Paul Andrews

Vote for … a cyclist?

In Bicycle advocacy, Obama Bikes on October 27, 2009 at 1:27 am

Should a cyclist vote for a political candidate simply because he or she is a fellow cyclist?

Obviously the answer is no. Otherwise we would have voted for George Bush, an avid and by most accounts fairly adept mountain biker. The problem was, as much as he loved to ride, Bush did virtually nothing to promote, promulgate or even support cycling while he was in office. In some cases he was outright anti-mountain biking, as when he tried to railroad through drilling rights in Moab’s majestic outlands.

It’s been one of fate’s cruelest twists that all our adult life we wished for a mountain biking president, and when we finally got one, it was George W. Bush.

That said, in the case of Seattle mayoral candidate Mike McGinn, we think cyclists voting for a cyclist makes eminently good sense. McGinn is not only a committed rider, he’s a cyclist with a track record of civic commitment, an progressive with an acute understanding of how cities work, and a leader with a vision for a better Seattle.

The case for McGinn is even easier given the utter fecklessness of his rival, Joe Mallahan. Mallahan has not only shown no interest in Seattle governance previous to this race, he has a voting record spotty as an August windshield. We’d rather vote for the nearest sock puppet than Mallahan. Come to think of it, there isn’t much difference between the two.

Kind of lost in the election shuffle this year, because he’s pretty popular and has only token opposition, is bike commuter and incumbent city council member Richard Conlin. I’ve been at civic events where Richard shows up on his bike, wearing biking togs, and delivers his speech/performs his duties as though he were in pinstripes and tie. I like that about him, because it helps to normalize the image of a cyclist as an executive and dignitary. In other words, a helmet and shorts can be just as much of a statement as blazer and slacks.

Although not the cycling fiends that McGinn and Conlin are, Mike O’Brien for Seattle city council and Dow Constantine for King County executive also have proven supportive of bike causes. Like McGinn, they’re endorsed by Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club.

We’re excited to have cycling proponents like these running for office in Seattle/King County. The prospect of having elected leaders who not only understand and appreciate bikes but will go out of their way to further cycling causes is a luxury we’ve never had in Seattle, nor in few U.S. communities anywhere outside of Davis CA and Portland OR. If these guys get elected, get ready to rock ‘n roll … especially roll!

SeattleLikesBikes likes McGinn. Unlikes Mallahan.

Jeff Reifman rips Mallahan a new one (also see Jeff’s amazing report on Microsoft’s $1 billion Washington State tax dodge).

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