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.