt using the citizen servants often works, expanding the ability of Rosendahl’s staff.
But occasionally it leads to embarrassment, as when one over-eager “citizen staff” sent us a press release involving a Pacific Palisades issue that we would not have printed.
But this eager beaver didn’t stop with just sending us a press release that was not suitable for our paper, she demanded to know when the press release would be printed and finished up with a dandy little demand: “Please let Mr. Rosendahl know within two days when you plan to publish this notice.”
Much amusement and chortling around the news room before this missive found itself in the big round trash barrel.
LAX AIRPORT PLAN — Then Rosendahl went into his barrage against the proposed $11 billion expansion plan at Los Angeles International, left behind by former Mayor James Hahn and Rosendahl’s predecessor, Cindy Miscikowski.
Hahn’s LAX project was pretty much dead until it was rescued by Miscikowski, who labeled the acceptable portions of the plan “green-light” projects and controversial portions “yellow-light” projects.
“We will get rid of these yellow lights. They will all be green,” Rosendahl said. “We will get all the green acts. We are concerned with safety” at LAX, Rosendahl said, “but we will not continue to put passengers into an airport that is already packed.”
“We will call the shots on the ground,” the councilman said, acknowledging that federal officials have jurisdiction over air movements in and out of LAX.
“We will not let Orange County get away with not having their share of air traffic,” Rosendahl emphasized.
GROUND TRAFFIC — On the issue of ground traffic, Rosendahl said that when the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation director resigned recently, as he went out the door, he told Rosendahl about traffic designations in the city.
“The city ranks traffic on a scale of one to ten, ten being gridlock. Your entire district is a ten,” Rosendahl said he was told by the resigning traffic director.
HOUSING PROJECTS — Fifty-eight percent of residents in Rosendahl’s district are renters, he said.
“We require affordable housing in all housing,” he added. “There are 80 projects in the pipeline and 40 are significant,” he warned. “I am for all housing but we have to put transportation in place.”
Rosendahl has asked for a survey of housing in his district and wants to study whether ICOs (interim control ordinances) and building moratoriums “make sense.”
“It is a serious issue — an issue that will not go away,” he said.
JEFFERSON POSTAL SITE — Regarding a 20-acre site owned by the U.S. Postal Service on Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road in the Del Rey area, Rosen-dahl wants the Postal Service to turn over its now-unused parcel to the city for $1.
But Rosendahl adds that the Postal Service replied, “No way, it’s a valuable property.”
“I reminded them of the city firemen we sent to New Orleans and they saved more than 500 people.
“We are all hooked together,” Rosendahl said, repeating a comment he made during his swearing in ceremonies on Venice Beach in July.
NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCILS — Rosendahl has been appointed chairman of the Los Angeles City Council committee dealing with Neighborhood Councils and the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
“In 2006, we have to revisit the Neighborhood Council issue,” he said.
Rosendahl has eight Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils in his district and he said, “The Venice one I am so thrilled” about.
Venice neighbors recently voted out a Neighborhood Council dominated by “progressives.”
“I am progressive and I thought the leaders of the progressives, like Jim Smith, Susan Thompson, Emily Waters” deserved praise for the way they responded to the election, he said. “They did not challenge the election.”
Rosendahl also noted that the new president of Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council is a Republican and was a Flora Gil Krisiloff supporter in the last council election.
As for those who didn’t win election to the Neighborhood Council, Rosendahl said, “It is going to be my hope that we will work together with Neighborhood Councils.”
TRANSPORTATION — Rosendahl sees the Expo light rail line going all the way to the beach in the next ten years.
“We will have a link coming down Lincoln Boulevard, hooking up with the Green Line,” he said.
In the past, Rosendahl has talked about being “joined at the hip” with the smaller cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
The councilman talked about working together with “the smaller cities” to achieve a regional transportation solution.
During his Venice Beach swearing in ceremonies in July, he practically jumped off the stage to physical embrace Santa Monica mayor Pam O’Connor, saying, “We are adopting Santa Monica as ours.”
But last week, when asked about a new ordinance passed by the Santa Monica City Council to dedicate curb parking lanes on Lincoln Boulevard to buses, Rosendahl backed off.
The Santa Monica Council has asked Rosendahl to support a dedicated curb bus lane on Lincoln Boulevard from Santa Monica to the airport.
The “small cities” that Rosendahl had earlier supported suddenly became piranha sucking off sales tax revenue and other development financial benefits from Los Angeles while dumping all of the traffic for such projects onto Los Angeles streets.
Santa Monica’s ultimate dream is to create a park-and-ride at LAX and then carry all those Santa Monica employees up Lincoln Boulevard curb lanes in big buses, Rosendahl said.
“It doesn’t do anything for us. It hurts my shops and it hurts my pedestrians. I want to see how their first phase works.
“I told Santa Monica you’ve got to work with me on my issues.”
Among Rosendahl’s issues with Santa Monica is that city’s refusal to set aside dedicated curb lanes for buses on Wilshire Boulevard.
“I only have a mile of Wilshire Boulevard in my district, but we need to have dedicated bus lanes on Wilshire all the way from Santa Monica to downtown L.A.,” Rosendahl said.
Rosendahl also wants Santa Monica to cooperate with Los Angeles neighbors who live adjacent to Santa Monica Airport and suffer from airport noise and pollution east of the airport in West Los Angeles and south of the airport in Mar Vista.
Rosendahl says Mar Vista residents are also impacted by traffic generated by the new Bundy Campus of the Santa Monica College. Neighbors don’t want the college traffic flowing from Airport Avenue south of the airport into Mar Vista streets.
HAPPY NEW YEAR — We too are heading into a new year, as our Argonaut fiscal year ends Friday and a new one begins Saturday.
We want to thank all our readers, contributors and, of course, our advertisers who have gotten us through another year — and our most successful one at that.
It’s hard to realize that The Argonaut will now be in its 35th year of publication.
A lot has changed in the local area during the past 35 years.
Everyone seems to be moaning and groaning these days about traffic and density, but we all continue to live here.
This morning, when we woke up to another beautiful morning, it was easy to see why so many of us want to stay here.
And why so many others are lining up for those new residential units still under construction.
Learning to live with the newcomers, their vehicles and their new residential units takes a lot of tolerance, but we think the rewards of living here still outnumbers the negatives.
As they say, if you don’t like the crowds, you can always move to the middle of the Nevada desert. We’re staying put, thank you.
And a happy Rosh Hashanah, everybody.