Sunday, November 02, 2008

The District 5 race

The Bay Guardian's Tim Redmond (below in italics) is partly right about the D5 race. He of course knows that Mirkarimi has two opponents on the ballot, but neither Owen O'Donnell nor I seem like a threat to actually win the race. Mirkarimi has easily ignored us while downplaying his radical politics. Until last week, O'Donnell was running an issue-free campaign, apparently only trying to raise his name recognition with slickly printed mailers and handouts.

Last week O'Donnell changed tactics with a hard-hitting mailer emphasizing his membership in the Democratic Party while accusing the "rigid ideologue" Mirkarimi of supporting the legalization of prostitution, opposing JROTC in city schools, opposing Mayor Newsom's Community Justice Center, and supporting Prop. H, which moves the city toward a takeover of the city's power system from PG&E.

Except for Prop. H, which he proudly co-authored, it's hard to detect Mirkarimi's political fingerprints on the other issues. I can't find any public statements or news stories linking him to the JROTC issue or to legalizing prostitution, even though it wouldn't be surprising to learn that he opposed JROTC and supported Prop. K. But even if he was clearly on record on these issues, it's doubtful that it would do him any political damage in District 5.

But a citywide campaign will be different. The Murk is playing it safe in this campaign, as if he was already in a citywide race, downplaying, for example, his close political relationship with the SF Bicycle Coalition, not to mention his support for Critical Mass. Since Mirkarimi is apparently considering a run for mayor in 2011, associating himself too closely with the bike people---he understands they aren't universally beloved in SF---legalizing prostitution, or opposing JROTC won't be helpful in a citywide campaign.

Since O'Donnell is a bike guy, too, he isn't using that issue against the Murk. Nor has he shown any interest in the important development issues I've raised, which is typical of city progressives. They get their knickers in a big twist over bicycles but ignore the massive, destructive development schemes being hatched by the city's Planning Dept. and endorsed by Mirkarimi and our supposedly progressive Board of Supervisors.

My campaign, like this blog, has always been about issues. My doorhanger---the only investment I made in my campaign---raises the bicycle issue and the awful development projects supported by the supposedly progressive Supervisor Mirkarimi---the Rincon Hill highrises, the Market/Octavia Plan, and UC's rip-off of the old extension property on lower Haight Street. Mirkarimi has found "common ground" mostly with big developers, the city's bike people, and those adhering to the Bay Guardian's shallow and callow brand of leftism. In any event, anything less than a lopsided victory Tuesday will be a setback for his hopes for higher office.

From the looks of his campaign literature, O'Donnell may have spent as much as Mirkarimi. (I'll check out the numbers in the Ethics Department later this month and post them here.) Like most of the candidates in the 2004 District 5 race, however, O'Donnell will probably disappear as an active presence in city politics after the election, while I'll continue with District 5 Diary, writing about the issues ignored by progressives and both the mainstream and the so-called alternative media. At the very least, my campaign has brought more readers to my blog, thus exposing them to my skeptical views on development, traffic, BRT, the bicycle fantasy, homelessness, and the many shortcomings of progressivism here in San Francisco, aka Progressive Land.


By Tim Remond
Interesting
endorsements from the Chron.. I'm not surprised they gave Ross Mirkarimi the nod in D5; he has no real competition, and has done a great job in office from almost any perspective. But the nice words
he's shown an ability to find common ground on many issues - and has pushed the mayor for more police foot patrols, authored a crackdown on rogue pot clubs and led efforts to ban plastic bags.
fit in with the Chron's obvious bias in this election. Although Mirkarimi can push the political edge as well as anyone on the board (jeez, did the Chron even support the plastic-bag ban?), the daily paper lauds him for "an ability to find common ground."
http://www.sfbg.com/blogs/politics/

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18 Comments:

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Campaign finance tip, Rob: sell reprints of your doorhangers on the internet. They are quite the collector's item in the bike community.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/commuter-cycling-is-soaring-city-says/

October 30, 2008, 5:55 pm
Commuter Cycling Is Soaring, City Says
By Sewell Chan

Based on figures from an annual count of bicyclists conducted since 1984, the New York City Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that commuter cycling rose a remarkable 35 percent between 2007 and 2008.

The data [pdf] are suggestive, not definitive, but officials said they considered the trend to be genuine.

The annual count, known as a screenline count, was first conducted in 1980 and has been done annually since 1984. This year’s count identified 12,583, up from 9,327 in the previous year.

The counts were were historically taken once a year, during the middle of the week for a 12-hour period, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Last year, the Department of Transportation expanded the time window to 18 hours and added two additional counting dates to add more robustness to the sample. (The count was adjusted to allow for a year-to-year comparison.)

The Commuter Cycling Indicator, as the annual tally is known, was conducted at the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg Bridges; at the Whitehall Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry; and along the Hudson River Greenway, at West 50th Street.

According to the department, the 18-hour count showed that over a quarter of the cyclists counted used city streets earlier in the morning and later in the day than previously believed. Certain bike routes have become particularly popular: The number of cyclists crossing the Williamsburg Bridge has quadrupled from 2000 to 2008, to 4,000 on a typical day.

This growth is real, said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, the leading advocacy group for cyclists and pedestrians in New York City. It’s born out by what I see on the streets every day, and we’re reaping the rewards from the city’s investment in bicycling over the last several years. More and better-designed bike lanes are producing more cyclists and more first-time cyclists.

Since 2007, 140 miles of new bicycle routes have been added to the on-street bicycle network.

From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, on the Manhattan side of the entry to the Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges, the department distributed more than 1,500 bicycle lights over the next few days, pegged to the end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend. Cyclists are required under state traffic law to use white headlights and red taillights from dusk until dawn on all New York streets.

This unprecedented increase shows we are well on the way toward our goal of doubling the number of bike commuters, Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner, said in a statement. “As these numbers rise, cyclists should take all safety precautions, while drivers must be vigilant when sharing our streets with this growing population.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So what? What is this supposed to tell us about San Francisco's smug, fanatical bike people and their prog enablers?

 
At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many votes did you get Rob? Did you break 100? Your readers are dying to know how irrelevant you really are!

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

According to the Chronicle, I got 1,298 votes, which isn't bad considering that I didn't do a lot of what can be called campaigning. Owen O'Donnell apparently captured the anti-Murk vote, with 3,780 votes to the Murk's 17,488. You bike people should be concerned that the Murk barely mentioned bikes during his campaign, even leaving the SFBC's endorsement off his lavishly printed doorhanger.

In any event, my credibility is based on my writing on this blog. Is there another blog in SF that deals with these issues? I'll soldier on with District 5 Diary, but O'Donnell will disappear. Except for Ken Garcia in the Examiner and C.W. Nevius in the Chronicle, I'm the only serious online critic city progs have.

 
At 8:41 AM, Anonymous John Sickles said...

I am really glad there is someone out there looking out for my personal safety, and i thank you Rob. Why should us motorists in our metal armor be threatened by those crazy bikes? Why should i have to get to that red light 5 seconds later because some guy on a bike feels like it is his right to transport himself by a 19th century technology. I cannot believe the bikers and their smug attitudes about feeling safe as they get in MY way to go to work, or the grocery store. Don't they know that I am more important than they are? Don't they know that I have places to be, unlike some hippie that wants go for a stupid bike ride? They need to park their bikes, get a haircut, and get a real job!

Thanks again Rob for looking out for us little guys! Keep it up and i am sure you will have a chance next election.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

John's comment nicely exemplifies the maxim, "To a hammer the whole world looks like a nail." John is apparently interested only in the bike issue, even though the development issues I tried to raise are arguably much more important---and potentially destructive---to San Francisco. Speaking of the bike issue, the next thing the bike people and the rest of us will be dealing with is the court-ordered EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which is supposed to be released by Thanksgiving. Will John and other bike people be interested enough to actually read the EIR and engage in serious debate on its recommendations? They haven't thus far shown any interest in the actual contents of the Bicycle Plan or the issues involved in our successful litigation against the city that forced it to comply with the law and do an environmental study of the 500-page Plan.

 
At 10:43 AM, Anonymous John Sickles said...

"Will John and other bike people be interested enough to actually read the EIR and engage in serious debate on its recommendations? They haven't thus far shown any interest in the actual contents of the Bicycle Plan or the issues involved in our successful litigation against the city that forced it to comply with the law and do an environmental study of the 500-page Plan."


HA, that is funny Rob. Actually I am a civil engineer with many more qualifications on this issue than you. Have you ever written an EIR? Conducted the studies necessary to complete an EIR? Are you an educated man? Have you studied transportation planning and engineering? Some of us take the steps to get educated and work in the fields we care about, such as development and transportation planning. I find it funny that make so many assumptions about me.

I have an idea about the recommendations of the EIR when environmental impact is measured by automobile level of service. As an engineer and scientist it makes no sense to measure the impact of bike infrastructure based on car LOS. It may make sense to you, but luckily you are only someone who complains instead of educating them self and working the system from the inside. Too bad there are people like me who actually work in the fields of transportation planning and engineering working against you.

You can get back to me when you prove your qualification to speak about these issues.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You brandish your credentials, John, but you still show no familiarity with the Bicycle Plan or the litigation against the city. The great thing about CEQA is that it provides people with the opportunity to comment on projects before they are implemented, instead of leaving important development issues to so-called experts like you. It takes no special qualifications to read an EIR or have an informed opinion about a project.

"As an engineer and scientist it makes no sense to measure the impact of bike infrastructure based on car LOS."

For someone who thinks he's educated, that's a statement that only reveals that your bias for bikes is built into your conclusion. LOS is based on cars because that's the only sensible way to measure traffic---how long it takes traffic to move through an intersection. Of course you bike people hate LOS because it prevents you from putting in bicycle lanes willy-nilly without doing any traffic studies.

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The adverse LOS argument doesn't hold much water anyway.

Take any SoMa traffic artery, for example. Typically a one-way street with two lanes of parking, three or four traffic lanes, and two little sidewalks for daring peds.

Throughout most of the day, the extra traffic lanes do not facilitate the flow of car traffic, but just result in increased speed.

During rush hour(s), the extra lane capacity is merely a holding area for cars waiting to get onto the jammed-up freeways.

Part of the reason the freeways are so congested is precisely because so many cars can get there all at once (due to the generous SoMa traffic arterials). A critical volume of cars gets to the freeway and then the flow begins to slow and sometimes stop.

Take away a traffic lane, though, and you decrease the flow into the bottleneck, spreading the traffic burden onto the system as a whole.

So you have the exact same number of cars going the exact same distance, but a changed temporal relationship. Traffic happens in time as well as space, remember.

This also means that the same level of pollution OR LESS will get into the air from these vehicles because:

It is the ability of more or less all of the cars going to more or less the same place that causes traffic to become so congested that is stops moving. Spreading the burden of traffic throughout the system keeps that from happening (the same principle is in effect, for example, with the 'one car per red' onramp lights on many freeways).

Not all streets are like SoMa streets, of course, but typically a generous allotment of traffic lanes only increases the speed of motor traffic.

You can have the same number of cars moving through an intersection of Valencia in a given hour as on Guerrero, even with the much higher speeds of Guerrero street (because higher-speed traffic uses more road space).

Because of these principles, it's my view that speeding traffic very often means a mis-allocation of space has happened.

So there is room to re-allocate it, in many cases.

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"LOS is based on cars because that's the only sensible way to measure traffic---how long it takes traffic to move through an intersection."

Really? No way!
Of course LOS is based on cars. However, is it right to judge environmental impact based on LOS? Having more cars on the road moving faster is an environmental benefit? What is biased? The system is biased!

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So we have to make traffic worse in order to make it better? We're getting into "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" territory here. By the way, funny that you bike people rarely mention buses. If we're going to deliberately make traffic worse for cars, we're also going to make it worse for Muni, not to mention emergency vehicles.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Of course LOS is based on cars. However, is it right to judge environmental impact based on LOS? Having more cars on the road moving faster is an environmental benefit? What is biased? The system is biased!"

The system is "biased" toward reality in this instance, since it defines traffic as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and of course bicycles. Are you assuming cyclists don't have to stop at traffic lights and thus LOS doesn't apply to them? The environmental impact that LOS studies try to avoid is traffic jams, which means a lot of motor vehicles idling in traffic, which pollutes the air and degrades the quality of life for everyone.

Still waiting for you anti-LOS folks to address the bus and emergency vehicle issue.

 
At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You bike people"

HA!

Seriously?
It is that kind of talk where you show your true colors as someone who has a vendetta against a group of people that you deem all the same.

 
At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Still waiting for you anti-LOS folks to address the bus and emergency vehicle issue."

Still waiting for you to back up your claims with hard data and fact.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The only critics of the LOS approach to traffic studies in SF are the bike people. That's not a "vendetta"; it's a fact.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Still waiting for you to back up your claims with hard data and fact."

What claims? The burden of proof is on the critics of LOS. Let's see some evidence from you folks that doing away with LOS traffic studies won't make traffic worse.

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't talking about making traffic worse to make it better. Was talking about making it flow more evenly instead of speeding to a bottleneck.

 

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