Thursday, November 26, 2009

"This is not about Rob Anderson"

Streetsblog ( provides a link to yesterday's decision by Judge Busch:

Judge Busch is allowing only 10 of the 22 projects the city proposed implementing between now and the hearing on the adequacy of the city's EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which will happen next June. The projects he's allowing were carefully chosen, since they are among the smallest, have the least impact, and are easily reversible, though I suspect nothing is going to be reversed once it's done. He's also allowing the city to install bike racks and paint sharrows on city streets, low-impact projects that don't take away street parking or traffic lanes to make bike lanes.

The bike zealots are already grumbling about the decision on Streetsblog.

From a brave anonymous commenter: "Rob Anderson and [his lawyer] already have blood on their hands, what's another seven months' worth?"
No blood on my hands. Mr. Anonymous should direct his ire at the city for trying to take a shortcut in the process instead of doing an EIR on the 500-page Bicycle Plan---clearly required by the law---more than four years ago, which is what we urged them to do at the time.

From Peter Smith:
"We knew the judge was going to endanger us for as long as possible. thanks, Judge!"
Typical ignorance about the judicial process from a fanatic whose shortlived bike website ( ) was so extreme it even embarrassed the other bike people in the city, which isn't easy to do.

From Greg, who does the NJudah Chronicles: "It really sucks that we have a judge determining bicycle policy. People who use the courts because they can't win at the ballot box or the support of the majority suck ass!"
More ignorance, along with a big dollop of vulgarity. When have city voters had a chance to vote on the Bicycle Plan? Never. I suspect that a majority of city voters would reject it if they had the chance, which of course they never will.

From another anonymous bike guy: "I have said it before...this is not about Rob Anderson. Rob Anderson is irrelevant and people like him are dime a dozen. The city should have done their homework, part of which would have been to fully expect a dimwit like him to materialize and work against their plan."
Actually, this is close to the mark, except for the personal aspersions on yours truly. The city didn't do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan simply because they thought they could get away with rushing it through the process without doing what the law clearly required. After all who's going to challenge the Bicycle Plan here in Progressive Land? At least we now know the answer to that question.

Mark shares his ignorance of the law:
"I'm not sure people like Rob Anderson are a dime-a-dozen. How many crackpots have a lawyer willing to work pro bono for years on nuisance injunctions? In civil court, these are called 'nuisance lawsuits' and you'll face sanctions if you file them."
There's no such thing as a "nuisance injunction." In fact it's not easy to get an injunction on any project, since you have to convince the judge that you're likely to prevail on the merits of the case when the hearing is held. We showed Judge Warren and then Judge Busch that the city was busily implementing the Bicycle Plan before the hearing on the merits of the litigation. Since the city had done no environmental review of what was obviously a major project, the judges rightly assumed we would prevail at the hearing.

Diane comes in late and wonders what's going on:
"Why does the judge get to select which projects to go forward with immediately, and which to put on hold? (I know, because he has all the power...) But is he any kind of expert? Which leads me to a question: Who assesses the EIR---him? Or people who really know about such stuff?"

The courts get to decide these issues under CEQA because that law has no other enforcement mechanism. People have to sue the government if it insists on ignoring the most important environmental law in the State of California. I've been at all the hearings on this litigation, and actually Judge Busch has expressed some irritation at being forced in effect to become a city traffic engineer. He too seems to wish that the city had simply done an EIR on the Plan in the first place. In any event, the so-called traffic experts in city government have, to put it mildly, been unreliable sources of information on the Bicycle Plan.

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