Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl attended the spring general meeting of the Del Rey Residents Association on Thursday at Westside Neighborood School. He spoke about and answered questions on issues affecting Del Rey and surrounding areas.
Topics ranged from the city's budget shortfalls, the upcoming budget approval process that starts in April and the impact of staff layoffs on services, concerns about public safety and homelessness, transportation and traffic issues, the importance of community organizations, sidewalk repairs and Rosendahl's plans to seek a third term in office.
As an example of budgetary woes, Rosendahl pointed out his "no" vote on last year's Fire Department budget that featured what he deemed the loss of "valuable services" such as the elimination of an engine company stationed in Pacific Palisades, which is also part of Council District 11.
"I said you can't take it away because PCH is one way to get up there and Sunset is the other," Rosendahl told meeting attendees. "And with the insanity on the 405 you can't get on Sunset in a timely manner, and with the insanity that continues on PCH ... I just don't know how you can get up to the Palisades an engine company."
The councilman questioned the accuracy of fire department statistics on response times and said he told Fire Chief Brian Cummings that he and especially his Palisades constituents don't feel comfortable as a result of the staff reductions.
Rosendahl said the persistently sagging economy has very adversely affected the federal government's ability to aid local governments and a major drop in revenue from sales tax has put severe strains on the city's ability to provide quality services.
In reference to recent burglaries that have taken place in the community, Rosendahl emphasized the importance of neighborhood watch participation.
"First responders are us, neighborhood watch is us," he said.
Traffic concerns—especially the amount of cars from the South Bay and south Los Angeles passing through his district on their way to work in Santa Monica—were also on Rosendahl's mind. He advocated "smart growth" urban planning that favors multifamily affordable housing centered around local bus stops and train stations to reduce the number of one-passenger cars on the road.
A Green Line subway extension to Los Angeles International Airport and the forthcoming Expo Line light-rail route linking downtown L.A. with the Westside were also key transportation improvements that Rosendahl mentioned.
"Measure R is the only ... real good transportation story to tell you," Rosendahl said, referring to the "30-year, $30 billion cash flow project with 12 major projects, and we are going to accelerate those projects so we get them done in 10 years."