Controversial Cascade Bicycle Club lobbyist David Hiller has resigned to take a job with Mayor Mike McGinn, sources at city hall confirm. His wife, Candice Inagi, also works for McGinn.
Hiller didn't offer many details about his new job, which will be in external affairs. On the record, he said only that he's "looking forward to the new opportunity" and "excited to see if I can help." The mayor's office says Hiller will be doing outreach on transportation issues.
In an announcement on Cascade's blog that begins, "This is a tough one. But here goes," Hiller said, “I am grateful and humbled to have played a part in Cascade’s growth and success. It was a difficult decision. There is still a lot of work to do, but the organization is positioned to be successful long into the future. .... I’m looking forward to staying involved as a member, volunteer, participant and supporter.”
Hiller, always a somewhat controversial figure at the organization, was criticized for making inflammatory statements to the press and for what some have characterized as a strong-arm lobbying style.[pullquote]Hiller, always a somewhat controversial figure at the organization, was criticized for making inflammatory statements to the press and for what some have characterized as a strong-arm lobbying style.[/pullquote]
Cascade Executive Director Chuck Ayers was fired by the group's board after he refused to fire Hiller. After an internal uproar, the board voted to reinstate Ayers temporarily until a new director could be found, and agreed to resign en masse and hold new elections. Those elections took place last month.
There has long been tension within Cascade about whether the 13,000-member group should be primarily a bicycling club, organizing rides and promoting social events, or an advocacy group, pushing for changes to state law and additional spending on bike infrastructure. Hiller and Ayers fell firmly in the advocacy camp.
In today's blog post, which is followed by a long list of comments praising Hiller's work and wishing him luck, Ayers said Hiller's resignation is "without a doubt, a tremendous loss for Cascade. ... We have moved from a fringe group to one that has a respected voice at the table, largely due to David’s determination and hard work over the last eight years.”