Los Angeles City Council candidate Jules Bagneris III said Sunday that if elected, one of his top priorities will be to preserve the horse country of the northeastern San Fernando Valley.
At a Sunday morning press conference at Lake View Terrace, Bagneris, one of seven candidates challenging 7th District Councilman Ernani Bernardi, proposed a moratorium on growth in areas where horses are stabled. Northeast Valley communities such as Sylmar and Lake View Terrace are among the last places in Los Angeles with access to riding trails where residents can keep horses, he said.
“I don’t own any horses, but I love horses, and it is necessary that we have the proper trails and maintain open space,” Bagneris said. “It is very important to safeguard existing trails and not do away with rural areas. This area is rather unique.”
But equestrians in the northeast Valley--like horse lovers in Glendale and Burbank--have complained that residential developments are rapidly isolating stables from horse trails, forcing riders onto busy streets to reach equestrian paths.
Bagneris criticized Bernardi for failing to respond to equestrians’ concerns about the problem. Bernardi, he said, sided with developers and opposed a trail around a proposed condominium complex at Osborne Street and Foothill Boulevard in Lake View Terrace.
More than 100 horses are stabled within a one-mile radius of the proposed development and use the area to get to nearby riding trails in Hansen Dam Park and Little Tujunga Canyon, Bagneris said. An equestrian trail around the complex, he said, would have protected riders from the increased traffic the building will generate.
“Bernardi was very insensitive when it came to this issue,” Bagneris said. “He showed total disregard for the needs of his constituents who are equestrians.”
Bernardi refused to comment on Bagneris’ charge. However, he said he has represented equestrian interests very well. “We’ve got a new plan under study,” he said, refusing to provide specifics of the plan.
Bagneris pledged that if elected he would immediately establish an equestrian advisory committee to develop a plan to preserve existing riding trails.
The committee would be charged with creating a comprehensive trail map of the 7th District and proposing new trails that would be links to those in adjoining washes, mountains, forests and riverbeds, he said. Bagneris also proposed a $12.5-million city bond issue to finance equestrian trails and public riding arenas across the city of Los Angeles.