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It's a mystery why they published this bizarre rant. It's a total illogical mess, and the linkake of conservatism/libertarianism and virulent anti-cycling rhetoric simply does not work.

It's actually kind of hilarious.

Rage is all the rage anymore. Can't get what you want? You know what to do.

Generally, he seems all over the place and really offbeat. But I agree with him on the electoral aspects.

The majority on the council felt threatened politically. So they changed the format and date of the election. It was a pretty crappy move that reversed decades of precedents to accomodate the whims of one party. It's akin, albeit on a smaller scale, to the Tom Delay redistricting move in Texas many years back.

Anyway, back to his crazyiness, stole their signs? I laughed reading that line. The signs were all made by the same person in permanent market on cheap posterboard. I would rate the liklyhood of them disintergrating in the rain/snow or blowing away with the 50mph gusts many times before they were stolen. What a tool. And community feel? Ha, for 12 parking spots on what he admits is a busy road...good luck!

Virginia is one of the few states in the union to hold its statewide elections in an off off year (not even at the congressional midterm). That has an impact on turnout and on partisan and ideological make-up. Does Mr Buckley complain about that? Or is he in fact happy with that, as DC implies, because it discourages turnout of the demographic groups (the young, poor, and non-white) who tend to vote in ways he does not like?

But I am happy to see that the Alexandria City Council is more solidly pro-cycling than the DC City Council.

Just wondering, did the city voters approve the change to council elections from district to at large, or was this an action by the council? seems to me if the voters approved the change, then Mr. Buckley's ire should be aimed at his fellow citizens.

@Crickey7, you answer your own question.

Not to get too off-topid, but yeah, I'm interested in the change in Alexandria as well. The change to at-large - if done as a method of the elected trying to choose their constituents - does not sit well with me.

But changing the date of the election to get larger voter turnout (with the side effect of making it a more appealing electorate) doesn't bother me at all. It's OK to do well by doing good. The inverse is not true though. If you change the date of the election to get less turnout (or to keep certain voters away Chris Christie) that is not Ok. That is doing well by doing evil, IMO.

Anyway, does anyone know of any more info on this change.

I find it hard to believe that anyone vandalized a car over this issue. Real scofflaw vandal cyclists (as opposed to simple scofflaw cyclists like all of us) don't use bike lanes!

I was really hoping to come back and see a reply from T on what electoral aspects s/he found troubling. I still think that elections timed to national elections are likely to be the fairest since they will have greater turnout; it's hard to imagine a counterargument based on fairness.

DE, anytime a political body changes the rules solely to benefit itself, I find it troubling. The Republicans do the same thing in conservative areas and it's not right.

I don't buy the fairness argument otherwise what's with the at large strategy? Or grouping the ballot by party without actually identifying it as such?

Not to mention what Sen. Ebbin wisely pointed out--these folks will be wholely overshadowed during Presidential election years. The whole point of doing it off of the big cycles is that you put more attention on the candidates and the issues. Moving it to November/at-large/etc, is about hoping you can simply have more people party-line vote. (Sen. Ebbin's column on it:
http://alextimes.com/2013/11/breaking-the-cycle/ ).

So, sure, perhaps you have more participation--but you could acheive that on a weekend, via multiple days of voting or any host of items. The move by the Council was entirely because they felt politically threatened. So instead of work harder for their constituents, they opted to change the rules.

What I don't really see is Buckley's linkage between the two. I think he just presumes every cyclist must be left wing and a jaded supporter of the Council. I don't buy that argument at all because I know left leaning cyclists whom hate the council and I know right leaning cyclists.

Good points, T. And one cannot help but think that such changes nearly always can be presumed to benefit incumbents.

That's a good response, thanks. I don't necessarily agree with all of it.

Someone had to make the change if it were to be made, and it's difficult to expect the party to be hurt by it to make it. If Congress allowed DC representation, and that congress was Democratic, it would still (to me) be the right thing to do, even if it was self-serving. The other side isn't likely to do it.

I agree that greater participation could be done with the elements mentioned as well. I'd still prefer elections at the same time as national elections. Next Tuesday is a special election in Arlington. I don't know if I will vote because we can't take time off like we can for national elections, and in some sense it hardly seems worth it for such a small election. But if I don't vote, I'm leaving it up to those dedicated enough (and with enough free time) to do so.

a george mason law professor behaves in this fashion? i find it hard to believe that anybody would steal an already used piece of cheap marker scrawled poster board paper. the weather alone should have destroyed all of them. that rant of his, though. WOW.

Im interested in weekend voting and multiple days voting (combined as Saturday or Sunday only would present religious issues for some) but changing the year is probably an easier change to make. And if it does not need to be overshadowed - the entire House of Reps, 1/3 of the senate, and several governors are elected at the same time as the president. I also take issue with the notion that the Alexandria City Council is "left wing" in any meaningful sense of that term.

as for at large - while I do see arguments for voting for a local board by district, we have also seen, certainly in the District and I think to some extent in FFX, situations where a CM or Supervisor, as de facto ward/magesterial district "mayor" puts local interests over those of the whole jurisdiction. This very bike lane fight is an example of how that can happen - issues of transportation on King Street, of development in Old Town, impact the entire City of Alexandria, yet if there were a CM for those areas, its possible the intense local lobbying might have triumphed.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating - compare ArlCo (county wide BoS) vs DC or even Fairfax in their municipal success.

here's an article on it. Actually the year didn't change, just the month. So from May to November, but every 3 years so it will only occasionally match up with presidential elections.



interesting to note that some argued against it BECAUSE outgoing council members were supporting it - yet its precisely those member who would not benefit from the change. Damned either way.

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating - compare ArlCo (county wide BoS) vs DC or even Fairfax in their municipal success."

Congress is another example. Most representatives, elected from safe districts, have zero incentive to advance real solutions or to compromise at all. Instead, they fling invective across the aisle to build up leverage, hoping to cash in by enticing others to scratch their backs with wasteful pork-barrel projects. Net effect: results that are far from the best interests of the citizenry as a whole.

The article on the American Spectator is interesting. Buckley begins by painting a picture of a dangerous street and ends with the need to not make changes to retain a sense of neighborhood. We can only conclude he derives his sense of neighborhood from plenty of free parking and speeding motor vehicles.

I am confused, are we a rag tag bunch of unemployed bicyclists or an all powerfully bike lobby? I feel ragged from all the hours I put in at work, just ask my wife.

The comments on the American Spectator are quite a spectacle. Some of the folks there have so much hate towards cyclists that they throw out all their conservative values. Let's summarize. They want cyclists to be taxed or taxed more (even though we already pay more than our fair share). They want us to be regulated by the government with licenses, insurance, and registrations. They want us off the road, because we are in their way of making economic progress only achieved by moving cars and trucks (like people don't joy ride in cars). More taxes, more regulation, and less freedom for mode of travel that is low cost and makes one more self sufficient.

They are so hung up on cars and only cars. So much for diversity in modes of travel. They don't see that there is a diversity among cyclists. Sure some don't follow all the rules, but same with drivers. Some joy ride others use it for transportation. But then again, diversity is not their strong suit.

There were a few a replies from the the cycling community. The best one pointed out the facts that we are all familiar with here. This is about parking and there was a compromise.

Acyclist, take issue with the nomenclature used to describe a group of politicians from one of the two distinct parties all you want, but it was a naked power grab. The reading on the subject via the Hobson Commission is quite interesting and you will leave wondering whatever happened to the referendum. And where did they come up with the at large sillyness?

Anyway, there are certainly arguments to be made both ways on it. The whole participation notion only makes much sense to me if there is somehow a difference in the ability of people to vote in a given election. Between the Tuesdays, I suppose one could argue the labor laws provide for certain amounts of time off tied to the general election and that's the difference.

In 2012, there was 0 chance I would even notice any candidates outside the big ones. I got enough Presidential mail to cover a living room, literally. And the ad costs were so high that all you saw were the biggest races. When it coincides with the Presidential race, this really is a disservice to voters.

Anyway, I've beaten this issue to death. Back to cycling out of my way up and down King St to Buckley's great dismay.

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