The following article was provided by City Watch LA.
Mayoral Candidate Kevin James came out strong and turned up the heat, even as he was taken to task by the moderators for his positions on transit funding, density bonuses, inclusionary zoning, and the Hollywood Community Plan.
Bill Roschen, President of LA’s Planning Commission, and Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic for theLA Times, pitched five “game changing” elements as the starting point for the AIA/LA’s third evening of conversations with the candidates and James matched them with big picture vision and acute sensitivity to detail.
“The design agenda under Mayor James would start by escalating AIA/LA involvement with significant participation from the architectural community,” said James, “ and my vision would be to do a better job of including the public in the process and it would result in great advances in public transportation and an urban design element that comes with a vision for the future without losing sight of our past and our history.”
James pushed back when the Mayor’s Office was referred to as the Bully Pulpit, contending that he preferred to think in terms of the Power of the Podium and the Power of the Public. He also took every opportunity to introduce elements of his campaign platform, including long term budgeting, a commitment to fixing infrastructure, repairing education, establishing a business friendly city and bringing an end to corruption within City Hall.
Roschen opened the evening by presenting his ideas on the democratization of land use. James responded “The most important thing neighborhood councils do is handle Planning, Land Use, and Mobility issues,” said James, “ and it’s what brings out the crowds.”
He continued, “If I am elected, one of the things I will do for Neighborhood Councils is to give them the authority to select Commissioners.”
James also promised that as Mayor, he would continue with his radio show, offering the public a weekly opportunity to call in and talk about anything and everything, as long as it is related to life in Los Angeles.
The AIA/LA conversations are two way streets and both Roschen and Hawthorne take time to present their vision for LA’s future while pushing and prodding the candidates to reveal themselves as well as their attitudes and knowledge of architecture, planning, land use, and mobility.
“This is a pivotal Mayoral race for Angelenos,” said Hawthorne, “and our goal is to initiate conversations that get these candidates to think about land use and mobility while getting architects to think about the political process.”
“The intricate relationship between architecture, land use, planning policy, mobility, historic preservation and a vision for the future must be established now,” said Will Wright, Director of Government and Public Affairs for AIA/LA, “and these conversations with the candidates are the place to start and the public is invited to join us.”
There are two more AIA/LA Mayoral Candidate Forums taking place over the next two Friday evenings. Wendy Greuel is scheduled for Friday, March 9, followed by Eric Garcetti on Friday, March 16.
Visit City Watch LA for video of the AIA/LA conversation with LA Mayoral Candidate Kevin James.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the voice of the architecture profession, dedicated to serving and empowering its members through advocacy, educational and outreach programs as well as educating the public on the value and importance of architecture.
City Watch LA is LA’s opinion, news and information website and newsletter. CityWatch reports and provides perspective on the issues that face us in Los Angeles at the neighborhood level. Our mission is to promote and facilitate civic engagement and neighborhood empowerment, and to hold area government and its politicians accountable.