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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bicyclists relieved election over

Image of kitten sitting on bike voter T-shirt
According to the League of American Bicyclists: "The mid-term U.S. elections were very successful for the Bike Caucus." Minnesota Congressperson James Oberstar--a cyclist and one of the main leaders of the Congressional Bike Caucus founded by Oregan Congressman Earl Blumenauer--seems likely to chair the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. And maybe the success of the Democrats will cause the Bush Administration to pay some attention to pressing domestic needs, like, say, developing energy-saving transportation alternatives.

However, some cyclists are less sanguine. For one thing, California voters approved Proposition 1B, a $20 billion transportation bond funding lots of freeways while providing mere crumbs for pedestrian or bicycling facilities. The bond was opposed by nearly every bicycling and environmental group in the state.

In San Francisco, several local pro-bike candidates lost, despite strong support by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, most importantly District 8 supervisoral challenger Alix Rosenthal.

But other pro-bike candidates in San Francisco did win. And California voters defeated the noxious "eminent domain" Proposition 90, which would have blocked many necessary bike or environmental protection measures. A local initiative to increase the parking tax by 10 percent to raise money for transit, bicycling, and other city services, Proposition E, passed. And many local cyclists--not me, for sure--will be pleased that San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi will be the new speaker of the House of Representatives.

Now that the election's finally--finally!--over, maybe we can get some riding in before the cold wet weather.

Image: Web capture. This "Bike Voter" t-shirt is available from the California Bicycle Coalition.


Yokota Fritz said...

Most cycling advocacy groups in California were silent or neutral on 1B. SFBC and CBC were the exception, not the rule.

gatorbob said...

While the election victories for the Dems have been over-hyped, surely all of those "firsts" must give progressives some cause for sanguinity:

*First female Speaker of the House.
*First Muslim elected to Congress.
*First self-defined "socialist" elected to the Senate.
*Very nearly the first African-American elected to the Senate since Reconstruction.

Sure, Nancy Pelosi is fairly odious, but did you really want to look at Denny Hastert's fat arse for the next two years?

My position stays the same after this one - go down to the polls, pull the lever and then go back to the real struggle. But do pull the lever; it's worth the effort of five minutes. Anything less is sectarian fiddling while Rome burns.