Meet the Candidates, Part 5
March 5, 2019 § 2 Comments
As we approach the March 5 municipal election for city council in Palos Verdes Estates, it is time to complete our penetrating analysis of the diverse set of almost exclusively white candidates running for office. It is widely agreed that this municipal election is pivotal in the history of PVE: Will the city remain white and exclusive, or exclusive and white?
We sat down with Kevin McCarthy, the New Jersey native who has worked with LAPD for over 30 years helping keep black and brown people out of wealthy neighborhoods and in jail where they belong. As a second term member of the PVE Traffic Safety Committee, we were especially interested in his stance on the Big Orange Cycling Gang that has been terrorizing the local unicorns.
CitSB: So, what’s a nice Jersey boy like you doing in a toney SoCal enclave like this?
KC: Hey, let’s get one ting straight. I ain’t from Joisey. I’m from Nu Yoak.
CitSB: Oh, right. Sorry about that. Which exit?
KC: Begya pahdon?
CitSB: Inside Jersey joke. Or New York joke. I can’t keep them straight. Which one is famous for its police brutality?
KC: Dat’d be Joisey. Nu Yoak ain’t bad, though.
CitSB: Check. So, we see that you’re really into traffic safety and stuff. What’s your position on cyclists in PV Estates?
KC: I lub ’em.
CitSB: Excuse me?
KC: Youse hoid me, I lub ’em. Bikes, see, dey’s great. Cuts down on da traffic, cuts down on da pollution, dey’s good fuh da viment, see? We need moa bikes heah in owa city. Dis is a small town and small town’s ain’t needin’ no moa cahs, see?
CitSB: Wow, a bike advocate on the PV Estates Traffic Committee? And running for city council? That’s incredible.
KC: Jus kiddin. Fuk da bikes. Youse wanna know what I tink when I sees a bike? I tink, dere’s a crook oughta be inna slammah, see? When I’m da boss o dis town dere ain’t gonna be no bikes nowhea, see? Dat’s how it’s gonna be when I staht callin da shots heah.
CitSB: Okay, so moving on, where are you on white people?
KC: Dey’s numbah one. Lub ’em.
KC: Don’t need none o dem taxes, see?
CitSB: Local police force? In your candidate forum video, as one of the senior commanders at LAPD, you make it pretty clear that what’s good for Los Angeles would be horrible for rich white people. Care to expound on that?
KC: LAPD is a huge oaganization, see? PVE is a tiny town, see? See?
CitSB: I see. And finally, what about this photo of you on a horse trampling the lawn?
KC: Oh, dat? Dat’s my hoas, Bessie. Ain’t she a beaut?
CitSB: So you’re quite the equestrian?
KC: Nah, I’m a hoasman.
CitSB: Um, okay. Thanks.
Time wounds all heels
January 24, 2017 § 25 Comments
It was with great pleasure that I read about the invasion of the wave snatchers at the holy site formerly marked by the masturbatorium erected by the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, and reputedly mourned by white pick-up kook, workboots surfer kook, Michael Kirst (known for his role as Deputy Sykes in the video blockbuster “Sisterhood of the Shewolf”), and of course Falling Off Surfboard Robert Chapman.
The big hammer that the surf community is swinging is the class action lawsuit combined with threatened action by the California Coastal Commission. If you are curious about the surfer kook gang that has made Palos Verdes Estates infamous for great waves ridden badly, here’s one handy link.
However, it was with great displeasure that I realized how long it has taken the surfing community to stand up to the violence and the bullies that rule the break formerly known as Aloha Point, but now rechristened “Taloa Point” after the courageous activist who has broken the color line at Lunada Bay and led the charge to open public beaches to, well, the public. Displeasure because it’s been a Thirty Years’ War, and when I look at how much effort and money it has taken, it makes me wonder what the prospects are for cyclists who dare to ride in PVE.
The police force, led by Jeff Kepley (also a defendant in the class action lawsuit against the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch Surfer Gang), has still not issued a single citation for cars violating the 3-foot law, but has handed out numerous tickets to cyclists for running stop signs. That makes a lot of sense: Ignore actions by cars that can kill people and clamp down on victimless stop sign violations. Moreover, the police, ordered by the rampaging city council, have focused their efforts not on protecting cyclists and finding the person who killed John Bacon but on harassing legal group rides and shutting down legal protests.
If the surfer activism at Lunada Bay is any indicator, the fight for cyclists’ rights in PVE is going to take a long time. What’s worse than that is the city’s effective crackdown on cyclists’ efforts to educate the residents about the actual law and what it means.
Having taken a page out of the alternative fact playbook, the bike hating activists are relentlessly pounding home falsehoods, and the cycling community’s early enthusiasm has flagged. When it comes to endurance athletes, maybe we’ve met our match in the form of a few rabid, racist, bike-hating NIMBYs.
With a city council impervious to law, fact, or reason, with a raving minority of bike haters, a hostile police force, and falling-off-surfboarders like Robert Chapman bobbing around the rocks, the question of “What next?” is more than simply relevant. It’s a frontal challenge to our right to ride safely on the peninsula.
The scary reality is that most cyclists may simply be too flat fucking lazy to defend their rights to ride here. A whole bunch of dedicated people have shown up and advocated, but a whole bunch haven’t. When given the choice between showing up and doing a cool ride or fighting city hall, maybe it’s more important to more people to go out and do the big ride, clock the miles on Strava, hit the “like” button on Facegag, and ride somewhere else than it is to put in the time and effort to beat back the crazies. I mean, isn’t that why we have the president today that we so richly deserve? And isn’t there a saying somewhere … “No time to do it right, always time to do it over.”
But I digress … a new educational protest is in the works pending completion of some very cool t-shirts currently in production that will help residents and car traffic understand and apply the law. Date/Time TBA–hope to see you there!
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The best defense …
November 1, 2016 § 22 Comments
Props to Garret Unno, anti-bike signage NIMBY dude from Palos Verdes Estates, for this gem:
Yes, after leading the charge to shoot down the Bikes May Use Full Lane signage, which signage was approved by the Traffic Safety Committee, the city engineer, an outside consultant, the city attorney, and over a hundred cyclist advocates, Garrett has now targeted the 3-Feet signage recently installed in PVE to advise drivers that they have to, you know, give cyclists three feet when they pass.
Nothing like being in the vanguard to protect your idyllic community at the expense of lives!!
Still, Garrett, who is reputedly an engineer at Raytheon, deserves mad props. Dude gets R done. Quiet, head down, consistent, and relentless, his hatred of cyclists has effectively beaten back a broad-based coalition of cyclists that includes actual PVE residents. To me that’s kind of weird, because a lot of people at Raytheon cycle. Do they know that their colleague is all-in when it comes to opposing signage that protects cyclists? If I had someone like that in my office, I’d read him the riot act.
Anway, One Unno > 200 Freaks in Lycra, at least according to PVE City Council math. And he’s no dummy, either: Don’t sit around waiting for the enemy, hit them as hard as you can when and where they least expect it, and press the hell out of your advantage. Momentum doesn’t come often, and a good strategist knows to roll with the tide.
It will be absolutely fascinating to watch how the Traffic Safety Committee responds to Unno’s plea, especially since they’ve already voted for the signs, recommended that the signs be installed, and worked with the city engineer to place the signs and oversee their installation. It will be even more awesome to see how the city council, if the TSC caves to Unno, votes regarding the new signage they just installed.
Stay tuned for the shit show …
In the meantime, I’ve set up a store on Shopify where you can buy South Bay Cycling items, the purchase of which will help pay for food/drinks/snacks at our next City Council Bike Ride and Pizza Party, as well as for advocacy to fight the evil of people like Unno, his wife Zoe, Shannon Zaragoza, Frank Ponce, and the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch who zealously oppose bicycle signage in PV Estates.
Check out the new Cycling in the South Bay Swag Store. Buy cool stuff and support cycling advocacy!
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The PVE Traffic Safety Committee Grand Prix
September 8, 2016 § 41 Comments
Before the race we all pinned on each others’ numbers, which looked like this:
The ref blew the whistle but before we could get going they had to neutralize the race. A gaggle of ancient retirees, all of whom had lived in Palos Verdes Estates since 1978 and were still wearing the same shoes, did a parade lap around the course.
Each angry resident did a mini-ragesprunt, where they harangued about parking. Elbows were thrown, headbutts lodged into ribcages, and one old codger whipped out GoPro footage of *CARS RUNNING STOP SIGNS* and *GASPY GASP GASP* a white vehicle that REGULARLY PARKS TOO CLOSE TO THE STOP SIGN NEAR THE INTERSECTION ON THE STREET THAT GETS 183 WHOLE CARS A DAY.
Fortunately, the parking club riders were not as fit as the SoCal Allstar Race Team, so after they ran out of electrolytes and Depends, the parking club riders shunted off to the side and wrote nasty emails to each other on NextDoor.
The whistle blew and the race was on. Dashing into the first corner was Jay “BMUFL” Yoshizumi, who attacked hard up the gutter, battering into the wind while pointing out that safety was paramount. He swung over just in time for G3 “Data Boy” Seyranian, who unleashed a flurry of softening-up punches over the short cobbled section, stringing out the peloton, making the watt meters crackle, and pointing out to statistical data points that validated the BMUFL signage.
One of the riders on Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, Doper McWanksalot, got caught up against the curb, threw a chain, and dropped his fake petition with 83 bogus signatures just as Michael “Call Me Claw” Barraclough came up hot and inside to set a course record for the first lap. Claw also let the refs know that if the Allstars didn’t sweep the podium with BMUFL signage, they would continue to show up to every subsequent race and stack the field until justice was done.
Shrimpy McShrinksabunch, team leader and designated sprunter for Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, roared briefly to the front and sputtered on about delaying BMUFL signage until the year 2082, when all of the ramifications and data and GPS coordinates could be algorithmized, logarithmized, digitized, and mesmerized, but was quickly chopped hard by Kristie “All Aces” Fox, who blew him up against the barriers with a hard-charging citation to traffic counts related to Terranea and The Donald Drumpf Golf Club.
Now the Allstars were warmed up and a series of brutal attacks began, headed up by Pete “Older Than Dirt” Richardson and followed by Jon “Same Shit Sounds Smarter In British English” Phillips, who hit it hard at the bottom of the small cobbled climb that had been slickened by the snot, spittle, and Internet ugliness dribbled out by the NextDoor Wankers On The Bay Boys’ Moms’ Couches.
One Lunada Bay Boy on Mom’s Couch slid out in the turn and caught his monosyllables on his poor syntax, making a fool out of himself and going hard into the hay bales, where he was forced to pay rent and get a job sacking groceries at Von’s.
Suddenly the weather turned nasty and a foul gale blew in. Our heroes, who had been driving it at the front with relentless accelerations by Victor “Don’t Fuck With Me” Cooper, Delia “These Are The Facts And They Will Hurt You” Park, Doug “The Motor” Toland, and a vicious move that split the field by Tom “One-Handed” Duong, the peloton began to crumble.
A breakaway formed with Claw, Park, Fox, G3, “Gizzards” Jim Hannon, and “Bronx Bomber” Julian Katz, as the Allstars back in the field sat up to block the weak, ineffectual, incoherent, and disorganized attempts to bridge by Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch Who Mostly Complain on the Internet but Don’t Have the Balls to Show Up.
Just when it looked like the break would go clear, Norm “Video Production” Zarifsky of Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU made a daring move out of the field and, stuck in no man’s land, seemed set to bridge. However, he began to huff and puff as he spouted anger at cyclists, reviled bikers who ran stop signs, and declared that all PVE stop signs should be removed, buried, and shot as his FTP of 12.2 watts was immediately exceeded now that he was out in the wind and unable to suck anonymous Internet wheel.
Moreover, he had failed to notice that Dave “Video Allthetime” Brinton had latched onto his wheel, and as Norm began flicking his elbow, drooling in desperation, and begging everyone to condemn that terrible pro bono lawyer blogger dude who is in cahoots with the cops and judges to get bikers out of citations, Brinton came around, dropped Norm like a big turd from a tall horse, and bridged to the break.
One by one the tired, unfit, tactically incompetent, and strategically defective members of Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU came off the back while, back in the peloton, the shrewd, handsome, beautiful, fit, happy, and cagey members of the Allstars took turns pounding the BMUFL haters into paste. John Cayon, Joann Zwagermann, Larry Lem, Dave Terrell, Joey Cooney, Don Wolfe, Jaycee Carey, Wendy Watson, John Wike, Mark Maxson, Michelle Landes, Brent Davis, Allison Vought, Les Borean, Gary Cziko, Andrew Nuckles, Craig Eggers, Sam Gengo, Tara Unversagt, Sherri Foxworthy, Kevin Salk, and Brian Gee set a blistering pace that Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU couldn’t begin to follow until, at the bell lap, there was no one left but the Allstars and five BMUFL signs which will be co-located with existing “3-Feet It’s The Law” signage.
The traffic safety committee voted 4-0 in favor of the Allstars when, post-race, a challenge was made due to alleged irregular sprinting by Wike, but the commissars concluded that not only had Wike won the field sprint clean, but that the complaining wankers who lodged the protest would, as punishment, be grounded until next Thursday and limited to $150 in gas charges on mom’s credit card for the rest of September.
After the race, the Allstars modeled their sexy BMUFL signage and prepared for the final race of the season. The next race in the series is the finale, the PVE City Council BMUFL Grand Prix. Be there!
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The Empire Strikes Back
July 9, 2016 § 19 Comments
Now that the City of PVE’s traffic safety committee has recommended the radical and revolutionary step of putting up a couple of signs that say “BMUFL” and “3-Feet,” a group of residents has proposed banning bikes from certain public roads within the city.
I will be charitable and assume they don’t understand that the streets in PVE are public and that bicycles are legally allowed to ride on them. I will be charitable and assume that they don’t understand that municipalities cannot preempt the California Vehicle Code. I will be charitable and assume that they haven’t thought through the ramifications of a few angry citizens seizing public property.
But I won’t be charitable when it comes to the cycling community.
Here’s why: On July 12, at 6:00 PM, there will be a city council meeting at Palos Verdes Estates council chambers, 340 PV Drive. Cycling and the approval of the new signs is not on the agenda.
However, opponents of the signage, who also advocate illegally restricting cyclists from public roads, have already met with police and city officials. Postings on social media indicate that some PVE residents are going to virulently oppose any affirmative steps taken by the city to make cycling safer, or to increase enforcement of California’s 3-foot law.
Happily, I’m one of the targets in all this. Two members of the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch Gang showed up at the protest ride and introduced themselves as “Rich dudes,” then interviewed me and did a great job of proving that I was wrong when I said that none of the roads in PVE were wide enough to accommodate a car and bike side-by-side. After heckling our protest ride, they put together a video and proved pretty clearly that a very short portion of the road we were on was 18 feet wide.
They neglected to note that it was only a couple of hundred feet long before it immediately narrowed down to a substandard width, and they agreed that the 3-foot law needs to be enforced. Bizarrely, the street that they have proven to be wide enough to accommodate bikes and cars (for a few hundred feet) is now part of the very same section of roadway that the angry residents are trying to ban cycle traffic from.
Moreover, they didn’t think my blog was funny, which is weird, because I try really hard to write a fair, balanced, ordinary bicycling blog that is non-controversial. Why? One simple reason: My mom sometimes reads it and I would be mortified if she ever saw me write words like “fuck” and “shit.”
But back to the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch. They deserve props for caring enough about the issue to show up, scream at peaceful protesters, video it, spend two weeks and all 56 of their combined IQ points editing it, and then share it from an email called SuperRoidInRB@gmail.com. And I mean that. They do care. They may be unemployed bums, but unemployed bums have a whole lot of choices about what to do in a day, and choosing to counter-protest is pretty healthy for democracy, certainly more so than another drunken day harassing women and vandalizing cars at an illegal rock shelter built on protected public state shorelines.
The bicycling community now needs to build on the success we’ve had with the traffic safety committees in PVE and Rancho PV. What does that mean?
It means it’s time for usto show up.
The city council will allow concerned members of the public to address the signage issue even though the council won’t be voting on it at this meeting. This past Wednesday 17 cyclists made polite, sincere, and intelligent appeals to the PVE traffic safety committee. That needs to happen again on July 12, and again when the council meets to formally vote on the recommendations. You can rest assured that the PVE residents who don’t want the 3-foot and BMUFL signs installed have already met, spoken, and emailed every single council member, the city manager, the city engineer, and everyone on the traffic safety committee.
If you can’t make it, fine. What about your husband or wife pr boyfriend or girlfriend or kids? If you can make it, why not bring your husband, wife, or kids with you? The roads may be in PVE, but PVE doesn’t own them. To the contrary, the city takes hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to pave and maintain them. They are our roads, too.
Democracy isn’t Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not email or Reddit or NextDoor or campaign contributions and it’s sure as hell not this blog.
Democracy is you, your family, and the most precious resource you have: Your time. The elected officials in PVE are like elected officials everywhere else. They show up, struggle with problems, and try to find the best solutions for the least price that results in the most happy constituents and the fewest angry ones.
In short, if they’re doing their jobs even remotely correctly, they compromise.
We can be part of the compromise, but only if we collaborate by showiung up. I know that Tuesday is Telo training crit day and Eldo training crit day and there are lots of better places to be at 6:00 PM, but we can’t be heard by the people who matter unless we’re in the chambers with our names on a speaker card.
Please show up and help. Ironfly, South Bay Wheelmen, BCCC, PV Bike Chicks, and especially the members of the Double Secret Probation Cycling Committee, i.e. Jim Hannon & Eric Bruins & Mike Norris. LaGrange will be sending people, and they’re not even in the South Bay–they’re coming because public access to public roads isn’t a joking matter, and safety in PV is crucial to every cyclist on the coast.
We need you.
You will be empowered by the engagement and you’ll gain a ton of respect for the council members and the police. You’ll also gain respect for the people who oppose safer and better streets, and who think that bicycles are a plague. They may see the world differently, but they care enough to show up and make their case. They want their city to be a better place, and to them that means fewer bikes.
PS: If you’re planning on attending the Tuesday, July 12 meeting of the PV City Council, please note: 1) Although the meeting starts at 6:00 PM, public comment won’t begin until 7:30, and probably not until after that. So no need to be there at 6:00. 2) The council will be voting on the signs at their next July meeting; this meeting is an opportunity for us to communicate to the council that we support the signage and want them to vote on it at the next meeting. Hopefully you can attend both meetings.
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Our protesters were hotter than yours
July 7, 2016 § 22 Comments
First, thank you Judy Frankel. It was a few hours before the PV Estates Traffic Safety Committee, and we were all hard at work (okay, screwing off on Facebag), trying to figure out our approach for the meeting.
The committee agenda had three recommendations for the city council:
- Take down the “Bike Laws Strictly Enforced” signs, burn them, and force the charred ashes down the throats of all the yahoos we’ve caught assaulting cyclists on video.
- Put up “3 Feet–It’s the Law” signs that are designed so simply that your cat could read it and your dog could pee on the signpost.
- Put up “Share the Road” signs so that irate cagers could scream, “Get over onto the edge you stupid fuggin’ biker! The sign says SHARE!”
We all agreed that #1 was good and #2 was real good. But we thought #3 stank. So Judy Frankel advised us that we needed to come loaded for BMUFL: Bikes May Use Full Lane.
We hustled in a full crew of stinky cyclists, most still clad in their damp chamois, that included Jose Godinez, Sarah Barraclough, James Olsen, Linda Campbell, Matt Miller, Tom Duong, Susan Varee, Joann Zwagerman, Delia Park, Michael Barraclough, Alistair Miller, Greg Seyranian, Pete Richardson, Joey Cooney, Geoffrey Louis, Matt Chartier, JR Rossetti, Kristie Fox, Robert Cisneros, and Wendy Watson.
Before the meeting we had to choose between putting together an organized and well thought out approach or go pound our bikes for a few laps around the Wanky Super Power Loop. By the time we’d done three loops everyone was exhausted and had no energy to do anything except listen dully to our Feared Leader, Michael Claw of the Bear.
“Listen up, fuckers,” he said. “I’m going to make this so simple even a cyclist can understand it. The committee doesn’t decide anything, but it can kill everything. These guys make recommendations for the city council to act on. Piss them off at your peril.”
“What are we supposed to say?” asked one cowering, lycra clad sweatlump.
Claw of the Bear handed out Post-it notes. “I’ve dumbed it down for a First Grader, then dumbed it down again for us,” he said. “There are three points:
“1) Take down bad signs: Good.
“2) Put up 3-foot signs. Good.
“3) Put up “Share the Road” signs: Bad.
“4) Put up BMUFL signs: Good.”
“Er, sir,” protested one cyclist, weakly. “That’s four points.”
“I said four points,” Claw of the Bear shot back. “Four points. Now let’s go!”
We marched into the council chambers and leaned our bikes up against the corridor wall while a couple of riders with rather excitable bowels dashed into the restroom to “rest.” The sound of cracking porcelain rang throughout the council chambers.
The meeting was called to order, the pledge was read, and a few traitors were hung by the neck until dead, after which their bodies were thrown to a pack of wild dogs outside the window.
“Okay, you bastards,” said the committee chair. “Who’s next?”
We all cowered in our seats and pretended that we had simply come to take notes. “Let me tell you sonsofbitches how this meeting is gonna go,” said the committee chair. “First one of you underwear-clad clowns leaves a sweat stain on our expensive city council church pews is gonna hang by the neck until dead. Any questions?”
We had none and the meeting came to order. First off was The Great Parking On PVDW Controversy. Concerned citizens stood up and discussed the incredible importance of this pressing issue while the committee tried to stay awake and the police chief idly spun the cylinder of his .357 to see who was going to get shot first for going over the 3-minute speaking time limit.
After a half hour of avid discussion about the life-or-death parking issue, we moved on to the bike signage item on the agenda. “Okay, you bastards,” said the committee chair. “I know what you all want and let’s get this straight: You ain’t gonna get it. So you might as well shut up and go home now. Plus you all stink to high heaven. Take a bath next time, willya?”
Claw of the Bear was not to be intimidated. “We like #1 and #2, but #3 is dumb. D-U-M-B. The last time I saw something that dumb I was in Texas. So we propose something smart. Put up BMUFL signs.”
“What did you call me?” the committee chair bellowed.
“I didn’t call you anything,” said Claw of the Bear.
“Like hell you didn’t.”
“I just said BMUFL signs.”
“He said it again!” roared the committee chair. Then he turned to the police chief. “Shoot the bastard, willya? He just called me a BMUFL.”
The police chief looked doubtful. “I don’t think he’s worth shooting, sir.”
“Why the hell not?”
“He smells too bad for the wild dogs to eat, so we’d have to bury him out of city funds.”
The chair nodded, grudgingly. “Well, what do the rest of you bastards want?” he said.
One by one we went to the lectern and read our Post-it notes. “Please be nice to us,” we begged. “And give us some BMUFL.”
As each sweaty speaker beseeched the august council, one thing became clear: Our protesters were waaaaay hotter than the parking controversy protesters. The parking lot people were schlumpy, pot-bellied, sag-bottomed, and draped with ill-cut rags that were displeasing to the eye.
Regardless of how dumb we all sounded, it’s hard to argue with smokin’ hot, articulate women in Spandex and tight jeans, especially when, with one flex of the muscled thigh, they could probably crack your skull like a rotten cantaloupe.
Finally one of the committee members, teetering on the edge of a prodigious sleep, made a motion that the committee vote on the recommendations. Only thing was, he changed #3 from “Put up a Dumb Ass Share the Road Sign” to “Put up BMUFL signs.”
The motion passed unanimously.
We cheered. We clapped. We hollered. We hoped we weren’t going to get shot for leaving chain grease stains on the carpet. The BMUFL recommendation was off to the city council, where it would likely be shot down in flames by angry residents who weren’t about to put up profane words like BMUFL in their fine community.
For today, though, a big old democracy had been done, and not just in the men’s room.
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Push back hard
June 29, 2016 § 29 Comments
It’s funny how chicken people are. Me included.
When Michael Barraclough proposed a protest ride in the city of Palos Verdes Estates to draw attention to the recent three fatalities on the hill, the failure of the police to ever issue a SINGLE citation for violation of the 3-foot passing law, and the steady stream of violent crimes perpetrated against cyclists, I thought it was a good idea and supported it.
Then one by one the critics popped up and I got scared. A couple of people upped the ante by claiming they were “on the side of the cops” and they cited the protest as “cop bashing,” as did the critics who scolded us for making the problem worse by making cagers hate us even more.
“Is that even possible?” I wondered.
The plan behind the protest ride was to ride single file (“Hey, biker assholes! RIDE SINGLE FILE!”) and to stop at every stop sign by putting a foot down (“Fucking bikers BLOW THROUGH ALL THE STOP SIGNS!). Since the city of PVE has the highest ratio of stop signs per foot of roadway in the galaxy, the short little crazy-x loop Barraclough had sketched out would involve lots of stopping.
Once traffic was backed up to San Diego we would call off the ride, retire to our lairs, feast on joints of mutton and tankards of mead, and then gird our loins for battle with the city council. Many would fall in hand-to-hand trench combat. Many would be impaled on the bayonets of the raging council supporters. Many would be crushed by the massive tummies of the fat PVE trust babies who are the subject of a civil rights class action lawsuit for “Being colossal dicks.”
But with three dead cyclists since March and a reign of terror washing over the peninsula, Barraclough had had enough. Enough was too much, in fact, because his letters, impassioned pleas, and crime reports had resulted in very little change on the part of the city. This was in glaring contrast to the reaction at neighboring Rancho Palos Verdes, where our efforts in front of the traffic safety committee were already reaping rewards.
In the end, the only reason I went is because I had said I would. I was plagued with doubt and resigned to failure. What’s worse, I was being led to the slaughter by a fuggin’ Republican, a dude who knew about as much about nonviolent protest as I know about the bond market. I was also convinced that the turnout would be dismal and imagined four skinny wankers in gaudy underwear protesting social injustice on $15,000 bikes.
So I got there and found out I was wrong. The turnout was phenomenal–the PVE police were there in full force.
On the biker side, there were perhaps fifty or sixty riders. Many I knew, but many I did not. They had heard about the protest and came to make their voices heard in the service of victims they never knew at a place they never rode. I couldn’t help but wonder what the turnout would have been if everyone who actually had a dog in the fight had shown up.
Michael gave a great, rabble-rousing speech. The plan was to be safe, be polite, and to follow the law. This was important because a couple of PV dickbags had already shown up to harass us. Armed with video cameras and enough obnoxiousness to fill a Trump rally, they introduced themselves to me as “Rich people.” Then they did a short, rude interview and wandered over to a corner to shout derisively as the ride began.
What became clear to everyone was that a mere forty bikes obeying the letter of the stop sign law, and riding single file, would turn the traffic in PV into a sticky, tangled nest of knotted pubic hair, which it did. In no time the incoming rush hour traffic backed up all the way to PV Boulevard in Redondo Beach, and that was before even half the riders had exited (one by one in single file, of course) from the parking lot.
We even got the bonus of having a Jeep filled with snarking, snot-nosed, entitled little high school shits cursing and yelling at us as they sat stuck in traffic, the smelting sun baking the fifteen IQ points shared between them.
Once the stoppage hit critical mass, the police stepped in. They manned the intersection with a traffic cop and began moving the cars. After fifteen or twenty minutes they had cleared the intersection. We did one more glory loop and called it a day.
The police were beyond professional. They’d been alerted in advance, they let us have our say, and then they got things moving. At one point a rider fell over and a cop cruiser rushed over to make sure he was okay. The police seemed embarrassed by the lard-assed Rich People on the corner, and the profanities of the snotnosers were captured on video by a TV crew, videographer David Brindon, and others.
Not only were no PV Citizens harmed in the making of the protest, none was made late for a single double-tall soy latte with choco sprinkles, and many got to marvel at Jeff Hazeltine’s surfboard-carrier that was hauling a 300-foot surfboard in his wake. We bikers danced a victory jig and all dispersed except for seven or eight of us, who waited for an hour and a half until the city council meeting began.
Of course with that much time to kill a small group did a quick tour of the Wanky Super Power Loop, a Strava segment that is now more famous than the Stelvio. We returned in time to have coffee at the Ranch Market and to plot our strategy.
Tom’s was the best, of course. “Lasagna,” he said as he stuck his fork in the Ranch Market’s signature carry-out meal. “I’m having lasagna.”
We all agreed that the city would have not comeback to that.
The city council opened the meeting for public comment. The only people who had shown up to address the council and who weren’t addressing an item on the agenda were the cyclists, some of whom (ahem) hadn’t brought a change of clothes and stank like last Thursday’s dumpster and were ringed with enough white powder to start a salt lick. Barraclough, Delia Park, Michelle Landes, Joey Cooney, Jose Godinez, Tom Duong, Geoffrey Louis, and I each went to the lectern and asked the city council to act on the pressing issue of bike safety in PVE and the lack of law enforcement with regard to cager-on-biker crime.
When the last speaker sat down, we got a couple of big surprises.First was Police Chief Kepley. We’d made it clear that he and his department had comported themselves professionally during the protest, and during virtually all of our encounters with the PV cops. Kepley made comments that indicated a clear understanding of the conflict and the issues, and followed it up with an invitation for collaboration between us and them. It was awesome. No recriminations, no victim blaming, and no imperatives to ride single file.
Next, Mayor King and councilman James Goodhart thanked us for coming. What I mean is THEY THANKED US FOR COMING. US. SWEATY BIKER NUTS. THEY THANKED US. WITH THE WORDS “THANK YOU.” SINCERELY.
They acknowledged the issues and promised to begin the planning process that would address the issue of a comprehensive bike plan in PVE, much as we had heard from the traffic safety committee at the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. Goodhart encouraged us to keep showing up and to take our rightful place at the table. He added that the media attention Barraclough had brought to the city was good, and exhorted us to come to the July 6 PVE traffic safety committee meeting, as well as the one in September.
Radically different from other PVE council meetings I’ve attended, there was no “outsider v. locals” vibe and it was clear that the council was disturbed about the deaths and the assaults. If anything, the obnoxious slobs with the video cams helped our cause for this simple reason: When forced to choose between smelly, salt-stained people with kids and grandkids and jobs and real lives, or entitled nasty people filled with beer, the choice was easy.
We left as a group when the council went on to its regularly scheduled business, and outside the building got a chance to speak with one of the sergeants. He acknowledged the issues and it was clear that changes are in the works. He was friendly, professional, and did his best to respond to the pointed questions regarding the department’s failure to ever issue a single 3-foot citation. (Note to world: Don’t get on the hot seat when Delia Park is asking the questions.) Best of all, it was crystal clear that Barraclough’s decision to hold a protest ride was the turning point. The sergeant showed a thorough understanding of the issues and he made the effort to let us know we were being heard.
There’s no way to bring back the dead, but it was hard not come away with the conviction that the PVE police, mayor, and city council are ready and willing to work with us to make sure that this becomes a better, safer, more enjoyable place to ride a bike.
And I hate to say I’m an optimist, but you know what? I kind of am.
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