Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gascon: "not satisfied with Critical Mass"

Critical Mass: One Year Old

Police Chief Gascon is surely right that a ballot measure against Critical Mass would pass easily in San Francisco. Interesting that our police chief, not the mayor, is taking leadership on the issue: 

Newsom has steered clear of strictly enforcing the leaderless movement, perhaps learning from his predecessor, Mayor Willie Brown, who approved a policy of confiscating bicycles---a policy that erupted in a violent citywide protest.

Instead, Newsom rolled over for the bike people by instituting a policy of city cops escorting Critical Mass through the streets of the city as they snarl traffic at a monthly cost of $10,000 to city taxpayers. 

Nor did Mayor Brown's attempt to stop Critical Mass result in "citywide protest," since the riots by the bike people were confined to the downtown area. As Gascon understands, Critical Mass doesn't have "citywide" support.

Now that the Bicycle Coalition has stopped listing Critical Mass on its online calendar, the next step should be their public disavowal of the demo to discourage their membership and other city cyclists from taking part. Instead of calling on the Bicycle Coalition's leadership to do that, Mayor Newsom is in effect legitimizing a policy that has little public support.

San Francisco Examiner 1/30/10

A review of the SFPD’s policies regarding the monthly bike ride/protest, Critical Mass, is under way, according to police Chief George Gascón.

“I am not satisfied with Critical Mass,” said Gascón, who said he has been fielding complaints from drivers and bicyclists since becoming chief in August. “I get pounded regularly on both sides.”

But apparently he gets pounded more often by motorists. Gascón said he thinks a ballot measure banning Critical Mass would pass with flying colors.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was on hand for a news conference Friday when Gascón addressed reporters, was quick to point out that there was no such ballot measure in the works.

Newsom has
steered clear of strictly enforcing the leaderless movement, perhaps learning from his predecessor, Mayor Willie Brown, who approved a policy of confiscating bicycles---a policy that erupted in a violent citywide protest.

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At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could it be? Someone who actually has the guts to take on the spoiled petulant children, aka bike nuts, who think they have the right to screw up traffic and break every traffic law with impunity?

Go for it, Chief Gascon! They can nominate you for sainthood if you succeed.

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

god, how I sincerely hope they can legally ban Critical Mass in The City. They are simply a bunch of childish, ill mannered children who think that by riding their bikes wildly thru the streets once month they can break laws and do whatever the hell they want...

They serve NO community purpose other than angering motorists..and a lot of good responsible bikers.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Evidently Newsom isn't up for the job. Back in 2003 I hoped Newsom would be a Rudi Guliani with a human face---good on the homeless issue but tough on progressive bullshit and disorder on the streets. Alas, in spite of his real successes on homelessness, he's been lame on so many other issues---the bicyle fantasy and development, in particular. It's been odd how Newsom has completely bought into the bike bullshit, as if the bike people have ever had anything but contempt for him. Now he's supporting Critical Mass, as if it's some kind of quaint SF tradition, a tourist attraction!

At 9:21 PM, Blogger missiondweller said...

Rob, I believe you posted a while back that the bicycle coalition gets about 120k per year from the city.

I would propose subtracting $10k per month each time critical mass has a monthly "ride". Divert the money to the police each month to offset their expenses.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Interesting. Unconstitutional, but interesting.

The only net result would be that the city would end up in court. You can't ban anyone from using the roads. You could write everyone a ticket for running a stop light, sure, but you can't ban them from riding their bikes, at least not within the bounds of the constitution.

If you have a problem with CM, fine. But don't suggest unconstitutional means to get rid of it... "They came for the gypsies, but I am not a gypsy", and all...

Frankly I think Lady Gaga should be banned. But she has a right to suck, just like the CM folk have a right to the road.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one ban critical mass? You cant ban x number of cyclists from using a street. Why not change the policy from police escorts to simply enforcing the law. If critical mass is stopping at every light and proceeding in an orderly fashion, whats the problem? I think banning x-riders abreast would cause more traffic issues.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger missiondweller said...

Unconstitutional? Interesting, I see it as a fine for traffic violations.

No, of course you cannot ban CM from the streets but you can fine them for traffic violations.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you're analogy to banning Lady Gaga cause you don't like her, and equating that with banning CM, is..well...stupid analogy..She's not breaking the law..CM bike nuts are..

get real. trying coming up with something smarter next time.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Frankly, I am also dissatisfied with Critical Mass. These show-off fixie kids can't even keep a solid mass any more, and insist on running off the front end of it, resulting in a disorganized mess with lots of auto-sized holes in it.

A proper CM shouldn't even require corking and could clear an area in 10 minutes.

Seems like these days it's all about making a scene and getting in fights with drivers. I'll pass.


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