Assembly District 54 serves a large area of central Los Angeles, as well as Inglewood, Culver City, and the hillside communities of Ladera Heights and View Park-Windsor Hills. With the resignation of Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas due to health issues, the area will see a special election on April 3rd to fill the seat through the end of the current term in December 2018.
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas had been a disappointing representative on Bike the Vote L.A.’s issues, which was surprising in light of the strong positions his father and mentor, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, had taken on active transportation. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas appeared to have a strong connection with gas and fracking companies as well as California’s oil lobby (CIPA), and the positions he took on transportation and the environment consistently earned him low grades from CalBike, the California League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.
With Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ resignation, the opportunity to elect a progressive transportation leader is an important one: AD54 is home to two of L.A.’s newest light rail lines and many corridors designated as part of Los Angeles Vision Zero’s High Injury Network. Bike The Vote L.A. received promising responses from several candidates.
For a primary with such a large field, our AD54 election committee decided to provide letter grades for candidates based on their responses and experience, with the possibility of making an endorsement for the general election in late 2018. Individual summaries for responding candidates are listed below, along with a link to each candidate’s full response to Bike The Vote L.A.
AD54 Candidate: Steve Dunwoody
Steve Dunwoody has positioned himself as a progressive champion of the environment, and it is refreshing to see the pivotal role that active transportation plays in his platform. His response to Bike The Vote L.A. expressed a very thoughtful approach to centering transportation around quality transit complimented by transit-oriented development and first mile/last mile connections for those on foot and on bikes. (Note: Steve Dunwoody is running as a write-in candidate for the April 3rd special election, but plans to appear on the ballot as a candidate for the regular June 5th primary election.)
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: A-
AD54 Candidate: Sydney Kamlager
Sydney Kamlager currently serves as district director to State Senator Holly Mitchell (who Bike The Vote endorsed in 2014), and holds an impressive platform on transportation. In her response to Bike The Vote L.A., Kamlager expressed support for encouraging Californians to do less driving, and committed to providing dedicated funding for active transportation. We would have liked Kamlager to offer more fully fleshed-out ideas for implementing transit oriented development, but her overall platform on transportation appears strong. It’s clear that she understands the important position that active transportation plays in helping California to meet its climate goals and eager to engage with safe streets advocates should she be elected.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: B+
AD54 Candidate: Dr. Terpring Piquado
Dr. Tepring Piquado clearly communicated that she recognizes the role that transportation plays in California’s climate policy. To that end, she expressed support for dedicated funding for active transportation and for reducing the amount of driving. While she fell short of full commitments to support clarifying the rights of people on bikes under the vehicle code or methods to reduce speeding on California roads, her response shows a promising approach to transportation policy.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: B+
Bike the Vote L.A. volunteers made repeated efforts to reach all candidates in this race, but after multiple attempts, the following candidates did not respond to our questionnaire. Due to a lack of information about their transportation platforms and/or their available track record, we gave each candidate a grade of C-. While these candidates did not indicate an opposition to active transportation projects, we are disappointed that they did not respond to our questionnaire.
Non-responsive candidates are:
- Glen Ratcliff
- Grayson Pangilinam