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Breaking: McGinn to Herd Drivers Into Ghettoes

By Erica C. Barnett May 16, 2011

First, they came for the drivers...

We can be pretty hard on Mayor Mike McGinn, but the latest anti-Mike McGinn blithering from conservative talk jock Dori Monson is so histrionic---so, as Monson himself might put it, insane---that I'll just let it speak for itself:
I've been getting deluged with e-mails from listeners who are incredulous at the latest nonsense from Seattle Mayor McGinn and SDOT. The latest street to be put on a "road diet" is 125th NE. They're going to go from four lanes for cars down to two and add bicycle lanes.

This is a major thoroughfare off of I-5 - squeezing cars down to one lane each direction will lead to gridlock. But the mayor doesn't care... his election was bought and paid for by the bike nazis who now run the city.

And the insanity continues... last week, McGinn said that all city departments - including police and fire - have to cut their budgets another 3%-8%

But while he's cutting essential services, McGinn continues to dole out favors to his bicycle buddies. Thursday, it was revealed that McGinn is hiring David Hiller - the advocacy director for the Cascade Bicycle Club - to a newly created position in the mayor's office.

Hiller will make $95,000 a year - which means, with benefits, he'll cost taxpayers about $125,000/year.

This is more than simple incompetence by McGinn - this is a mayor who is using his hobby of riding his bike to slap the taxpayers of his city in the face.

This should serve as a reminder to voters: you get what you vote for. When you elect a clown as mayor, don't be surprised when he brings the whole circus with him.

I'm tempted to footnote all of the inaccuracies in Monson's overheated rant, but I'll stick to just the main three before turning to Monson's rhetoric:

1) The "road diet" Monson's referring to would reduce the lanes on 125th from four to three, actually improving traffic flow for cars by adding a turning lane;

2) the city's budget is based on revenues, and must, by law, be balanced, so departmental cuts aren't the mayor's choice but his obligation; and

3) Hiller's position is being funded out of existing dollars, after two mayoral staffers left their positions.

That said, it's hardly news for a political talk jock to ignore the facts. What's more over-the-top here than Monson's inaccuracies is his rhetoric. "Bike nazis"? "Insane"? The "hobby of riding his bike" to work? Monson is starting to sound like Donald Trump demanding Obama's birth certificate, not a local radio host discussing, respectively, a bike lane, single-digit budget cuts, and a city hire.

It's astonishing how angry the mere existence of cyclists makes some drivers---as if my choice to ride in the bike lane next to you, or take the bus in the street ahead of you, or walk in the crosswalk where you want to turn---takes away some fundamental freedom to travel from place to place, encased in 3,000 pounds of steel, as quickly and at as a great risk to others around you as possible.

PubliCola's own former resident urbanist Dan Bertolet addressed similar rhetoric in the Seattle Times last year, writing that "In a sane culture, the city’s leading newspaper would be expressing relief and pride that the mayor of Seattle gets it about car dependence and walks the talk, rather than belittling him for being the 'bicycling mayor'"and trashing him for trying to make the streets a little safer for cyclists---whose transportation choice, after all, makes the streets less congested for everyone.
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