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Obama traffic nightmare leaves residents with lingering road rage

We have one word for you, Mr. President, the next time you want to sweep into Los Angeles on a weekday late afternoon: helicopter. That way you can avoid the streets the rest of us mere residents must drive to get around.

President Obama's fundraising mission in Los Angeles may have been a whirlwind trip for him, but it was a tedious slog for thousands of people who found themselves in traffic gridlock from the Westside to Hancock Park.

A two-mile drive on the Westside took 45 minutes. Frustrated drivers vented on the Los Angeles Times' website, among others. No matter their politics, Los Angeles residents were united.

"It was a beautiful thing," said Brentwood resident Myles Berkowitz, commiserating with his neighbors on Montana Avenue. "Young, old, black, white -- everyone was pissed off."

Despite complaints about the street closures as Obama made his way from the Beverly Hilton to the Hancock Park home of producer John Wells (whose credits include "West Wing," "ER," and "Southland") to raise $1 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, no official who had a hand in sweeping the grid of city streets clear for the president would specify what -- if anything -- was done differently.

One law enforcement official did say of the president's trip Monday night that "where he went is a very tricky area."

Residents trying to navigate their way -- at rush hour, no less -- from Beverly Hills to Hancock Park know what a patchwork of surface streets that trip is.

The Secret Service puts together the routes for motorcades along with local and state law enforcement agencies, according to spokesman Edwin Donovan. And traffic disruption is a problem.

"We always look at those issues," Donovan said. "We want to make as small an impact as possible on a community. That's always a consideration."

At least Obama availed himself of the copter solution on Tuesday morning. On his way back to Los Angeles International Airport, his motorcade took him from the Beverly Hilton to an open field near Brentwood. From there, he switched to Marine One to catch a ride to the airport, thus sparing those drivers who would have had to share the 405 Freeway with him.

-- Carla Hall

Comments () | Archives (37)

Finally you guys take no sides and give it to this MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. I like to see headlines: OBAMA, REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER

This is protocal for all the former and current Presidents of the great USA. Everybody I passed was hyped with excitement. The only dissapointment was not in a location to shake his hand. President Obama is AWESOME!

Lets not forget the Bush and Cheney corrupt tab. We are tasting the sloppy mess Bush and Cheney made. We should respect our President, he has earned our respect. He is not a miracle worker, God is. It was great, beyond words to have him on Los Angeles soil. YES!

I agree with (Not that bad) if it was someone to their liking, it would be different, and to Jay Handal, the city gets reimbursed. All those employed/ assigned for the event are paid from a separate fund by the feds.

There's an open field near Brentwood? Where is it? I'd like to frolic in it.

To people who complained about a 1 or 2 mile commute:

Ride a bike.

Or walk.

there was no consideration for LA commuters. I wonder what the real costs are to a city with a high unemployment rate of over 12%.

Presidents have come through before, but this was an extensive closure of the west side.

Presidential motorcades are no stranger to SoCal...However, it appears a lot of people don't take him seriously and really can't believe he's sitting in office...and therefore he doesn't have the right to cause huge traffic snarls...It's all part of the American psyche...

I feel very bad for those who had to endure the traffic mess. I feel worse for ALL of us who are having to endure the Bush Recession.

" I feel worse for ALL of us who are having to endure the Bush Recession. "

I feel MUCH worse for the ignorant mob who are still unaware that Bush tried to prevent this recession in 2006 ... and was blocked by Pelosi and Frank, who insisted that everything was peachy.

I'm also amazed at the smug, self-righteousness of those here who are delighting in the suffering of these drivers and telling them to bike or walk. I guess it's not only Obama who sees others as "little people."

The "just get over it" crowd are being disingenuous. This was not official state business. This was a fundraiser. It could have been held ANYWHERE. Obama thinks you should feel privileged to have your life disrupted for his royal highness and the elites he was visiting. You are mere cannon fodder, a serf. He cares nothing about your lives, nor the cost of this to the taxpayers.

Based upon the stupidity of some of defenders one almost wonders if these are paid White House staffers. Cass Sunstein, our regulatory czar, thinks that's a fine idea to pay shills to post on the internet. Would you put it past Obama?

Hey Steve, who says "ride a bike or walk", It must be nice for you to be so healthy and have no other responibilities than to ride your bike a mile or two and be lost in your own little fantasy world. And all of you Obama apologists. Here are just a couple of reasons why not.
1: What about those who can't ride a bike or walk very far if at all.
2: Some tried to walk but were stopped at the yellow tape a block or two from home and family.
3: Some commute farther than 1 or 2 miles and have more on their plate than a simple 2 mile bike ride.
4: Take the bus! Bus prevented from travelling the normal route, redirected, hours behind schedule, some stops not served because they were on the closed route, people stranded.
This is about the lack of respect, consideration or even common courtesy displayed by this President, who must get to a DEMOCRATIC FUND RAISER during L.A. rush hour regardless of the inconvenience or cost to the commoners.
"Ah just get over it", BS!
The buck stops here. Thanks Mr. Obama

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