The City Council elections are just around the corner, and so it's time for RiR to make a few picks. I'll be trying to confine this analysis to transportation issues and immediately related subjects, such as land-use and development.
Ward 2: Andy Melendrez
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Councilman Melendrez is the only friend public transport has on the current City Council. I am a little upset with him over the Greyhound issue, when he stated that he didn't want Greyhound in his ward, but it seems like he has changed his opinion over time. He was a vocal proponent of the multi-modal transit center, and the only council member not to vote against Greyhound in Downtown. I only wish he could have been more effective in this fight, rather than being hampered by conflict-of-interest regulations.
Candidate Rasso is running on a law-and-order platform. We have seen over the last few months what that means for public transit... a concentrated campaign against it, centered around "vagrancy."
Candidate Smith seems to be a viable candidate. He mentions the City's Green Action Plan among his platform. His wife is a public school teacher, which should require some sensitivity to local education issues. He seems to genuinely support education and reinvestment in our area, and so seems to be a good second pick. However, he completely leaves out transportation in his platform, so I had to go with the candidate who's record I know.
I am, by the way, a Ward 2 resident, so this is the most important race for me.
Ward 4: Paul Davis
Candidate Davis does not mention transportation in his platform, but he does mention freeways and land use. He supports bringing jobs and housing to Riverside, which will, as he puts it, get people "off our freeways". He also mentions that he supports public space and parks, which are essential for any urban area to function properly. (If done right... I can recommend good readings on the subject.)
Councilman Schiavone voted against Greyhound, and has a record that makes him particularly transit-unfriendly. 8 years is enough.
Ward 6: Write-in?
I can't, in good conscience, make a pick in the Ward 6 race. None of the candidates support the goals and values of responsible, sustainable development and transportation. Write me in if you like, though I don't think I'm eligible (as I said, I live in Ward 2). Better yet, find a good progressive out there who'd fight for our city and our planet, and write him/her in.
Councilwoman Hart is out for obvious reasons.
Candidate Alfaro seems to mean well, but half of her statements on the IE Craigslist page (which was one of the only paces I could find anything out about her) were about stopping "multi-story projects". So... more sprawl, eh?
Candidate Scherer says nearly nothing about transportation and land use, but his "conservative political philosophy" (grounded "in his religion") says to me that he'd like to pare back government. That's not the way we need to go in this recession. Government includes transportation services.
UPDATE: Frequent commenter twodogkd mentions that it's her belief that "Bill Scherer may be a good candidate and would support keeping Greyhound in Riverside." Apparently he is against the eminent domain abuse that is forcing the bus operator out of their terminal, consistent with his belief in private enterprise. Her comments are below this post. My response is below her comments.
So there you are. Riding in Riverside's picks for the 2009 City Council elections. Ballots go out May 4th!