Monday, October 04, 2010

Mirkarimi does his "duty" the Bicycle Coalition

We can always count on Supervisor Mirkarimi to provide some poorly-chosen words on an issue. Last week at the how-to-screw-up-Masonic Avenue meeting:

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi suggested Masonic could re-awaken much like Divisadero as a result of recent traffic calming and street upgrades on that corridor. He also reflected on the seriousness of what the Masonic project addressed. "It would be a dereliction of duty for me---as well as for all of us---to not pay attention to the recent tragedies that have occurred on the street."

Anyone who's been paying any attention to the Masonic issue understands that it has little in common with the recent makeover of Divisadero, which was largely cosmetic and where no street parking was removed and no bicycle lanes created. 

Aside from much-needed repaving, some landscaping, and removing the unnecessary bus stops at Fulton and Divisadero [and at Ellis and Diviz], the only real change to the street itself are the bus stop bulb-outs. The latter are supposedly designed to make it easier for buses to pull out of bus stops, but what they mainly do is trap unwary motorists following the #24 line in the intersection when the light changes. But shame on me for questioning the "improvements" our meddlesome city government makes to our streets.

Based on his record so far, Mirkarimi's primary "duty" has evidently been about pushing the Bicycle Coalition's agenda.

The "tragedies"[sic] is a reference to the recent death of a cyclist who was hit by a drunk driver late at night, an accident that had nothing to do with the street design. But the Murk has always been a shameless demagogue, who used to be in the habit of showing up quickly at the scene of street shootings and Muni accidents in District 5. He apparently thought this demonstrated his concern for the safety of his constituents, but what it really showed was his readiness to capitalize politically on the misfortune of others.

The Murk repeats that falsehood about Divisadero in Streetsblog:

I think there is a political component to this that requires organizing amongst the neighborhood, community and advocacy groups to demand swift response in infrastructure developments on the capital improvements. I know it can happen because it was only blocks away [on Divisadero] that we demonstrated it could happen.

Since the Masonic/Divisadero analogy is clearly untrue---and he insulted his audience intellectually by even making it---it would be justifiable to simply call Mirkarimi a liar and leave it at that. The city is likely to adopt the proposal for Masonic that takes away 167 parking spaces to make bike lanes. No one---not even the bike fanatics---ever proposed anything like that on Divisadero.

But Mirkarimi seems sincere when he speaks in public, and the painful truth about his seemingly interminable service as District 5 Supervisor is that he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, as his poor diction and garbled syntax demonstrate.

The Murk can't even claim that he's been faithful to his leftist beliefs. He started early in his first term with calls for an undefined "revolution," praise for the Black Panthers and writer William Burroughs, and a vote for a Board of Supervisors' resolution calling for a new trial for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. He even scrubbed his 2008 re-election website of references to bicycles, the Bicycle Plan, and LOS "reform." 

He capped that bit of timidity---he correctly suspected that a close association with the city's bike people wouldn't help him when he ran for citywide office---by leaving the Green Party, which he helped establish in California.

Mirkarimi started out as a left-wing windbag, but now he's just a windbag.

The most damaging legacy of Mirkarimi's term of office will be the leading role he's played in two awful Planning Department projects in the Market/Octavia area---UC's hijacking of the old extension property for a massive housing development and the Market and Octavia Plan. 

Progressives in District 5 probably thought they were making a safe choice electing a leftist Mirkarimi as their supervisor. What they got instead is someone who, when the crucial decisions on these projects were made, made choices that any Republican would have been comfortable making.

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