Los Angeles Mayoral Race: Who Will Help Architects?

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In case you’ve missed it (and you certainly wouldn’t be alone), Los Angeles is voting for mayor tomorrow. And if you’re an architect, planner, or design lover, you probably want to know who will serve your interests. There are a number of resources, starting, of course, with the candidates’—Eric Garcetti’s and Wendy Greuel’s— web sites. You should also have a look at the AIA/LA’s groundbreaking candidates’ forums, moderated by city planning commissioner Bill Roschen and LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. Among so many other debates, another favorite was this one, hosted by KCRW radio host Warren Olney.

On specific issues, the candidates seem to hold similar stances on many key issues in our fields. Both candidates say they support dense development around transit corridors, moving ahead more quickly with the city’s long-delayed community plans, merging the city’s departments of planning and building, and extending Measure R, the sales tax increase that is raising billions for public transit in the city. (As for more specific takes on transportation, this LA Times piece breaks it down pretty well.) Both favor a business tax cut (a relief to small design businesses?), and both also support the Hollywood Community Plan, which many see as a harbinger for a far denser Los Angeles.

In the AIA forums, Greuel said she supported the establishment of a deputy mayor for architecture and design (while standing by the city architect, Deborah Weintraub), and said she supported embracing LA’s individuality while also learning from other cities’ innovations.  She hoped to lead the public in the city’s quest to figure out “what we want to be when we grow up.” Garcetti touted the growth of Hollywood under his watch and his improvements around Sunset Junction and the Silver Lake reservoir, and pushed for community-led planning and more visionary thinking. He pushed for having “the strength to lead but the humility to listen,” said “we have to be courageous enough to fail,” and added, “you can’t stop the momentum. You have to continue moving forward.”

Most important of all, if you’re an Angeleno, don’t forget to vote!

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