Morning Fizz

Supporters Petition Bike Group to Continue Political Advocacy

Caffeinated news featuring petitions, revisions, parking, and more

By Josh Feit February 23, 2015

Caffeinated News

1. The Cascade Bicycle Club has been in turmoil over its mission (politics or recreation?) ever since 2010 when, over protests from its members, the board tried to remove now former executive director Chuck Ayers

Now, CBC is facing a new rebellion from supporters.

In late January, CBC's transformation away from politics seemed complete when news hit that the group was considering dropping its 501(c)(4) status—tax-exempt status that allows groups to endorse and spend money on candidates.

Late last week, CBC supporters started circulating a "Save Cascade" petition, urging the board to reject the move at its March meeting.

The group would retain its 501(c)(3) status; 501(c)(3) organizations can work on initiatives, but unlike 501(c)(4)s they cannot have PACs, have dramatic time restrictions on lobbying, and, again, cannot spend money on or endorse candidates.

The petition, which several people have signed at the request of Ayers (he's signed it too), says in part:

As a community, we need Cascade Bicycle Club to advocate for safer streets and a broad set of important issues, and that starts with electing pro-bike leaders. Unfortunately, a few Cascade board members want to turn the organization into a group that simply provides a tax benefit for riding a bike—on March 18 the Board will vote on whether to discontinue Cascade's election work. This is unacceptable.

Sign the petition to save Cascade.

Dear Cascade Bicycle Club Board of Directors,

We petition you to:

Keep your current legal and financial structure that allows Cascade to endorse candidates.

Deepen your work in elections to elect pro-bike candidates, including field organizing and donating to endorsed candidates.

2.  Kshama Sawant is now free to run as a municipal judge.

On Friday, the mayor signed legislation changing a Cold War era city rule that required muni judges to swear in with a likely unconstitutional pledge stating: "and I do further certify that I do not advocate, nor am I a member of an organization that advocates, the overthrow of the government of the United States by force or violence."  

Passed unanimously by the city council earlier this month at the behest of council member Tim Burgess, the legislation summary explains:

This legislation removes antiquated language from the oath of office for Seattle Municipal Court judges that is similar to loyalty oaths that have been held unconstitutional by the United States and Washington supreme courts.
The oath dates from the Red Scare in the 1950s but were struck down repeatedly in the following decades, including Cramp v. Board of Public Instruction by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962.

I'm kidding about Sawant, of course, who is working within the system quite successfully for the Socialist Alternative Party cause. 

3. Speaking of council legislation and socialism, the council is taking up legislation today that would waive a $500,000 permitting fee for Vulcan. The legislation emerged from the transportation committee with a divided report two weeks ago when council member Mike O'Brien put his foot down. 

Transportation committee chair Tom Rasmussen and committee member Jean Godden, who voted 'yes' on the legislaton in the 2-to-1 committee vote, argue that the city is getting a pedestrian park out of the deal. O'Brien laments that it's a corporate office park that abandons the neighborhood plan for residential development and retail shops.

Pedestrian Chronicles covered the Vulcan legislation at length here.

4. Speaking of Pedestrian Chronicles, the city opened its sixth parklet in Lower Queen Anne outside the SIFF Uptown movie house on Saturday afternoon.

At the ribbon cutting, complete with popcorn, mayor Ed Murray and SDOT director Scott Kubly announced that the parklet program is no longer a pilot project; the city is now taking applications from people who want to turn parking spots in their neighborhoods into mini parks. (Anyone can apply; the pilot required a business cosponsor.)

They also announced an innovation on the idea called Streateries, parklets specifically for businesses that want to have table service in the micropark; currently parklets do not allow food service for an adjacent business.

Asked to respond to the gripe that parking occupancy in Lower Queen Anne after 7pm is 93 percent full (you need to be between 75 and 85 percent occupancy to have consistent, available parking), city staffers pointed out that A) the Uptown community, including SIFF Cinema itself where presumably people are driving in to see a movie, initiated the idea and B) it's "myopic" policy to think only cars have a right to the curbside right of way—which currently provides zero percent access for pedestrians to "park."

5. In case you missed it on Friday: Dan Bertolet's guest editorial—"Expensive New Housing Reduces Displacement"—has more than 100 comments. Join the discussion.


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