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  1. #1
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    LACBC - Rock the Vote!

    Did anyone else receive their 2008 ballot?

    There's some eye brow raising stuff in the voter guide.

    Not quite as interesting as the 2000 US Presidential election, but interesting none the less.

  2. #2
    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Vote for me
    Weight weenies keep it light.

    Director of the Midnight Express Ride; Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

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    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    yeah vote for him...I will


    After all, he's a BFer...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    Vote for me
    I would vote for you, but I don't know your real name.

    Since I've been too darn lazy to attend any LACBC meetings for the last year, can I ask you tough, thought provoking questions on these message boards instead?

    Seriously though - I'm already on my HOA board, a professional group that I'm required to be in for my job and a veteran's organization that all meet once a month. Plus I've got a wife and kids, so I can't handle anymore meetings.

    Was there a particular incident that happened that prompted the change in by-laws?

  5. #5
    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    I would vote for you, but I don't know your real name.

    Since I've been too darn lazy to attend any LACBC meetings for the last year, can I ask you tough, thought provoking questions on these message boards instead?

    Seriously though - I'm already on my HOA board, a professional group that I'm required to be in for my job and a veteran's organization that all meet once a month. Plus I've got a wife and kids, so I can't handle anymore meetings.

    Was there a particular incident that happened that prompted the change in by-laws?

    My name is Alex Amerri.

    Yes, you (or anyone here) can ask me any question pertaining to my platform, candidacy, my plans for the LACBC during my (potential) position, and what I do know of the Coalition's current actions and status. I will answer any questions to the best of my ability - all I ask for in return is a little patience as I don't tend to frequent these forums as much as a few others here, but I will be sure to check for this thread more frequently.

    Thank you!

    As far as I know and have observed, there wasn't one particular incident that prompted changed to the by-laws, rather a series of issues (namely the Coalition's membership numbers, finances, and actions over the past few years) that have prompted the changes to the by-laws in order to ensure and reinforce the recent reinvigorated efforts into making the Coalition the strongest representation for all cyclists in Los Angeles County (and, really, the neighboring counties as well, to some extent).
    Weight weenies keep it light.

    Director of the Midnight Express Ride; Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

  6. #6
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    More Questions:


    LACBC Change in By Laws:

    So from what I've read in the proposed change to the ByLaws, the Board is recommending that we change voting procedures because only 3% of the membership shows up to meetings and the members are basing their votes upon the 1 paragraph blurb that the candidates write about themselves.

    Given that I'm not registered as a Democrat or a Republican - That's exactly how I select who I vote for in elections for local government. While this is most certainly not perfect - Having the Directors elect themselves just seems like crony-ism. I'm sure all candidates have good intentions, as there doesn't seem to be anything to gain financially, but is there really a need for this?

    Local Government:

    Which locally elected government officials share the same views as the LACBC if I were interested in volunteering on their campaign staff?

    LA DOT Survey

    After gathering input from the public, when will the LA DOT be presenting their recommendations to City/County Planners, and what will be the approval process?

  7. #7
    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    LACBC Change in By Laws:

    So from what I've read in the proposed change to the ByLaws, the Board is recommending that we change voting procedures because only 3% of the membership shows up to meetings and the members are basing their votes upon the 1 paragraph blurb that the candidates write about themselves.

    Given that I'm not registered as a Democrat or a Republican - That's exactly how I select who I vote for in elections for local government. While this is most certainly not perfect - Having the Directors elect themselves just seems like crony-ism. I'm sure all candidates have good intentions, as there doesn't seem to be anything to gain financially, but is there really a need for this?
    Yes, there is a need for this from the perspective of the recently elected Board (from last year's elections). And although I can see it being perceived as "cronyism" - the comparison to much larger systems such as the US government is not a very good one, unfortunately. This is basically the sequence of events that have lead to the consideration for this change to the by-law:

    -For several years, the Board of Directors of the LACBC was largely composed of people who - honestly - do not invest that much time, passion, nor ideas into the organisation's future. Although there were a few, small gains here and there, the LACBC was being "passed on the left" by the progress of other Cyclist-Coalitions in other cities: San Francisco, Chicago, Philladelphia... even Denver!! Why was this? The Board was largely composed of a very un-evenly balanced membership: Many purely "weekend warriors" who did not share the interests of people who commute by bicycle on a daily basis, family men/women who only road with their children on the sidewalks, and a few members who didn't even ride a bicycle! The scenario of events that lead to this situation were similar to other cases throughout society: look at a lot of local organisations that have fallen by the way-side and you'll find that their boards have managed to gain people with little time, energy, or interest shared with the organisation itself. Strange, but it happens - too often. A large number of things were not getting done in the organisation because of a LOT of in-fighting, bickering, and (contended) lethargy from several board members.

    So then, what happened? Last year there were Board Elections because a few members were stepping down. Not too many - because many of those aforementioned Board Members stayed in place, their terms were not up - but it was enough of an opening to offer some change. Who ran for election? New, fresh faces: ranging from people who commute over 30 miles a day by bicycle to social activists who are very familiar and comfortable with engaging directly (and actively!) with local government. The results? A few new faces got elected, but a large number of Board of Directors were re-elected. This helped the long-standing problem a little bit, but ultimately the effort to revitalize the organization have been slowed because bringing the fresh, innovative and progressive ideas into action have been going through the same issues of in-fighting and lethargy by a few of the re-elected Directors.

    How did that happen? Well, unlike a larger Presidential Election where you can hear a candidate's platform and speech for up to a year before deciding who to vote for, the LACBC is much smaller. That one paragraph candidates get to describe themselves? 150 words. That isn't enough space to explain to members, who as you've mentioned DON'T attend meetings and largely DON'T know the situation on the LACBC's 'health', what the situation is. So they'll largely vote for people who are already in place - it's the "safest" route for any person not familiar with what they're voting on.

    So, the reason for the by-law implementation is this: The Board will recognize members who have shown up to meetings, volunteering, and have played active, passionate roles in the LACBC's future - thereby, over time, the Board can ensure that the future of the LACBC will be guided by those who are actively involved and familiar with the Coalition's situation... and can be put in a position to enact on those movements rather than be lost in countless meetings that lead to nothing due to bickering from Board members who don't care or do too much.

    Sounds harsh, but that's it - laid out on the table. In reply to the comment that it's "cronyism" - not really. This isn't an organisation for "cronys." This is a progressive community driven organisation that represents ALL cyclists (we are all, afterall, unified by our love for pedaling on two wheels!) and knowing those who have suggested this by-law, I am very confident that the motion is in the best interest of the future for the Coalition, even though it doesn't seem that way to people who don't know what has been going on (or lack thereof, as described above).


    [By the way - a little self plug: I'm a roadie, a commuter, and a social activist. I commute daily (including most errands) by bicycle, and on evenings/mornings and weekends you could call me a roadie: average Saturday rides are about 50-60 miles, Sunday rides are around 70). Plus I'm a bit of a social activist. I also run RIDE-Arc... so... I'm hoping that with my representation on the Board I will be able to represent and support the interests of all cyclists: the Roadies, the Racers, the Commuters, and the Weekend Warriors (road or not!).]


    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    Local Government:

    Which locally elected government officials share the same views as the LACBC if I were interested in volunteering on their campaign staff?
    This is something I'm personally becoming more familiar with as I'm dealing with the government more and more in many ways. As far as I know of (locally - I'm in KoreaTown) the strongest support have come from Eric Garcetti. He's the one being dealt with most readily (and accessibly) local to the Los Angeles (proper) area. There are some moments where Tom LaBonge has gone shoulder-to-shoulder, tit-for-tat on the cyclist issue with Garcetti, but Tom's heart hasn't been entirely in it just yet.. That's as far as I know about Government officials.

    Honestly, though - the Metro is far more powerful in the city of Los Angeles than the City itself (truly). I've been making contacts and would like to work with people within Metro in order to change the mindset of those in control of the direction of finances towards projects. The ideas and interests have been largely supported and agreed on by those I'm dealing with... and I'd like to work more on this to implement changes from the larger-Metro level that will help all cyclists.... yes, that even means the Road Racers who could eventually get more road-races and less crits limited to Business Parks! Everyone can and will benefit... again, we've all got shared mutual interest in the increased strength, representation and prominence of cycling in society.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    LA DOT Survey

    After gathering input from the public, when will the LA DOT be presenting their recommendations to City/County Planners, and what will be the approval process?
    This I do not know personally, but I will ask around with my contacts who hopefully get a good response. Patience though!


    Hope that helped... Keep the questions coming! This is great.
    Last edited by prendrefeu; 03-14-08 at 06:54 AM.
    Weight weenies keep it light.

    Director of the Midnight Express Ride; Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

  8. #8
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    LACBC ByLaws

    Thanks for the explanation. I've only been an LACBC member a couple of years, and haven't participated much, so this seemed rather odd to me.

    Local Government


    The City Councilman for my district is Bill Rosendahl.

    I Googled "LA Rosendahl bicycle" to see if anything turned up. What I found was a proposal he'd made for an $11M Anti Gridlock and Public Transportation Plan that included $200K for a bicycle and pedestrian Master Plan in my district. Click here for a copy of the proposal

    Don't know if that was sufficient or not, but I plan to find out. He lives in my Neighborhood, and is an American Legion member. I've contacted him and should be able to meet up with him at some point.

    Anybody have any thoughts on Council member Rosendahl's track record on bicycle related issues?

    Metro

    From their website, I see that they have a board of directors and meetings in different sectors, but other than letting bicycles on trains and providing racks on buses, how do they help cyclists?

  9. #9
    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    Local Government[/b]

    The City Councilman for my district is Bill Rosendahl.

    I Googled "LA Rosendahl bicycle" to see if anything turned up. What I found was a proposal he'd made for an $11M Anti Gridlock and Public Transportation Plan that included $200K for a bicycle and pedestrian Master Plan in my district. Click here for a copy of the proposal

    Don't know if that was sufficient or not, but I plan to find out. He lives in my Neighborhood, and is an American Legion member. I've contacted him and should be able to meet up with him at some point.

    Anybody have any thoughts on Council member Rosendahl's track record on bicycle related issues?
    Sounds like a good plan! I hope it comes through. I don't know of his track record, however - but hope to be more familiar with the track records of all the Council persons soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    Metro

    From their website, I see that they have a board of directors and meetings in different sectors, but other than letting bicycles on trains and providing racks on buses, how do they help cyclists?
    Well, that's where it gets funky and where I hope to address some of the issues. Do you remember a small advert campaign for awareness towards cyclists? One image was of a woman of Asian decent looking nervously off camera with some text describing a coined word for the fear of doors opening on cyclists... another was of a driver looking rather smug with text describing drivers as having smugness and disrespect of a cyclists right to the road. Well, anyway, these adverts were NOT effective at all, the message was either completely missed or not clearly stated - and in some ways only served to further the attitudes of many drivers towards cyclists. I'm hoping to have Metro work directly with local organisations such as the LACBC in the creation of these adverts - so that they are more effective and not a waste of money. Furthermore, did you know that one of the reasons Metro is $100 million in debt is because they spend over a billion dollars each month on issues directly related to automobile use?? (this would be traffic conditions, road repair caused by automobiles, and more)... The irony is that if we constantly attend to the needs of the automobile (which isn't good for the environment anyway) then the cycle only gets worse: more people drive and keep driving, more mess, more money invested, and on and on. If the Metro willingly CHOOSES to reduce its concentration of funds on the accommodations of automobiles and instead CHOOSES to increase concentration of funds on the alternatives of transportation (mass transit, cycling, pedestrian) then we will eventually have a reduction of drivers on the road (because they will eventually get frustrated in suffering with the road conditions that they are causing!) and an increase in people using public transit and using cycling as an alternative means of transport. The more people use cycling or mass transit, the better those systems will become out of public interest...

    It's all a matter of making a (brave?) break in the downward spiral of the dependency on the automobile has put us in and making an active effort into an upward spiral (alternative transport, environmentally clean means of transportation) that would ultimately help and solve many problems:
    -Metro's Budget
    -LA (and vicinity) air quality
    -Respect and resources for all cyclists of all types
    -Increased community involvement (mass transit, cycling, and walking promote community involvement and interaction - which (as proven worldwide) leads to a reduction in crime and an increase in the quality of living)...

    Everything is related! It's all a matter of seeing these connections, making those in charge aware of these connections and the necessity in addressing the issues NOW.
    Last edited by prendrefeu; 03-14-08 at 06:52 AM.
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    Director of the Midnight Express Ride; Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

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    Alex,

    Thanks for some helpful information on the election.

    Tom

  11. #11
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    It's all a matter of making a (brave?) break in the downward spiral of the dependency on the automobile has put us in and making an active effort into an upward spiral (alternative transport, environmentally clean means of transportation) that would ultimately help and solve many problems:
    -Metro's Budget
    -LA (and vicinity) air quality
    -Respect and resources for all cyclists of all types
    -Increased community involvement (mass transit, cycling, and walking promote community involvement and interaction - which (as proven worldwide) leads to a reduction in crime and an increase in the quality of living)...

    Everything is related! It's all a matter of seeing these connections, making those in charge aware of these connections and the necessity in addressing the issues NOW.
    Hey Alex

    First off thanks for bringing Ride-Arc to LA. It's a very unique, community building, two-wheeled experience.

    Also I know you are down at the LACBC offices putting your time in there, too.

    So...I'm curious, in your opinion what is the number one most pressing need facing cyclists in Los Angeles today?

    Also, as far as cycling advocates/activists in other cities in the United States, whose contribution do you admire?

    Lastly, anything to add to the very active discourse going on over at CICLE?

    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    It's all a matter of making a (brave?) break in the downward spiral of the dependency on the automobile has put us in and making an active effort into an upward spiral (alternative transport, environmentally clean means of transportation) that would ultimately help and solve many problems:
    -Metro's Budget
    -LA (and vicinity) air quality
    -Respect and resources for all cyclists of all types
    -Increased community involvement (mass transit, cycling, and walking promote community involvement and interaction - which (as proven worldwide) leads to a reduction in crime and an increase in the quality of living)...

    Everything is related! It's all a matter of seeing these connections, making those in charge aware of these connections and the necessity in addressing the issues NOW.
    This seems like a no brainer to me, but it's amazing how difficult it is to convince people of this. We seem to be in a Mexican Standoff:

    - The roads are gridlocked because of so many people and cars
    - Housing prices have gone through the roof because the demand has exceeded supply
    - Developers want to build more houses to meet the demand, but that brings in more people and creates more gridlock.


    Mass Transit combined with cycling and walking is the obvious solution, but that then creates a Chicken and Egg problem:
    - There's no way to put in Mass Transit in densely populated areas because LA is built around the car
    - If you build densely populated areas around existing Mass Transit stations, people will still have to use their cars, because the Light Rail systems doesn't go everywhere they need to go - Which creates even more gridlock until Mass Transit goes where people need to go.

    Personally, I don't see any quick fixes to the above problems. What we really need NOW are convenient ways to get to Metro stations by Bicycle. From my house in Mar Vista to the nearest Metro station is 6 miles by car, but 10 miles by a safe bicycle route. I've done it a number of times, but only when I've got the whole day with nothing better to do.

    [/end long rant]

  13. #13
    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Hey Alex

    First off thanks for bringing Ride-Arc to LA. It's a very unique, community building, two-wheeled experience.

    Also I know you are down at the LACBC offices putting your time in there, too.
    A pleasure!

    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    So...I'm curious, in your opinion what is the number one most pressing need facing cyclists in Los Angeles today?
    This is a difficult question to answer in true form because Los Angeles (de facto rather than proper) is so large, so diverse (both in road conditions and drivers), and incredibly diverse in culture, class, and economy. So this is purely from my own observations after having 26 of my years living throughout most of LA County with a fairly diverse range of experiences having moved well over 18 times now - it comes down to an understanding of a right to the road from both drivers and cyclists.

    In my opinion, having both drivers and cyclists with a full understanding and respect of a cyclists right to the road, and all laws which govern such things, will be the base structure by which most of the other issues cyclists face can be resolved.

    (In a close "second" would be a few considerations such as seeing cycling as a method by which many social, environmental and health issues are resolved, urban planning policies to be favouring alternative transportation/access rather than motor-vehicular)

    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Also, as far as cycling advocates/activists in other cities in the United States, whose contribution do you admire?
    Honestly, I don't know of too many - which goes to say at least three things:
    1. Cycling advocates and activists have yet to be prominent enough in the eye of larger society to garner much, if any, 'household spotlight'.
    2. There are either too many areas and issues to deal with nationwide that an advocate/activist can only deal with more local issues (to her/his-area) and hope to eventually have the methods adapt to larger standing issues. That's why there aren't very many, if any, nation-wide activists for cycling (except for Lance Armstrong, I suppose? Just don't mention the mentioning of doping. His lawyers preemptively strike, you know. )
    3. We need more activists and advocates who can both successfully bridge the various forms and attitudes of cyclists themselves into unity and take this unified concern for cyclists to the powers that be in local (and national) governments/authorities.

    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Lastly, anything to add to the very active discourse going on over at CICLE?

    Whew... No, I have nothing to add to that discourse. I have a few comments, though, which I'll drop here in an abridged and the most diplomatic way I can offer:

    -It is easier to criticize an organisation - any organisation - from the outside without having any clear idea about what has and is going on in the inside. It is clear to me the Mr. Alex (Alec?) Thompson falls into this typology, and has been for some time. If you track his statements both in person and through other forms (other forums, instances), he needs to do a bit more fact-checking and active participation in issues prior to shooting off his mouth. He seems to complain a bit about larger issues when his own projects run into problems (SMCM, Crank Mob, etc:.) and those problems are not being directly addressed by the organisation he criticizes. This, of course, is my own opinion formed from my own observations of what he has said and what he has done over the past few years. [I've been paying attention.]

    -If you want to have change, get involved in making that change happen. Understand the system in which and with which you are working and carry yourself accordingly on all aspects - doing so will carry over into the changes you intend. Again: ALL aspects. This isn't "selling out" as he is claiming, in fact it's quite the opposite: it's intelligent and effective acquisition of both political and social power towards a goal. If that concept is a bit confusing to understand, I would recommend thorough understanding in several, seemingly opposite, history lessons:
    -The French Revolution (and all subsequent revolutions in Europe against aristocracies)
    -Why the Revolutions never successfully crossed the English Channel into England (hint: shopping)
    -Rise of the Third Reich in post WWI-Germany
    -Removal of the British Empire from India (See: Gandhi's approach)
    -Success rate vs. approach comparison of Malcom X and Martin Luther King within the United States. (Hint: they were both successful, but their differing approaches meant that their success applied to different forms. Which of the two had success where and why?)
    -Fall of the USSR and how it directly lead to the current pseudo-democracy under Putin (post)
    -Bolivarian politics in South America.
    -Why corporations have more power within US Government than people do
    -Capitalism vs. Charles Tiebout vs. Dollar Voting/Foot Voting
    -Cordyceps fungus (not a history lesson, but a lesson in nature)

    If Alex Thompson understood how all of those are inter-related and how they apply to getting things done, I believe he wouldn't have written that article.
    Last edited by prendrefeu; 03-15-08 at 08:11 PM.
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    Hi,

    I'm the Alex Thompson of which you speak. Disclosures: I've met Alex Amerri (prendrefeu) on only one occasion that I'm aware of - the Bicycle Film Festival. Projects I take part in: Santa Monica Critical Mass, CRANK Mob, Bikerowave, and the Bike Writers Collective.

    I guess that Amerri and I have a different perspective on the issues. I have my inside sources at LACBC as well. Here's what concerns me:

    - LACBC's budget goes from an advertised $250K to $140K between December 2006 and March 2008.

    - LACBC's budget comes primarily (80% or more) from MTA and LADOT grants.

    - Infrastructure for bicycles in LA has not improved substantially in 3 years

    I admit I don't understand all of Amerri's historic examples. In fact I probably don't understand any of them.

    I do feel I understand something of bike activism in LA. Perhaps not as much as Amerri, but I do know something about West LA.

    Alex A - why don't you voice your opinion on CICLE? After all, so many important activists have weighed in there: Liz Elliot, Shay Sanchez, Enci Box, Stephen Box, Jen Klausner, Kent Strumpell, Josef Bray-Ali, and Roadblock - just to name the big ones. It can only improve the discussion.

    I would ask that you stick to the content of my assertion on CICLE and forums, rather than reading liberally between the lines, as you seem to have done. For example, I don't believe I've used the phrase "sell out", although I have I think said co-opted.

    Best,

    Alex Thompson
    http://www.westsidebikeside.com

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    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    Hi,

    I'm the Alex Thompson of which you speak. Disclosures: I've met Alex Amerri (prendrefeu) on only one occasion that I'm aware of - the Bicycle Film Festival. Projects I take part in: Santa Monica Critical Mass, CRANK Mob, Bikerowave, and the Bike Writers Collective.
    I've met you multiple times - first meeting was at the Pirate Ride of MR back in 2006. There have been multiple times since then. Don't worry, I tend to blend in with the crowd and I'm not that memorable of a person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    I guess that Amerri and I have a different perspective on the issues. I have my inside sources at LACBC as well. Here's what concerns me:

    - LACBC's budget goes from an advertised $250K to $140K between December 2006 and March 2008.

    - LACBC's budget comes primarily (80% or more) from MTA and LADOT grants.

    - Infrastructure for bicycles in LA has not improved substantially in 3 years

    I admit I don't understand all of Amerri's historic examples. In fact I probably don't understand any of them.
    We could talk about the examples over dinner, if you'd like. Basically, if you understand them you'll have a good grounding for how to be effective with your intentions, and you'll know how people work (both the people who are "behind you" and the people "in front" of you).

    As for your concerns, I'll tell you what: run for the board. Get elected, write some grants to other organisations. Period. Can I be entirely happy that the grant money came from organisations that may be against the bicycle (which is a case-by-case matter)? No, not really. BUT am I *****ing about it? No. At least, not until I get elected and actively make an effort to find funding from other sources.

    As for infrastructure not improving in Los Angeles for the last 3 years - do you have ANY, ANY idea how long it takes to get infrastructure approved, much less funded and completed, in Los Angeles? REALLY!?!
    Work in an engineering office for a little bit - then go to the city. Attend a few City Council meetings. Then carefully track that project until it's done. I'll see you in a decade, son. Read "City of Quartz" (Mike Davis) for a good basic understanding of the history of Los Angeles and how it operates out of habit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    I do feel I understand something of bike activism in LA. Perhaps not as much as Amerri, but I do know something about West LA.
    True - most of your work/projects/living is on the Westside. I've also lived on the Westside for about 5 years, so I'm very familiar with it (and all of its aspects) myself. I can see how some areas, such as the Westside, might be different from other parts of Los Angeles (area) in cycling-related issues, but an underlying issue remains the same regardless of where you are in this county. There are certainly different needs and issues with different parts of county (Santa Clarita, for example, may be facing different issues from the Westside, different from Mid-City) - however those issues can be addressed individually as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    Alex A - why don't you voice your opinion on CICLE? After all, so many important activists have weighed in there: Liz Elliot, Shay Sanchez, Enci Box, Stephen Box, Jen Klausner, Kent Strumpell, Josef Bray-Ali, and Roadblock - just to name the big ones. It can only improve the discussion.
    Because I don't feel it is necessary, at this point in my personal activism movement and progress, to thoroughly engage in dialogue within. The dialogue will always happen within, and more often than not (as is the case shown by the debate going on at CICLE), it is often not addressing what and who is without.

    Let's put it this way: for years I protested in the streets on various things. Sure, it felt good to do so, and I thought it was effective. There were plenty, countless meetings between fellow activists and we'd all debate about this and that. At some point, I realized - the only people involved in these debates were the activists themselves and there was very little attempt - active attempt - to engage with people who are not activists. If you want to debate and rabble over things, that's fine and more power to you. I personally feel that it is not necessarily helping progress though. That is why I choose to engage with people who are not already in. If the things I do consistently circled back to the same groups, the same voices, the same people, there is no progress in my mind.

    I'm sure the dialogue within will be fruitful, in some way, but while all that is happening and continues to happen you are neglecting what you should be doing which is engaging with people who are not even close to being in just yet. CICLE is an *amazing* organisation and both Liz and Shay know that I love them very much (ask them), but I'm sure they can both know and understand why I don't spend my time there. As with those historical examples that I still recommend you look in to, a lesson to be learned is this: engage, learn and understand the audience you don't have yet - the ones you already have shouldn't have your sole attention. You'll get nowhere if that's the case.

    Get it?


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    I would ask that you stick to the content of my assertion on CICLE and forums, rather than reading liberally between the lines, as you seem to have done. For example, I don't believe I've used the phrase "sell out", although I have I think said co-opted.
    Although I do recognize your request, I don't think it would be conducive to having your discussion be open to anyone else who may form an opinion on it. (See above paragraph as to why)

    Welcome to the internet - commentary is not limited to any one location. Sorry! Blogs exist - they post commentary on things that are not within the blog. Further discussion continues - now exposed to more people. I believe that this increase in exposure and interest is a GOOD thing and people should not - ever - be limited to one location to discuss something. Sounds harsh, but that's what it is.

    I happily encourage a reply in order to foster dialogue.

    And by the way, welcome to BikeForums!
    Last edited by prendrefeu; 03-17-08 at 05:51 AM.
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    Senior Member Placid Casual's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    Last year there were Board Elections because a few members were stepping down. Not too many - because many of those aforementioned Board Members stayed in place, their terms were not up - but it was enough of an opening to offer some change. Who ran for election? New, fresh faces: ranging from people who commute over 30 miles a day by bicycle to social activists who are very familiar and comfortable with engaging directly (and actively!) with local government. The results? A few new faces got elected, but a large number of Board of Directors were re-elected. This helped the long-standing problem a little bit, but ultimately the effort to revitalize the organization have been slowed because bringing the fresh, innovative and progressive ideas into action have been going through the same issues of in-fighting and lethargy by a few of the re-elected Directors.

    How did that happen? Well, unlike a larger Presidential Election where you can hear a candidate's platform and speech for up to a year before deciding who to vote for, the LACBC is much smaller. That one paragraph candidates get to describe themselves? 150 words. That isn't enough space to explain to members, who as you've mentioned DON'T attend meetings and largely DON'T know the situation on the LACBC's 'health', what the situation is. So they'll largely vote for people who are already in place - it's the "safest" route for any person not familiar with what they're voting on.
    So give them more than 150 words, for crying out loud. Set up a section on the LACBC website where each candidate can have her own page and explain her background and positions as succinctly or verbosely as desired. There could even be a section where candidates "debate" the issues and take questions from members. Did this really never occur to anybody on the board?

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    So, the reason for the by-law implementation is this: The Board will recognize members who have shown up to meetings, volunteering, and have played active, passionate roles in the LACBC's future - thereby, over time, the Board can ensure that the future of the LACBC will be guided by those who are actively involved and familiar with the Coalition's situation... and can be put in a position to enact on those movements rather than be lost in countless meetings that lead to nothing due to bickering from Board members who don't care or do too much.
    Attendance records, volunteer time, caring too little or too much, etc. can certainly be some of the things brought up in candidates' statements or in members' questions to the candidates, if a system like the one I suggested above is put in place. Surely something like this should at least be tried before reaching for a fundamentally antidemocratic solution to what some people perceive as the problem of an uninformed electorate.

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    Sounds harsh, but that's it - laid out on the table. In reply to the comment that it's "cronyism" - not really. This isn't an organisation for "cronys." This is a progressive community driven organisation that represents ALL cyclists (we are all, afterall, unified by our love for pedaling on two wheels!)
    As a fan of history you will no doubt appreciate it when I point out to you that historically, progressive politics and shared passion have not tended to preclude cronyism in advocacy organizations. It would be nice if that weren't the case; but wishing does not make things so--and it's also bad policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    and knowing those who have suggested this by-law, I am very confident that the motion is in the best interest of the future for the Coalition, even though it doesn't seem that way to people who don't know what has been going on (or lack thereof, as described above).
    If people "don't know what is going on," the solution to that problem is more transparency and accountability to the membership, not less.

    The proposed change is a terrible idea. It deserves to be voted down, and I'll be voting against it. And as much of a nice guy as you are, Alex, and as great an asset as Ride-ARC is, I have to admit that reading what you've put forth in this thead (your defense of the undemocratic proposed bylaw change and your jab at Alex Thompson for having the temerity to criticize LACBC's political style) doesn't make me too excited about voting for you, either.

    Incidentally, I would be very, very surprised were I to learn that Roadblock has any objections to being referred to as "Roadblock" in an online forum. That's how he identified himself in the CICLE debate under discussion, after all, and in any case he's probably better known by that name in LA's urban cycling scene than he is by his real name.
    Last edited by Placid Casual; 03-17-08 at 06:22 AM. Reason: semicolon > comma
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    How much does it weigh? prendrefeu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Placid Casual View Post
    So give them more than 150 words, for crying out loud. Set up a section on the LACBC website where each candidate can have her own page and explain her background and positions as succinctly or verbosely as desired. There could even be a section where candidates "debate" the issues and take questions from members. Did this really never occur to anybody on the board?
    I agree - but seeing as how I'm not on the board yet, it's 150 words for the time being.

    Quote Originally Posted by Placid Casual View Post
    As a fan of history you will no doubt appreciate it when I point out to you that historically, progressive politics and shared passion have not tended to preclude cronyism in advocacy organizations. It would be nice if that weren't the case; but wishing does not make things so--and it's also bad policy.
    I agree - it can be a bad policy, but it can also be a temporary one until things get going.


    Quote Originally Posted by Placid Casual View Post
    If people "don't know what is going on," the solution to that problem is more transparency and accountability to the membership, not less.
    True, but if you have a Board of Directors in place that is not allowing for transparency (or getting much done (see Alex Thompson's complaints via CICLE), then you're not going to have your wishes. If we can manage to sustain people within the Board of Directors who are on your team and support your desires for accountability and transparency, then that's a good thing. It comes back, again, to how to get those people on the Board when at the current moment there is no shared knowledge to Coalition members about what is going on and what hasn't been going on. It's a catch-22, and something has to be done to cut the cycle - perhaps temporarily - so that some direction and progress can be made in some way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Placid Casual View Post
    The proposed change is a terrible idea. It deserves to be voted down, and I'll be voting against it. And as much of a nice guy as you are, Alex, and as great an asset as Ride-ARC is, I have to admit that reading what you've put forth in this thead (your defense of the undemocratic proposed bylaw change and your jab at Alex Thompson for having the temerity to criticize LACBC's political style) doesn't make me too excited about voting for you, either.
    Okay, this isn't about RIDE-Arc, this isn't about me being a nice guy. My jab at Alex Thompson? There is a discussion between the two of us (AT, AA) via e-mail - and just as he has a right to criticize, rightfully, the Coalition, I too have a right to reply. Kent Strumpell made an excellent reply to Alex Thompson on the CICLE Website (link here). Alex has great energy, sure - but I'm taking it as someone on your own team turning around and punching you without seeing what you're doing for the same cause. That's not really helpful for anyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Placid Casual View Post
    Incidentally, I would be very, very surprised were I to learn that Roadblock has any objections to being referred to as "Roadblock" in an online forum. That's how he identified himself in the CICLE debate under discussion, after all, and in any case he's probably better known by that name in LA's urban cycling scene than he is by his real name.
    Yes, but see what I underlined? This isn't just about LA's urban cycling scene. This isn't just about the needs/concerns or perspectives of people who are riding at night with various social groups. This is about ALL cyclists, ALL ages, ALL perspectives and interests in cycling. We're all united by riding on two wheels - and it isn't about one group's involvement and energy being superior to another's in order to "lead the future" of cycling in Los Angeles County. Do people who are not involved in the "LA Urban Cycling Scene" know who Roadblock is, or are they left wondering "what kind of name is that?"

    Heck, it's also not just about cyclists who are already riding bikes on a daily basis. It's about the future of cycling (as a whole, everyone) in society (as a whole, everyone).

    It's funny though - all of these complaints against the LACBC yet the people complaining are doing the same thing that caused the Coalition's problems in the first place. That's what happens when people focus on the interests and perspectives of solely their own networks and their own actions. Infighting happened on the Board of Directors because there were people who were ONLY interested in roadie stuff, ONLY interested in issues for Triathletes, or ONLY interested in issues for commuters. If you want to be effective and if you want the Coalition to work, you need to understand the perspectives of people who are outside of your network and who are not doing what you are doing.
    Last edited by prendrefeu; 03-17-08 at 07:48 AM.
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    Interesting points made by both sides. I can definitely understand the frustration with the LACBC. They are supposed to be addressing the concerns of LA cyclists, but I see very little getting done, and practically no plan in place to get anything done. Hopefully, the new board will be able to change that.

    I've been on a dozen or so Midnight Riders and CM rides, but mostly I'm just a guy who rides his bike a lot. I think that the stuff that's going on in LA's Urban Cycling scene is absolutely fantastic even though I don't participate in it much.

    As for the "Activism" approach to making changes happen, I definitely agree with Alex Amerri, although maybe for different reasons. If the cycling community is going to be confrontational with city planners, we have to have the muscle to back it up. Even considering our numbers collectively, we make up such a very small percentage of the population, they not only can ignore us - they should be ignoring us, as we are not truly representative of what the people of LA want.

    While Alex Thompson's activism style comments and behavior at the meeting in Santa Monica made for good theater, if I were a city planner at that meeting, I would not have taken anything he said seriously. It was all just way too far over the top.

    What's great about LA's Urban Cycling Scene is that they get a lot of people on bikes and they make fun things happen. What's really sad about it though, is that there's a lot of wasted energy bitc*ing about things. IMHO: Their plans on how to fix these problems are so half baked and delusional, I pretty much ignore them, and belong to the LACBC even though they ain't doing squat.

    What would really be awesome is if we could funnel the energy and the passion of the Urban cycling mobs into a message that would be understandable and well received by the general public and city planners.
    Last edited by BillyB; 03-17-08 at 11:05 AM.

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    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Yes...Welcome Alex Thompson, to Bike Forums...
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    If the cycling community is going to be confrontational with city planners, we have to have the muscle to back it up.

    . . .

    While Alex Thompson's activism style comments and behavior at the meeting in Santa Monica made for good theater, if I were a city planner at that meeting, I would not have taken anything he said seriously. It was all just way too far over the top.
    Billy B,

    You're not the only person who felt that way, and I do not discount your criticism. At the time I was, by being obnoxious myself, attempting to make it ok for people to criticize Planning & DOT. People are afraid to speak up, but very upset. While I may have looked like an ass, it did seem like people were more comfortable criticizing after I had assertively criticized the process. You judge it = what do you think?

    I agree that we need to back criticism and confrontation with clout. How to muster and wield that clout is the critical issue. I understand that you feel no one outside the LACBC has a coherent practical approach. I think that some people are making some progress on this issue though, beyond that I'm not free to disclose.

    I think people are missing the message of the CICLE article. It's not *just* about criticizing the LACBC, or arguing that confrontation has it's place. The main point of the argument is this: in LA many bike activists are achieving wild success. Infrastructure advocates are not. What can they learn from Bike Activists? My thought is that they can learn how to better engage their constituency. The meta point is that a holistic approach, a diverse set of tools, is necessary to win in the long run. For crying out loud, I mentioned LACBC 3 times in 800 words.

    Alex A,

    Be fair with Placid Casual. I emailed you because I was upset with your remarks, and you responded (I plan to respond.) This doesn't really constitute a conversation, and it took place after the fact. I would say that I certainly felt that you took a jab at me.

    I'm not going to run for board. The "don't complain if you're not willing to throw in" argument is, I feel, not relevant. I'm criticizing LACBC on the basis that many activists have privately expressed their distaste with LACBC, and I feel it is time that discussion be addressed publicly. I'm personally insulated from backlash so I thought I would light the fire. An organization which represents itself as "the" organization for a whole region of cyclists should respond to external criticism.

    Blah blah. I've got to ride.

    Alice, thanks for the welcome!

    AT
    Hi Placid Casual

    Edit - why the hell does LACBC always come out bold & red. STALE!! Edit that - clearly I have a little to learn.
    Last edited by Alex Thompson; 03-17-08 at 04:16 PM.

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    Senior Member Placid Casual's Avatar
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    Alex, I'm not sure what you're saying about the proposed changes now. You defended them earlier on the grounds that voters don't get enough information; I pointed out that there is a ridiculously easy solution to that problem and suggested that it be implemented instead; and your response to this is simply to reiterate that "it's 150 words for now." Well, yes, I know. That's why I suggested giving the candidates a lot more than 150 words instead of dispensing with democracy altogether.

    Take a stand, candidate. Is it, or is it not, a better idea to solve the problem of insufficient voter knowledge by giving voters more information about candidates for the LACBC Board of Directors (you know, kind of like what's going on right here) than to solve the problem by taking away the voters' right to vote for candidates at all? If not, why not? If so, why not vote down the proposed changes and make a new proposition that implements the better solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    If we can manage to sustain people within the Board of Directors who are on your team and support your desires for accountability and transparency, then that's a good thing. It comes back, again, to how to get those people on the Board when at the current moment there is no shared knowledge to Coalition members about what is going on and what hasn't been going on. It's a catch-22, and something has to be done to cut the cycle - perhaps temporarily - so that some direction and progress can be made in some way.
    I'm sorry, but I think this is utter nonsense. This is a bicycle advocacy group in Los Angeles, California, not an unstable third world nation in need of a coup and some "temporary" martial law. Solve the problem of "no shared knowledge" by sharing knowledge. I've suggested a way to do this. Mine, of course, isn't the only way; there could be other methods used to let CBC members know who and what they're voting for. The point is that the CBC should improve the voting process rather than simply doing away with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    Okay, this isn't about RIDE-Arc, this isn't about me being a nice guy.
    I know it isn't. If it were, I would vote for you. Now that I know where you stand, I'm not going to vote for you. See what happens when voters are allowed to ask questions and candidates are given the opportunity to respond at length? They can make informed decisions. Democracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by prendrefeu View Post
    Do people who are not involved in the "LA Urban Cycling Scene" know who Roadblock is, or are they left wondering "what kind of name is that?"
    No doubt it's the latter, but why are you criticizing Thompson, or anybody other than Roadblock, for that? Roadblock chooses to do all of his public writing on LA bike issues under a nom de plume. It's not exactly unheard of for people to use nicknames on Internet fora. Take it up with him if it's that important to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Thompson View Post
    Billy B,

    You're not the only person who felt that way, and I do not discount your criticism. At the time I was, by being obnoxious myself, attempting to make it ok for people to criticize Planning & DOT. People are afraid to speak up, but very upset. While I may have looked like an ass, it did seem like people were more comfortable criticizing after I had assertively criticized the process. You judge it = what do you think?
    Wow! You mean you're not a foaming at the mouth nutcase who just forgot to take his medication that night?

    Just kidding - Thanks for not taking my comments above too personally.

    Your passion is most definitely appreciated!

    As for criticism of the process, we'll never get anywhere complaining to the DOT. We are such a small percentage of the population, and they are so unbelievably bureaucratic that they can ignore us without fear of retribution. We have to find persons within their organization to champion our cause.

    The persons we should be complaining to are our elected city council members. But even that doesn't work if there are not enough of us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    As for criticism of the process, we'll never get anywhere complaining to the DOT. We are such a small percentage of the population, and they are so unbelievably bureaucratic that they can ignore us without fear of retribution. We have to find persons within their organization to champion our cause.
    Aha - now that is worth arguing. I do think we can move the DOT. We need to go above them, and at them. It seems to me that we, as a community, haven't really tried that on a large scale. The fear of retribution is key. We don't want fear, we don't want friendship, we want the golden mean - respect. I think to get there will take a little assertiveness, and a lot of working together. Selective bridge burning!

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    Senior Member Placid Casual's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    What's great about LA's Urban Cycling Scene is that they get a lot of people on bikes and they make fun things happen. What's really sad about it though, is that there's a lot of wasted energy bitc*ing about things. IMHO: Their plans on how to fix these problems are so half baked and delusional, I pretty much ignore them
    I'm curious to know which of "their" plans you find half-baked and delusional, and why.
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    One of the most powerful bike coalitions in the country, the San Francisco Bike Coalition, allows it's members to vote for their board.
    I agree with PV, why not give the candidates a bigger platform. It's the age of the internet, let them blog.

    I think if it is good enough for SFBC, it certainly should be good enough for the LACBC.
    Last edited by jrvarsityboy; 03-18-08 at 11:46 AM.

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