Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheryl Brinkman: "transit advocate"

Mayor Newsom is nominating Cheryl Brinkman, another anti-car "transit advocate," to the MTA board. Maybe we should start calling it the "Leah Shahum" seat on that board, after the mayor's ill-advised nomination of Shahum, executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, to the board several years ago. 

Shahum quickly paid the mayor back by sneering at his green credentials when he vetoed the Healthy Saturdays ordinance the first time around. Like Dave Snyder, Brinkman is essentially a bike person who, with this appointment, will henceforth be known as a transit expert here in Progressive Land.

Her association with Tom Radulovich and Liveable City tells us that "transit advocate" in San Francisco means that you belong to one of the city's anti-car groups. One of Liveable City's recent triumphs was discouraging the Port Authority from adding some needed parking near the successful Ferry Plaza. (Liveable City's board of directors is composed of the usual suspects: Cheryl Brinkman, Dave Snyder, Bert Hill, Alix Rosenthal, and the ubiquitous Rafael Mandleman.

Brinkman also belongs to the Market/Octavia Community Advisory Committee, formed to make sure that the Planning Department's Market/Octavia Plan completes the overdevelopment of that unfortunate part of town. (Other members of the committee include bike guys Jason Henderson and Robin Levitt). 

The bike people like the M/O Plan because it prohibits developers from providing adequate parking for the thousands of new housing units the plan is encouraging in the area, including at least four 40-story highrises in the Market and Van Ness area. 

All the destructive, trendy policy ideas now current in Progressive Land come to fruition with the Market/Octavia Plan: the bicycle fantasy and anti-carism, residential highrises, dense development, and a bastardized version of the transit corridors theory.

A couple of years ago I was---very briefly---on the mailing list of Radulovich's car-free living thread (, where the anti-car people go to congratulate themselves for being "car-free." Brinkman was a regular participant. Here's an example from one of her 2008 messages of how the bike people talk when they think no one else is listening:

With the gas prices high I'm now hoping for a short sharp supply shock---to really bring the point home to the people. I was cycling yesterday and just wished that the car drivers would all run out of gas all of a sudden and have to push their heavy hunks of steel with their bare hands to move them. A week or two of limited gas.

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