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?
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.