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Leader Editorial: It's time for sidewalks on Screenland Drive

The opinion of the Leader

August 23, 2013

It's a timeworn practice for politicians to make promises to voters while hitting the campaign trail. Sometimes, once the candidate's election has been secured, those promises are kept; other times they are not — often because they were never tenable in the first place.

This week Vice Mayor David Gordon is expected to follow through on promises he made to residents of Screenland Drive and vote against the installation of sidewalks in the 1800 and 1900 blocks of that residential street leading to Luther Burbank Middle School.

Gordon's been on the losing side of this battle for years now. The last time it came to a vote, in March 2011, the Council approved the project 4-1. And yet Gordon has pushed it before council colleagues again, his hopes no doubt buoyed by his successful reelection and the seating on the council of Bob Frutos, who has also gone on record as opposing the Screenland sidewalks.

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Gordon has maintained that an alternative to this project needs to be identified because most of those homeowners have adamantly stated they do not want sidewalks lining the front of their properties.

It doesn't appear to matter to those residents that school-age children, their parents and grandparents are forced to take their chances in the street when traveling to classes or special events on the campus.

Nor do they seem to take into consideration the fact that future grant applications will be jeopardized if the city does not use the $125,000 in federal grant money that was awarded for the project more than two years ago.

This matter was supposedly resolved a long time ago. While those property owners along Screenland who oppose the sidewalks may heartily approve of Gordon's tenacity in this case, the safety needs of the schoolchildren and other community members who traverse the street to gain access to the campus must prevail. It's time for Gordon — and the sidewalks' opponents — to back off for the greater good.

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