Newsom should call the "Healthy Saturdays" bluff
The SF Bicycle Coalition and their allies in SF are poised to make another push to close part of Golden Gate Park to autos on Saturdays. In anticipation of Mayor Newsom's report on the study he promised when he vetoed the park closure ordinance several months ago, the SFBC make an empty threat to go to the ballot if Newsom doesn't toe the progressive line on the issue:
After Newsom killed the legislation, backers of the "Healthy Saturdays" plan contemplated putting the issue on the November ballot, but backed off at the last minute when Newsom said he would work on coming up with a negotiated compromise. And if that doesn't happen Shahum said, there is always next year's fall ballot---which just happens to be when the mayor's race will be decided. The Bicycle Coalition endorses candidates, and getting the group's nod of approval is coveted. "These politicians want to look green, and there are only so many things they can do at the local level," Shahum said.
Mayor Newsom should call their bluff, since city voters already rejected closing the park on Saturdays twice on a single ballot in 2000. (The numbers: Proposition F---which progressives supported---lost 55% to 45%, and Proposition G, which they opposed, lost 62% to 38%. And the anti-car folks have always opposed the underground garage, both before and after city voters passed Proposition J in 1998, 58% to 42%). The mayor needs to remember that these people didn't vote for him in the first place, and they never will. The SFBC and its allies all voted for Gonzalez. He'll be risking nothing by calling their bluff.
In his veto message, Newsom emphasized complaints about people parking in the contiguous neighborhoods when that part of the park is closed to autos on Sundays, which of course is an issue progressives never mention, along with access for families, the elderly, and the handicapped, who are not likely to cycle or rollerblade to the park.
BeyondChron, which rarely strays "beyond" the confines of the leftist ideological box, adds its amen to the current SFBC line:
Unfortunately, for now the Bike Coalition has been forced into a more passive stance due to circumstance. The coalition has had their hands full fighting an injunction against the city's bike plan. According to [Andy]Thornley, the ballot effort seemed like too much of a "stretch of energy and resources" given their current projects, but if some meaningful effort is not conveyed on behalf of the mayor's office by next summer the coalition is "very serious" about going to the ballot.
Woof, woof! Newsom should say, "Go ahead, punk: Make my day and take it to the People!"
Thornley is the same Bicycle Coalition guy the Bay Guardian quoted last year: "We need to take space away from cars." That's what this is really about, the continuing jihad against autos in San Francisco. These are the same people who opposed the new garage in the park, which was a $50 million gift to the city from the city's rich people. They hate anything that makes it convenient to drive in the city.
And there's this: The litigation is against the City of San Francisco, not the SF Bicycle Coalition, which is not a party to the suit, though the Bicycle Plan essentially represents the Coalition's wish-list.