Austin Beutner at AIA/LA Mayoral Candidate Forum from Michael N. Cohen on Vimeo.
The AIA|LA continued its mayoral candidate forum series last Friday at LAPD Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles with hopeful Austin Beutner (see the first in the series, with Jan Perry, here). LA City Planning Commission President Bill Roschen and LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne talked planning and architecture with the former deputy mayor, "jobs czar," and interim general manager of the LADWP, who was hired by Mayor Villaraigosa to some fanfare back in January of 2010. Beutner's pitch at the forum emphasized better use of resources, especially in infrastructure spending. Along those lines, he attacked the California High-Speed Rail project several times, suggesting that that money be spent elsewhere, such as on a Crenshaw Line station in Leimert Park, or light rail lines elevated above freeways.
Some of the highlights from Friday's proceedings:
-- According to Curbed's unofficial count, Austin Beutner used the word "transparent" or "transparency" a grand total of 15 times.
-- An amusing anecdote from Beutner's time at City Hall: when he arrived, he called a meeting to discuss the much vaunted 12-to-2 plan (one of Mayor Villaraigosa's major policy initiatives from his first term aimed to reduce the number of departments involved in the project approval process from twelve to two). No one showed up because, Beutner claims, no one was working on the plan.
-- Christopher Hawthorne questioned several projects bearing Beutner's fingerprints, especially the proposed NFL stadium Farmers Field, the Broad Museum, and the hiring of Michael LoGrande as the city's planning director in 2009. (Bill Roschen, for his part, voiced strong support for the first year and a half of Planning Director Michael LoGrande's tenure.)
-- Yes, Beutner managed another Zappos plug.
-- In Curbed's opinion, these were the strangest words to come out of Beutner's mouth: in reply to a question from Roschen about preservation (at 1:12:10 in the video), he said "I don't consider land use issues dangerous."
Meanwhile, Beutner telling Hawthorne to "get more informed" about his work in the city was a crowd favorite.
As with last week's forum, a video documenting the whole conversation is already available online (see it above). Next up is Radio Talk Show Host Kevin James.
· Here're Mayoral Candidate Jan Perry's Thoughts on LA Planning [Curbed LA]
· Beutner on Planning Dept, Goldberg's Exit, and Zappos for All [Curbed LA]