Potholes, Rough Streets, Rickety Sidewalks & Badly Trimmed Trees
I do not remember who told me this, but he must have been important. We were at a fundraising party all wearing fancy suits and the Mayor Villaraigosa was there. He started talking about the Director of the Bureau of Street Services for the city, Bill Robertson: "There's a thing about Bill you have to know." At this point, the tone of his voice sounded like it was going to turn into an angry ranting session, but maybe it was the amount of wine he was drinking that misled my thoughts. "Bill will not bullshit you -- he's an honest man."
"Bill Robertson has a distinct understanding of the City and it's infrastructure. He can speak to any group and know issues in their neighborhood," the LACityNerd said in his/her reasoning for crowning Robertson with the CityNerd Award for 2006 City Nerd Department Head. "And though the street system as a whole is not in the condition that even Professor Pothole himself, Bill Robertson, would like to see, he keeps working to address the infrastructure needs with limited resources."
I've seen Bill Robertson present to a neighborhood group before. He brings out visuals, charts, the whole she-bang and makes street operations sound as good as eating chocolate cake for thirty minutes. Listening to his long-term plans for the City of Los Angeles give you hope that the maintenance and building of roads are in good hands.
It should be noted that what I am about to say is something that promotes a group I am involved with, but it was too hard not to write about. Robertson is coming out this next Monday night to the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council meeting to speak to the community about the very issues we all deal with when we leave home every day. He will be joined by George Gonzalez, the City Chief Forester, and Mark Simon who oversees the 50/50 Sidewalk Reconstruction Program (hate sidewalks that suck? He can help).
This trio of city service rock stars will all be talking and hopefully answering as many questions as they can from the public. When people begin to understand how the city works, they can be more effective in making their neighborhoods improve with long-lasting results.
Photo by rappensuncle via Flickr