20071108

Post Election Blues

The local election has closed, and everyone I hated won. Now I kind of wish I'd been more vocal about who I disliked before the election. Too late now, but I'm going to rant anyway...

I was bombarded with junk mail by the two City Counil incumbents up for re-election. Almost every day for two weeks, I received something from one or the other. A couple of times, I received joint mail from them! I was annoyed. I only got one message from the candidate I did support when she sent a single email message to people she knew (we're in the same neighborhood association). Plus, these two supported a lot of ugly, low-quality developments, most of which are within walking distance of my house. I live in the low-rent neighborhood -- they live up the hill, away from the eyesores they supported and proudly printed on their campaign junk mail. They're the kind of guys who encourage high densities in my neighborhood (but not theirs), to the point where the developments don't provide enough parking for the units built, and tell us the residents should use public transportation or ride bikes. But they don't support increased bus or train service (and forget extending BART down to the Peninsula), or planning for bike lanes to make it easier for people to use those options. I guess their mailings were effective, because I'm doomed to 3 more years of them.

Then there's the finance wiz who is now on the school board. His whole deal was that the district needs to tighten up. Yes, the district has had problems with financial mismanagement, but he has no educational experience. How can someone who knows nothing about education lead an educational body?

This has nothing to do with the election, but I'm ranting, so I figured I'd continue. My 77 year old father took his bicycle out for a ride last summer for the first time in years. He lives up on the hill in the good neighborhood and it's relatively quiet. However, San Mateo streets don't have much in the way of bike lanes, and since it's, for the most part, a quiet suburb, we don't have a lot of traffic patrols, particularly in the nicer residential areas. So of course, people drive fast. Cars were whizzing by my father, who was a little unsteady on his bike, and he got so scared of being hit, he turned around after a few blocks, headed straight home, and hasn't ridden his bike since then.

A few weeks after the bike incident, I received a brochure from Park & Rec. The subject? How San Mateo is a bicycle friendly city! There was a map of the few bike lanes and routes within the city limits. I know those streets, and most of the bike lanes are barely wide enough to be legal. And one of the bike routes is on a narrow, windy road, on which cars tend to speed. Only bike geeks could navigate with confidence on most of the roads shown on the map. I'm of the opinion it should only be called bike friendly if my 77 year old father (or my neighbor's 8 year old daughter) would feel comfortable biking on it.