President Barack Obama descends upon the lot of Sony Entertainment in Culver City on Thursday, bringing with him what is almost guaranteed to be drastic change without much hope for Los Angeles’ already hellish traffic conditions.
Obama, who announced his campaign for re-election earlier this month, is expected to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 2:45 p.m., before making the approximately 9 mile trip northeast to the Sony Pictures Entertainment compound in Culver City for the 4:30 fundraiser. Several thousands of people are expected to attend the event, which is fetching ticket prices ranging from $100 to $2,500, and will feature actor Jamie Foxx as a special guest. The afternoon fundraiser will be followed by a more intimate dinner for about 60 people, each of whom are reportedly shelling out $35,800 for the privilege of attending. A later dinner will be held at the Tavern in Brentwood.
According to LA Observed, the President will stay overnight in the Los Angeles area, leaving at approximately 8:55 a.m. on Friday, pretty much assuring that many commuters will find themselves inconvenienced — or outright stranded — on a second day.
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The negative impact that Obama’s visit will have on Los Angeles traffic will most likely be extreme — LA Observed notes that the city has already issued a traffic advisory lasting from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow, and according to NBC LA, Culver City High School has rearranged its schedule so that students and parents can get out of the area before Obama’s arrival.
If history is any indication, those measures might not be nearly enough. Obama’s visits to the area have traditionally yielded horrific conditions for Los Angeles motorists. An August 2010 fundraiser at the home of “West Wing” producer John Wells led to widespread gridlock and closures of major thoroughfares. A later visit, in October, was somewhat more merciful on the city’s commuters, mostly due to Obama’s use of the Marine One helicopter — which, while lessening the burden on drivers, took its toll on air travelers, as the FAA placed a temporary flight restriction on Los Angeles air space.
Obama will most likely rake in a few bucks during his L.A. fundraising events tomorrow, but with gas prices edging up against $5 per gallon and hundreds, if not thousands, likely to be stuck in traffic, he might end up garnering more actual votes in the area if he stayed home instead.