Tag Archive for Nachum Shifren

Senate District 26: Rabbi Shifren says yes

As I noted in my last post, I emailed the candidates for California’s 26th Senate District this morning to ask them just two questions:

1. Would you support legislation revising California Government Code Section 831.4 to return some liability to government agencies for known hazards on off-road (Class 1) trails?

2. Would you support — or be willing to introduce — legislation to update the California Vehicle Code to improve to clarify the laws regarding bicycling and improve bicycle safety?

Within just a few hours, I received the following response from Rabbi Nachum Shifren:

Dear Ted

As I mentioned to you, I am a physical fitness devotee, and totally relate to the plight of bikers. WE ABSOLUTELY NEED TO MAKE BIKING NOT ONLY MORE SAFE, BUT MORE EFFICIENT AND USER FRIENDLY.

My answer to both questions: a resounding YES.

Yours for freedom on the road,

Rabbi Shifren

An open letter to the candidates for California Senate District 26

As you may recall, prior to the March 24 special primary election for the sate’s 26th Senate District, I asked all the candidates for their comments on bicycling and transportation issues, just as I did in the election for Los Angeles’ 5th Council District.

Three of the eight candidates responded; two of those — current Assembly Member Curren Price and Rabbi Nachum Shifren — qualified for the May 19th General election, along with Cindy Varela Henderson. You can see their responses by clicking on the link titled CD5/SD26 Candidate Statements at the top of this page.

This morning, I sent each of them the following email (slightly different for Henderson, since she didn’t respond before). Assuming they respond, I’ll post their answers as they come in.

Dear (Candidate)…,

Thank you for contributing your comments on bicycling and transportation for my website, BikingInLA.com; several bicyclists have said that these statements helped influence their votes the March 24 primary election.

I’d like to follow-up with two more questions, and will post your answers online in the weeks leading up to the May 19 runoff election.

First, would you support legislation revising California Government Code Section 831.4 to return some liability to government agencies for known hazards on off-road (Class 1) trails? As you may be aware, recent court rulings have absolved all public and private agencies of any responsibility to maintain Class1 trails in a safe manner, jeopardizing the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians; you can learn more by clicking here.

Second, would you support — or be willing to introduce — legislation to update the California Vehicle Code to improve to clarify the laws regarding bicycling and improve bicycle safety?

Several states, including Indiana, Massachusetts and Colorado, have already passed a Bike Safety Bill or are in the process of doing so; revising California’s laws could encourage greater participation in cycling, and as a result, help reduce traffic, while improving air quality and the health of the state’s citizens.

Possible revisions to the law include:

• Mandate a minimum distance of three feet when passing a cyclist, and clarify that drivers are allowed to briefly leave their lane in order to pass a bicycle safely;

• Ban harassment of cyclists, and require that such incidents be investigated as criminal acts;

• Extend to cyclists riding legally in a Class 2 bike lane the same level of protection afforded pedestrians in a crosswalk;

• Prohibit turning into or across the path of a moving cyclist;

• Prevent drivers from using “I just didn’t see him” as an excuse, as they are required to be alert and aware of all traffic and road conditions.

You can learn more about these issues, and other possible changes, by clicking here.

Your response can be as long or short as you like. As before, I will publish whatever you send — unedited and without comment — in the order that it’s received. All I ask is that you send your statement in the body of your email or as a Word attachment.

Thank you in advance for your response, and good luck in the upcoming election.

Senate District 26 Candidate Statements: Nachum Shifren

Here is the first response from one the candidates for the March 24th primary for California Senate District 26, submitted by Rabbi Nachum Shifren. 

I promised each candidate that I would post their comments without comment or edits, however, I feel compelled to make one correction:  In his comments, Rabbi Shifren thanks me for my endorsement; I have not, and will not, endorse any of the candidates in this election, in order to provide a fair and unbiased forum for all the candidates to state their views.

Also, Rabbi Shifren has asked if it would be possible to meet with cyclists prior to the election to discuss his views. If anyone is planning a meeting or event and would like to hear from the candidates, I will be happy to invite him and the other candidates on your behalf.

Nachum Shifren

Dear Ted

Let me say at the outset that I am a 3-time triathlon participant, 3-time marathon runner, innumerable 10-k’s, have been a surfer and lifeguard since 1962.
 
Let me speak frankly: I am angry at the abuse and peril thrown at cyclists, some of our best citizens. We need to make more cycling  accessible , not limit or obstruct it! The traffic has become unbearable. Not one of the politicians supports augmenting bike lanes or developing new ones. I will, to the best of my ability upon election, commit to this endeavor.
 
I will never capitulate to the automobile! I have traveled and lived all over the world, and never have I seen a society so indolent or addicted to the automobile, even at the price of our health and our economic development!
 
Ted, you and all cyclists will have a friend in Sacramento who cares about raising the consciousness of physical fitness of our youth, attacking the congestion on our roads through greater biking alternatives, and removing the stranglehold of the autos in our communities and workplaces.
 
I am grateful for your endorsement and hope we can meet in the future to implement some of the ideas I’ve expressed.
 
Call me anytime if I can be of  help.
Here’s to clear skies above and a an inspirational road ahead!
Rabbi Shifren

Senate District 26 Update: Maybe they just don’t want our votes

As I wrote last week, I emailed each of the eight candidates in the primary for California Senate District 26 to ask for their comments about bicycling and transportation issues, just as I did for the recent city council election.

You’d think that a group of relatively unknown candidates would jump at the chance to reach local voters — especially when they can do it for free. And as we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much to influence a local race with so many candidates.

Yet as of today, I haven’t received a single response.

As a result, I’ve emailed each of them again today; you can read the full text of the email below. But it does raise an interesting question:

If they won’t respond to us now when they need our votes, just how responsive will they be once one of them gets into office?

 

Dear (Candidate),

You may recall that I contacted you last week to offer you an opportunity to discuss bicycling and transportation issues with voters in the 26th District.

As you may be aware, there are nearly 379,000 registered voters in this district. Of these, statistics suggest that at least 46,996 — and possibly as many as 144,000 — ride bikes.

Many of these cyclists are very concerned about current state laws and regulations that put the safety of riders at risk and needlessly inhibit riding levels. These riders are highly motivated to vote in the upcoming election — and they are looking for a reason to vote for you.

As I indicated before, I write a popular blog about bicycling in Los Angeles, and I am offering you, as well as the other candidates in the race, an opportunity to address these voters directly — at no cost to your campaign — by turning this forum over to your campaign for one day.

You can discuss anything you want, from reforming state law to mandate a minimum safe passing distance, or revising California Government Code Section 831.4 to protect cyclists and pedestrians from known hazards on off-road (Class 1) trails. Or you could discuss the role bicycles can play in reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and reducing the high level of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, or any other subject you think will be of interest to the cycling community.

I will publish whatever you send — unedited and without comment — in the order that it’s received. All I ask is that you send a statement in the body of your email or as a Word attachment. You may also submit a small photo or campaign logo to appear along with your comments.

It may only be seen by a few hundred voters; yet in a race with eight candidates and an expected low turnout, that alone could be enough to determine the outcome. More likely, however, your statement will be linked to by other sites and forwarded to countless readers, with the potential to be seen by thousands of local voters.

Of course, nothing says you have to participate; as cyclists, we’re used to be ignored by politicians and our elected officials. But we care about this election, and most of us are still uncommitted, even though this election is less than one week away.

All I’m asking is that you give us a reason to vote for you.

Sincerely, 

Here we go again — An open letter to the candidates in California Senate District 26

Even though we just finished one election last week, we have another one coming up in two weeks to fill the state Senate seat recently held by Mark Ridley-Thomas — a district that covers most of Los Angeles and Culver City.

As I’ve said before, we need to become more involved in the political process if we want things to get any better for cyclists in this city or this state. So today I emailed each of the candidates in the March 24 primary election, based on the list provided by the League of Women Voters, to offer them each an opportunity to use this blog to speak directly to the biking community.

Just as I did for the recent 5th Council District election, I will post their statements in the order I receive them, without edits or comments. It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the candidates respond — especially considering that we may have provided David Vahedi’s margin of victory in the council primary.

 

Dear Mr. or (Ms.) …

As you are aware, the election for California Senate District 26 is less than two weeks away, Yet many voters have only recently become aware of this election — let alone the candidates or their positions.

That gives you a unique opportunity to reach countless uncommitted voters; however, the concerns of one highly motivated voting group have largely been ignored up to this point.

Thousands, of not tens of thousands, of registered voters in this district also ride bikes. Some, such as myself, ride for recreation and fitness. Others ride for social or environmental reasons, while for still others, cycling is their primary means of transportation.

Whatever their reason, virtually all are concerned with such vital issues as safe streets and improved infrastructure, clean air and fair, unbiased enforcement of traffic laws, along with meaningful reform of state laws to encourage greater participation in cycling and ensure our safety.

I am offering you, as well as the other candidates in the race, an opportunity to address a highly motivated, yet largely ignored, voter group — at no cost to your campaign.

As an active voter in this district, I also operate a popular blog about bicycling in Los Angeles. I will turn this forum over to your campaign for one day, in order to speak directly to the cycling community.

You are free to discuss anything you want, from the role bicycles can play in reducing traffic congestion, to seemingly unrelated issues such as crime rates or responsiveness to your future constituents. If you are an active cyclist, tell us. Or if you want to confront cyclists in some way, feel free. I will publish whatever you send — unedited and without comment — in the order that it’s received.

All I ask is that you send your statement to me in the body of your email or as a Word attachment, with a maximum of 1,000 words (although less is usually better online). You may also submit a small photo or campaign logo to appear along with your comments.

Of course, you’re under no obligation to participate; however, if some of the other campaigns submit a statement and you don’t, it could speak volumes to the biking community.

Besides, it’s free. So what do you have to lose?

PS — I recently made the same offer to the candidates in March 3rd primary for Los Angeles 5th City Council district; four of the six candidates, and two of the top three finishers, participated, including David Vahedi, who won by a margin of just 60 votes.

 

Gary points out that cycling is neither a Democratic or Republican issue; try telling that to Rush Limbaugh, who appears to have a different take on the matter. And even people who support cycling may not support cycling everywhere. Now Nevada is taking up a bicycle safety bill. Will points out that when bikeways are closed for construction, we should take the promised re-opening date with a grain — or possibly, a bag — of salt. Thanks to Streetsblog’s Ben Fried for tipping us to a great cartoon addressing the issue of cars stopping in the bikelane, while Damien asks if we’ll really see the city’s Bike Master Plan next month. And finally, Anonymous Cyclist offers a great explanation of what to do if you’re in a cycling accident.

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