The couch is strong in this one

Bicyclists showed up at the Palos Verdes Estates City Council meeting expecting a win. After all, we had everything on our side.

We had facts, law, safety, and a scathing traffic engineer’s report that sliced and diced the arguments of the NIMBYs, the Special Snowflakes on the Hilll, and the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch like so much cheese in a Cuisinart.

We had education, civility, numbers, and a dedication to the process that spoke louder than any overweight, couch-dwelling wanker in a cheap suit whose main method of discourse was diarrhea on antisocial media using various anonymous handles, dynamic IP addressses, and hate mail.

What we didn’t have were the only thing that mattered: Votes.

The city council voted, 4-1, not to install the BMUFL signage that was recommended by their own traffic safety committee, their own traffic engineer, and by everyone who had looked at the issue from the vantage points of fact and law rather than hysterical hatred of “outsiders.”

And if we were surprised, we shouldn’t have been. The difference between politicians and leaders is simple–politicians do what they’re told, leaders exercise judgment to do what is best.

That said, the council deserves credit for already showing leadership on the issue before the NIMBYs turned up the hysteria full blast. Cycists had already won two out of three when the council voted to installl 3-Feet-It’s-the-Law signs over fervent couch potato opposition, and when they voted for a traffic safety master plan in the face of Shannon Zaragosa’s rabid opposition to BMUFL signage. If I’d had her blowing snot bubbles in my face, I might have backed down, too.

And of course the city also had to contend with the advocacy of Garrett Unno, the NIMBY of all NIMBYs. He was effective and did a great job of getting out his message: Delay, do nothing now, what about the residents, let’s wait, we need more information, let’s protect our community and hey, stop signs. The saddest part is that Garrett, an Asian dude, was on the same side of the fence as the racist pigs who sent countless hate comments to this blog, making fun of … Asians.

Thank dog for WordPress spam-blocking, which sends hate mail unread into the e-dumpster, and pity Garrett Unno, who is despised for being Asian and reviled behind his back by racists who sleep on the same side of the couch that he does.

In the short term, it would be silly not to acknowledge that we got badly beaten on a crucial issue, and that it wasn’t even close. The NIMBY-Snowfake-LLBOMC-Racist contingent marshaled their forces, screamed a thousand times louder than their actual numbers, and got what they wanted. I’ve been beaten enough times in enough bike races to know when my ass has been handed to me fair and square, and no matter how contemptible the opposition, they deserve respect for using the democratic process to get what they want.

In the long term, they’ve shown their hand, and it’s a weak one that they are going too play hell holding onto. For starters, the council has couched its opposition to BMUFL signage in terms of cyclists running stop signs. This is great, because it is the epitome of a bad argument: We won’t make the roads safe for cyclists until they stop at stop signs. Stop or die. How nice.

Second, Garrett & Co. has laid down with vile racists who hate them almost as much as they hate cyclists. They will find Mom’s couch to be extremely close quarters. Garrett, shoot me an email and I’ll forward you some of the spew that your friends have to say about those of Asian extraction. These are your pals, pal.

Third, the NIMBY Snowflakes got what they wanted only by virtue of a procedural end-run. The council knew that the residents couldn’t muster the numbers or the commitment of the cyclists, so they created a special “workshop” venue to limit public participation to two hours, screen out non-residents by forcing them to make multiple trips at a time of day when most people are either at work or commuting.

The only time that cyclists had gotten a chance to speak in full, it completely wore down the council. The council figured out that the only way it could win was by silencing dissent, which they did. They also took to heart this moral: Don’t challenge endurance athletes to an endurance event.

This sleight-of-democratic-hand meant that the council wouldn’t have to sit through hours of public testimony and could resolve the whole thing in two brief sessions. And it worked … this time.

The down side to caving in to Unno & Co., and Mr.Men’s Wearhouse is that the city council is about to find out what it means to have every city council meeting attended by 50+ cyclists, each of whom submits a speaking card and speaks his/her full 3-minute allotment about the importance of BMUFL signage.

The other down side to caving to the bike haters and taking a stand on the sanctity of stop signs is that the city council has forced the broader cycling community to recognize the challenge at hand: A vocal minority is going to strip us of our legal right to safely use the roads.

This is a down side–for PVE–of massive proportions because if cyclists realize what’s at stake and actually engage in the democratic processs, it will be the city’s worst nightmare. Every council meeting packed with persistent cyclists who will each get their three minutes, and non-stop meet-ups in PVE where large groups of cyclists will ride single file and stop at every stop sign.

The city is about to find out that its work can be snarled just as effectively as its roads by people who do nothing more radical than obey the letter of the law. You really want every cyclist to stop at every stop sign? Okaaay … but we’re going to need lots of practice.

What’s also funny is that as it crumpled to the forces of evil, the counci somehow forgot how this all came to a head. Yes, it was a protest ride that turned traffic into an unmoving knot and backed traffic up all the way to Torrance. Remember that?

We do!

Of course, we’re at risk, too, and the risk is that the rank and file rider says “I don’t care, gotta get the KOM.” To date most of the heavy lifting has been done and most of the attacks have been borne by about fifty people. Some of the biggest clubs on the Hill and in the South Bay have been thinly represented at best.

Moreover, PVE is creating a blueprint for every other community that wants to strip cyclists of their right to use the public roads. Too busy to get involved? Well, you might want to think again because once PVE brings down the axe, they will be followed by RPV and Rolling Hills Estates. Oh, and Malibu. Anybody remember Malibu?

Congratulations to council woman Peterson for doing what’s right, and shame on the others for caving in to expediency, hysteria, and racism.

Still, the ball’s in our court and the NIMBYs are gloating. Who wants to play?



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37 thoughts on “The couch is strong in this one”

  1. Pingback: Morning Links: Bike collection stolen in burglary, Bike the Vote LA endorses, and new AZ bike safety PSAs |

  2. I think the problem with disruptive tactics like clogging up the meeting, or say, a “ride” that is single file and stops at every stop sign at say… 4pm once a week is you are pitting the residents against cyclists.

    You need to turn the residents own preferences against themselves. Losing outside revenue is a great example. How long and how much will they pay to be right? It normally turns out to be not much at all.

    Find the roads maintenance money angle, and try to work it. Caltrans or California State Transportation Agency are two places to start. It would be a very effective siege strategy pitting the voters against each other. Also, it would make a nice template for other bicycle access groups in California.

    And, BTW, I’d publish all of the classy stuff being sent to you on a NSFW page. Name and shame. Post it on google docs? Something.

    I love local politics. All this over some road signs. Thank you! Thank you!

    1. All the classy stuff goes straight to e-dumpster so Boys on Mom’s Couch can enjoy writing letters in bottles that never get read.

  3. lunada_bay_sitcom

    I think my first reply was too long..

    You need to turn the residents own preferences against themselves. Losing outside revenue is a great example. How long and how much will they pay to be right? It normally turns out to be not much at all.

    Find the roads maintenance money angle, and try to work it. Caltrans or California State Transportation Agency are two places to start.

    I love local politics. All this over some road signs. Thank you! Thank you!

    1. It’s actually all about racism and hatred of others. Bikes just happen to be the flavor of the day.

  4. The most intersting comment of the night was made by council member Lin Peterson, who said her family had just purchased road bikes for thier children, but she was afraid to let them ride on PV streets. She is unafraid to stand up to the Bay Boys.

    To those wondering why the Mayor said she ignored NextDoor because of all the innaccuracies, let’s set the record straight.

    I published the name and address of Carolyn Blalock, because I thought this pervert lived next to PVIS. It turns out that this is simply one of the aliases “Frank Ponce” uses on NextDoor to drum up his real estate business. “Frank” decided to post a disgusting, perverted, shameful video of my daughter on August 8. This video was quickly taken down by the NextDoor admin, but the admin rebuke still exists on the site (check it out!). I’d post this scumbag’s address 100 of 100 times if given the chance. Most parents would consider takinng more significant retribution steps. Several friends with kids avoid his house altogether on their way to school for fear of being targeted.

    I’ve had extra police patrol around my house for two months. I’m now on a firstt name basis with some in PVEPD, which seems a little weird. Bay Boys simply walk back and forth in front of my home – apparently they don’t have better things to do. We now have a guard dog and the gas company is so afraid of our home that they will no longer read our meter. Which brings me back to “Frank”.

    “Frank Ponce” (if this is his name, we never know given the number of NexxtDoor aliases he uses) is the prime public defender of the Lunada Bay Boys, a criminal gang that exists in my neighborhood. His partner in crime is Robert Chapman of Malaga Cove. Robert is behind the site where the children of city leaders and city police are targeted when the Bay Boys don’t like leaer decisions. Like “Frank”, Robert is also a little unstable but rrevels in causing chaos. All the commments on his website are actually him talking to himself. Now, cross referennce the names of the comments within the hatesite against the commments under Frank’s articles defending the Bay Boys. Really simple: this is the 1-2 punch of the Bay Boys.

    Regardinng Teresa Sweiss, I posted her name but not her address. She posted a thinly veiled threat against anyone using her streets, even (her caps) “ESPECIALLY ON SATURDAYS”

    Finally, to those who doubt what I say about the person claiming to be “Frank Ponce”, ask yourself why he never decided to show up to a meeting and speak. Bullies are all bark and no bite. Ask yourself why you believe what is typed on NextDoor but not spoken publicly. At least Garret stands up for what he believes. At least Krist shows up in a sandwich board. But let’s be clear, those who post videos of minor age girls are scumbags. Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    1. The same BCC that has the “Cycling King of Hermosa” as a VP telling me “that’s one of the things SBBC works for is to get people on bicycles to be respectful and not try to take the whole road. We have a lot of cyclists in the South Bay who like to ride fast in groups and not share the road, and they can be very aggressive.”
      That sounds like a true voice for bike advocacy alright.

      1. BCCC got BMUFL signs and sharrows in Hermosa. Are you down with that, Bill, or just spouting shit?

        1. They’ve done fine work in Hermosa. Having your leadership state in an interview that fast riding groups taking the full lane is somehow wrong is rather counter productive to those and your efforts. If quoting that leadership is spouting shit then I guess I’m spouting shit.

  5. The idea of the single-file-stop-at-every-stop-sign was done in San Francisco a while ago. From what I vaguely remember, it revolved around the issue of allowing cyclists to do “California stops” at stop signs (I don’t remember how it turned out, though I suspect it’s still illegal for cyclists to “run” stop signs). And, by the way, I think this is a great idea. The less time we have to spend dicking around coming to a stop, clipping out, remounting, and slowly accelerating through an intersection, the better. Those of us who know how to ride in traffic, ie-almost all of us, aren’t willy nilly riding through stop signs, oblivious to everyone else. If it’s in a residential neighborhood, who gives a shit? And if it’s in traffic, we know when we should get through as quickly as possible, and when we actually need to stop.

    In any case, large groups of cyclists took to the streets, and as you suggested, they rode single file, and each came to a complete stop, and dismounted. You think drivers get impatient now with us, it was a glorious clusterfuck watching rider after rider after rider come to a complete stop, dismount, and then continue on. Completely jammed up the intersection, not only the drivers behind the groups of cyclists, but other directions as well, because of the time it took for cyclists to slowly clear the intersection.

    I think this would be a great idea for a (unorganized, of course…) group ride. The Stop Sign Law Abider’s How You Like Me Now ride. You and 50 of your closest friends riding single file, and dismounting at every stop sign. There sure would be a lot of regrouping! Good luck with your efforts, but it’s not surprising a group of cyclists lose in the political arena…I think we’re fairly universally despised, yay!

  6. Hmm, I think I cussed too much in my post, and it got tossed in with the racist dirtbag comment…not exactly the company I wanted to keep. Ah well, fight the good fight, and I’ll just say, the idea of a group ride where everyone rides single file and stops at every.single.stop.sign is a good idea. I guarantee you that will get the attention of everyone.

    1. ” group ride where everyone rides single file and stops at every.single.stop.sign is a good idea”

      But what’s that got to do with “Bike May use Full Lane” (BMUFL) signage?

      Seems it risks opening up another battle front, whereas I perceived BMUFL signage to be more directly relevant to cyclist safety.

      It’s already legal to use full lane on “substandard width” roads, although nearly all cagers and many if not most police are ignorant of that part of CA vehicle code. BMUFL signage reinforces existing law. But I’m not sure if it expands it to “standard width” roads.

      1. The CVC does not give an exact number for substandard width, which is a good thing. The CVC says, a lane is “substandard” if a motor vehicle cannot “safely” pass a cyclist in that lane. Obviously, there’s a difference between being passed by a Metro bus or a Mini. Who decides what is substandard? You do. If you think the lane is too narrow, take it.

  7. Don’t forget cyclists are well used to occupying uncomfortable seats for hours at a time! It was a poor night and depressing as the various council members caved to a vocal minority and voted to wash their hands and postpone. Council woman Lin was excellent.

    Question; if a City override the two time recommendation of its traffic safety committee, its independent engineers and the sum of published public research and do nothing to alleviate a dangerous situation do they have any liability for harassment and/or injuries occurring to cyclists controlling the lane?

  8. Sorry to hear this outcome, but every great success started with set backs. As a case in point, look how long it took to outlaw child labor in Britain. I don’t have the exact number at my finger tips and am too lazy to look it up, but I think it was more than a hundred years of good people lobbying their Parliament to pass what seems as a no-brainer piece of legislation. And yet…

  9. Give me a few weeks until my shoulder is strong enough and I’ll join in the stopathon.

  10. Need to breathe

    Can I please request that Mr. Men’s Wearhouse dial down the cologne? For the love of clean air, dial it down dude!!!

    1. I think the 3-for-1 suit sale includes a special where they douse all the jackets in 3 gallons of Old Spice. Something like that. Or maybe it’s a special Cheap Cologne and Fake Watch special? IDK. Need to hurry down to Men’s Wearhouse and find out for myself.

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