Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Public Comment at the LA Metro Board

I spoke before the LA Metro board two weeks ago about how I was almost hit by a Metro bus. The video explains all the details of the incident:

The male voice speaking after me is Mayor Villaraigosa. It was pretty thrilling to look him in the eye and tell my story. After I stepped down from the podium, several high-level reps from the metro gave me their cards and asked me to email them, including Chief Operating Officer Carolyn Flowers.

The size and formality of the room, as well as the presence of the County Board of Supervisors and the Mayor, all surprised me. I was expecting something more along the lines of the tiny, crowded, and informal Transportation Committee Meeting I had attended the week before. (You can see me at the very right edge of the picture, standing).

It's very easy to make a public comment before the Metro Board. All you do is arrive a few minutes before the meeting, fill out a public comment card, and then wait your turn. If there are a lot of cards, as was the case at this meeting, you will get one minute to speak, although they are usually pretty lax about letting people go over the time if they are actually getting somewhere.

I'm glad Stephen Box encouraged me to come speak and that he accompanied me to the meeting and made sure I talked to the right people. He said, and after my experience at the board meeting I agree, that the squeaky wheel gets the grease! My conviction to keep riding is renewed. Each time I ride, I contribute in a tiny, personal way to a reduction in air pollution, and to the education of other vehicles who learn how to share the road with me. My conviction to take accompanying political action has never been stronger. Each time I organize with my fellow cyclists and demand accountability from our elected representatives, we wield our political power to make a more bikable and livable Los Angeles possible through large-scale decisions that are made at the government level with public money. A better world will need both personal and political convictions.

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