On September 20, the LA City Council approved the deeply flawed STAP program and contract with Tranzito-Vector. Despite widespread public objections, the Council voted 12-1 to approve the contract.
While we are disappointed with the outcome, we want to let you know that Scenic LA members’ actions made a difference.
· During the Council’s consideration of STAP, Scenic Los Angeles generated nearly 25,000 emails to city officials—including 11,000 leading up to the Council’s vote—demanding that they develop a better contract that meets Los Angeles’ dire street furniture needs without compromising our safety, scenic beauty, and privacy.
· As a result of those messages, the conversation at the Council’s hearing shifted. Our call for equity, transparency, and privacy protection entered the Councilmembers’ discussion. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who delivered the sole dissenting vote, voiced our concern about the lack of committed funding and questioned the program’s ability to deliver on its lofty promises.
· In response to concerns about transit shelter placements, the Council asked the Bureau of Street Services to develop an equitable implementation plan and to provide monthly status reports.
· Together, we have built a record with the comments submitted that will lay the foundation for legal action.
The battle is not over: Looking to our next steps
Although Council has approved the contract, the fight is not over. Lawsuits challenging the approval are likely to emerge, and upcoming elections will bring new voices and perspectives to the Council and the City Attorney’s office.
Scenic Los Angeles is in discussion with land use attorneys with expertise in CEQA litigation, and it is our plan to file an appeal to challenge the STAP program’s approval prior to the 30-day deadline for filing.
We urge you to consider making a donation to allow us to continue this important work. Lawsuits are expensive endeavors and we must be prepared to follow this path through the legal process. The City’s use of a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the program’s environmental clearance was an inappropriate way to address environmental issues and concerns.
Further, the introduction of the new LAMC that permits new advertising structures on the public right-of-way was improperly inserted into that MND creating a situation whereby the MND could not possibly identify impacts or address mitigations to answer those impacts. In short, the Council’s ratification of the program, and its environmental review document appears to be a politically influenced decision rather than one designed to meet the legal requirements for reviewing a program of this scope. It should and must be challenged.
Join us in this fight.