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Highlights from the CD11 Candidate Forum

Rabbi Morley Feinstein, Jeff Hall, Tina Hess, Odysseus Bostick,  Mike Bonin, Fred Sutton and Brian SelemThe Brentwood News, along with University Synagogue and the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) recently sponsored a “Meet the Candidates,†forum. Five candidates seeking to replace Bill Rosendahl outlined their positions to an audience of over 100.

After a welcome by Rabbi Morley Feinstein, Councilman Bill Rosendahl made a surprise appearance to welcome the candidates for his seat. Brentwood News Editor & Publisher, who moderated the panel discussion, presented Councilman Rosendahl with a big poster made from a Brentwood News issue with the councilman.

The last-minute arrival of the previously unknown write-in candidate, Brian Selem, took the count from four to five candidates. Tina Hess is currently serving as Deputy ChieBill Rosendahl and Jeff Hallf of Complex and Special Litigation of the Criminal Branch of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. Mike Bonin is the Chief of Staff for current 11th District council member, Bill Rosendahl. Frederick Sutton is a Brentwood native who previously served on the WLA Neighborhood Council. Odysseus Bostick is a former teacher, Westchester resident and father of three. Write-in candidate, Brian Selem, is a realtor in Brentwood who lives in Mar Vista.

Two issues were foremost on the agenda; the traffic crisis and the budget crisis.

All the candidates agree that traffic is a major problem on the Westside. Bostick and Selem felt the solution is to be found in the transportation infrastructure. Selem said it was necessary to “Get people out of their vehicles.†Bostick believes it would help to increase moderate-income hOdysseus Bostick and Brian Selemousing in business corridors and tax incentives for hiring employees who live within a mile of their work.

Sutton discussed lower-cost solutions like synchronizing lights, contra-flow “zipper lanes,†where lanes are coned off to allow more cars to go in the busier direction, as is done in Honolulu. Bonin touted his role in facilitating the Expo Line. He said he believes the 405-widening project is “stupid,†and that added lanes will just be filled with more cars. His focus is to remove “2% – 3% of cars†from the street, which, he said, could result in as much as a 10% – 15% traffic decrease. Hess was concerned with the need for more parking lots to mitigate driving in search of a parking place.

On the budget crisis, Bostick called for budget and pension reform. Sutton agreed that pension reform is key; specifically he discussed salary reform, health care and modified benefits to lower pension rates. Selem said he believed that budget shortfalls are tied to rent control policies that caused property value loss and foreclosures. He said that the current city council office was responsible for rent control that devastated the real estate market.
Bonin said that the city workforce has been reduced by 5,300 personnel. Bostick implied this was a gimmick, and that most of these personnel had merely been shifted from the City’s payroll to that of the DWP. Bonin discussed new technologies that would reduce work hours such as iPads for police. Hess identified pension reform, budget inefficiencies and the need to increase revenues.

A member of the audience complained that construction noise in the neighborhood was in violation of a city ordinance. Bonin responded that lack of enforcement of city laws was a “pet peeve.†That resulted in the evening’s brightest fireworks.

Bostick said he was “glad to hear†that it was Bonin’s “pet peeve†because he said that his wife went to Bonin’s office to complain about non-enforcement of the leaf-blower statute, and claimed that Bonin stated that the City “would not enforce it.†Hess chimed in, saying Bonin has “been one of those people who called off enforcement programs.â€

The candidates were asked to comment on Green Hollow Square. Sutton commented that the architect should make the necessary concessions to honor the Barry Building’s historic preservation status. Hess said the project was indicative of over-densification of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods, traffic mitigation problems and land use and CUP issues. Bonin said he believes that the project can be downsized and completed with results everyone can live with. “We need to stop being so against development,†said Selem. “We need to add jobs to the economy and make things grow.†Bostick said he could not support the project because of increased traffic and density.

Bonin described himself as a “lefty,†a “progressive†and a community organizer. Hess portrayed herself as the lone woman in the race. Sutton is running as the local boy from outside City Hall. Bostick positioned himself as a father and teacher. Selem is concerned with better emergency services, jobs and development.

To watch the video, go to:
http://www.unisyn.org/media/archive/vod.html.
Click on “Meet the Candidates 2/7/2013.â€

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