Monday, November 30, 2009

"You are a sad and angry old man..."

This is pretty stupid stuff, Shawn [his comment below in italics] and long-winded, too. As I've said before, my strictures don't apply to all cyclists, though, at the very least, they certainly do to a large minority of cyclists, given the awful behavior I witness every day on city streets. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn't, what's the problem?

I have more than "vitriol to spew" on this blog---though I do indeed spew some of that. I'm the only one in the city media to pay attention to what the bike movement and its enablers in City Hall are trying to do to our streets. I read the Bicycle Plan, the EIR on the Plan, all the traffic and bike reports put out by MTA and then comment on it all on this blog, which is more than you can say for anyone else in SF, including all the progressive blogs. Can't take it? Then don't read my blog.

Good intentions are not enough. The many exhibitionist demos and activities on city streets are more or less "benign," but when you start redesigning city streets to cater to a small minority of bike "activists," you go too far. (I don't think Critical Mass is benign, however, since it screws up traffic for people trying to get home from work, including Muni passengers, and it costs city taxpayers $10,000 a month for the police escort.) The city would have saved a lot of money and time if it had simply followed the law in the first place and done an EIR on the Bicycle Plan. If our litigation was nothing but a "tantrum," why didn't the court just throw it out? The answer: we had the law and the facts on our side, and the city was in gross violation of the most important environmental law in California.

I know what's not going to solve Muni's on-time problems---implementing the Bicycle Plan on, for example, Second Street, Fifth Street, Cesar Chavez, etc., which as the EIR tells us, is going to delay Muni lines on those and other streets in the city. "Significant unavoidable impacts" is the exact phrase the EIR uses to describe the Plan's impacts on city streets and Muni. You did read---or at least look at---the EIR didn't you, Shawn? Why do I suspect that you, like every other bike "activist" in the city, didn't bother to do that basic homework? There's nothing in your windy comment to indicate that you have any specific knowledge of anything we're discussing.
I don't doubt your sincerity, but, like good intentions, it's not enough. I'm taking your view into consideration, Shawn, and, like your previous comments, I find it lacking in substance. On civility: if someone insults me, I often reply in kind. Why should I take shit from you and your comrades? If you don't like my opinions or the way I express them, tough shit. If you're really interested in this issue, why don't you inform yourself?

"You're just a sad and angry old man sucking on the government teat and using the legal system to antagonize people who piss you off because they're not as sad and angry as you are."
Ad hominem attack, anyone? I'm neither sad nor angry, actually, though I am pretty old. You seem to be the one who's angry. Again, we had the facts and the law on our side in our successful litigation. Your side---the city---was caught flagrantly violating an important law, which they apparently assumed they could get away with. It really was an attempted coup on behalf of a militant minority of bike fanatics.

Yes, I know you want to change the law so that bicycle plans don't have to do traffic studies before they screw up traffic. And I understand that you and your comrades think that whatever you want to do to our streets is an "improvement," but it aint necessarily so, Shawn. The ultimate judge of what you and the bike fanatics are able to do to our streets will be the people of San Francisco, who have never had a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan. And they never will, will they?

Note that the city had to back off on the planned "improvements" on Second Street, when the people who live on that street objected. Note too that Masonic Ave. has been dropped from the priority list, probably because even MTA realizes that screwing up traffic on that major north/south street---not to mention delaying the #43 Muni line---won't be politically sustainable.

Note too that Judge Busch in his decision last week carefully picked low-impact projects from the list the city provided. He evidently understands how high the stakes are for the majority of people in San Franciso, who won't necessarily see screwing up traffic on their streets as an "improvement."

This is about SF progressivism, since city progs seem to care more about bicycles than they do about the other issues I write about, like homelessness, the Market/Octavia Plan, UC's hijacking the old extension property on Haight Street, etc. Funny how I often get comments when I write about the bicycle fantasy but rarely get any when I write about terrible development projects that are going to degrade the city for generations. The Bay Guardian has a full-time reporter who writes reams about bicycles but they somehow never get around to writing about the awful Market/Octavia Plan---pushed by Supervisor Mirkairmi, the Bicycle Coalition's favorite supervisor, not coincidentally---that rezones more than 4,000 properties in the heart of the city to encourage population density there, including 40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness! The Bicycle Coalition supports the M/O Plan, by the way, apparently because it restricts the number of parking spaces developers will be allowed in new housing projects.

Shawn Allen wrote:

This isn't about "progressivism", Rob. Most people don't give a rat's ass about "saving the planet" or making some sort of political statement. Do all the Latino men riding their bikes to and from work in the Mission identify as "progressive"? Of course not; they're just looking for a cheap and practical way to get around the city. Is everyone in this city—let alone on a bike—"mindless" and "unreflective"? What a ridiculous assertion. I don't automatically assume that everyone behind the wheel of a car is as ignorant or stupid. In fact, most people in this city are perfectly respectful if you give them the chance to be. You, on the other hand, have nothing but vitriol to spew, and it's a shame that any reasonable discussion about the bike plan in which you take part inevitably devolves into another episode of Rob Anderson's Ad Hominem Culture War.
You think it's silly for twenty-somethings to "work on their mommy and daddy issues on the streets"? That seems a lot more benign to me than one antisocial old man acting out his political temper tantrum in the courts to the tune of over $1 million in costs to the city and over 4 years' delay of infrastructure intended to improve personal mobility and public safety. Muni is in the hole and has recently raised fares while simultaneously cutting service. The city's busiest lines, which service a sizable portion of its commuting population, are routinely late, uncomfortably overcrowded, or both. Do you, an aspiring politician, have some ideas about how to solve some of the many transportation-related issues this city faces? Because all I've ever heard from you is violent defense of the status quo. No wonder you so despise "progressives"—you're not really interested in progress at all.

I'm going to quote one of the first entries from this blog in the hopes that you take your own words to heart: "If you can't concede that your political opponents are sincere in their beliefs and actions, you are essentially dehumanizing them: they are simply Evil and no longer part of a civil dialogue. Just as important, you tend to then indulge in a self-righteousness that corrodes your own political sensibilities. Something like this psychological process seems to underly a lot of political and religious fanaticism."

Cyclists (or "progressives") don't have a monopoly on self-righteousness, Rob. Your complete unwillingness to take anyone else's view prevents a civil discourse from taking place. It's clear from the way you talk down to anyone who disagrees with you that you don't give a shit about anyone else.

You're just a sad and angry old man sucking on the government teat and using the legal system to antagonize people who piss you off because they're not as sad and angry as you are. It may take new leadership in City Hall, the Planning Department, and the City Attorney's office to fix the mistakes made by our current administration. It may take changing CEQA to ensure that nuisance challenges like yours don't hold up similar improvements elsewhere in California. But the history of bikes in San Francisco will be written by the victors, and we'll be here a long time after you're dead and gone.

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