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Kidical Mass set for February; but don’t expect to see Rep. Greenlick

Posted by on January 27th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Puppet parade bike move
Kidical Mass will end at a puppet
show next month.
(Photo © J. Maus)

After news spread earlier this month about Oregon House Representative Mitch Greenlick’s law proposal that would ban kids six years and under from riding on (or being pulled behind) bikes with their parents, Kidical Mass organizers felt their ride would be a fitting way to demonstrate their opposition to the bill.

On January 15th, despite rain-soaked skies, about 50 people showed up to ride through the streets of Sellwood. Ride organizer Katie Proctor invited Rep. Greenlick to join them but he had a prior commitment (House Rep. Jules Bailey did attend). This month, Proctor once again invited Greenlick, but he has declined the invitation.

Greenlick wrote via email to Proctor that, “I feel I have had more than enough communication with the biking community, without attending this event.”

While you won’t get a chance to communicate with Rep. Greenlick at Kidical Mass this month, you will get the chance to see a special family show by The Mudeye Puppet Company (whom I still have fond memories of after helping them move-by-bike back in 2006). The ride meets at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church (5441 SE Belmont) and the route will loop through Laurelhurst and Sunnyside Parks before heading to the puppet show. You can get a special Kidical Mass discount on tickets by ordering online with the codeword “bicycle”.

The ride is set for February 19th. More details at KidicalMass.org.

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  • mabsf January 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Hmmm, he had enough communication?
    I think the courageous thing would be to actually start the conversation now. I offered Mr Greenlick to give him an overview over the different bikes and products and I am standing by my word.

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  • John Mulvey January 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    While I’m not thrilled with Rep. Greenlick’s response, I do think we ought to remember that he’s a progressive and influential legislator. I’ve never believed that he’s anti-bike –unlike one of his collegues I can think of.

    It’s not a good thing for Greenlick and the bike community to be feuding.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      It’s not a good thing for Greenlick and the bike community to be feuding.

      From what I can tell, “the bike community” isn’t “feuding” with Greenlick at all. People learned about his proposal, they heard him reasons for supporting it, and then they wrote/emailed/called him to let him know their opinion.

      In this case, Katie extended an invitation and he decided to not take it.

      I don’t see any feuding going in the community.

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    • Katie Proctor January 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      For my part, I’m disappointed at the representative’s seeming disinterest in an actual dialog, in spite of his initial insistence that he was trying to start a conversation. Whomever he was trying to start a conversation with, I guess it wasn’t with those parents who rely on bikes for their daily transportation.

      I’m also very put off by the “more than enough” phrasing, especially since only two weeks ago he declined my January invitation but said that that “I would love to meet with the folks at Kidical Mass.”

      What sort of conversation is possible if you refuse to meet with the people you are trying to legislate? Saying he’s had “more than enough” communication on the issue definitely implies he’s done talking about it, at least with people who ride bikes whose lives would be directly affected by the bill.

      And I’m not sure how to take that as anything other than anti-bike. I’d like to, but I can’t see it. Can you?

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      • wsbob January 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm

        “… Greenlick wrote via email to Proctor that, “I feel I have had more than enough communication with the biking community, without attending this event.” …” maus/bikeportland

        Katie: First of all, was there anything else related to biking or the the bill he’s sponsoring, in Greenlick’s email response to your invitation to ride in Kidical Mass, than was published in this bikeportland story?

        Considering the very controversial bill proposal he’s sponsoring, I would think Rep. Greenlick probably should offer a little more explanation for publication, as to how it is he’s received more than enough communication from the biking community. Like a lot of other people it seems, I’d like to know exactly what he means by his remark in this bikeportland story.

        As for Kidical Mass, it might have been a good idea for Rep. Greenlick to at least show up to the start of the ride, greet people, maybe say a few words and answer some civil questions…even if he didn’t feel he could actually ride a bike in the event (remembering that Rep. Greenlick has referred to his age as one reason he doesn’t ride, although, he’s also a big guy at around 250 lbs. ).

        I didn’t check the mileage for the ride, but I’m guessing organizers aren’t making the kids ride a century. Maybe 5-10 miles? Unless he’s got some serious disability, on some easy riding type of bike, Greenlick probably could have managed a mile or two with the group. He might have had some fun.

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        • todd January 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm

          I offered to give him a ride around town sometime, a la grandma: http://clevercycles.com/2007/08/16/grandma-got-bak/ ; would work fine for kidical mass.

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        • Katie Proctor January 27, 2011 at 7:27 pm

          Here’s the entirety of the email. I asked him if he had found any more data in the past two weeks, or if his thinking had shifted at all in the ensuing dialog. He replied:

          “I feel I have had more than enough communication with the biking community, without attending this event. I have found a data base on emergency room visits in the 2004 era. We can estimate that there were about 1200 ER visits per year for bike injuries for kids 9 years old and younger, including about 40 that resulted in hospitalization. That is all I know about those visits. We continue to look for data.

          Mitch”

          And yes, Kidical Mass is a 3-mile ride, mostly flat, in the middle of the afternoon. If necessary, I’m sure we could get him a pedicab, or bakfiets (thanks Todd!) to ride in.

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          • Zoomzit January 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm

            That seems like an awfully high estimate. I hope that they aren’t trying to extrapolate that data to try and connect it to kids on parent’s bikes. There’s a big difference between riding on the back of the xtracycle down the esplanade and an 8 year old attempting a 720.

            I wonder why they had to go all the way back to 2004? It seems near impossible to try determine the incidence of children getting hurt while on their parent’s bikes from extrapolating existing data. Seems like they need to study the issue directly. Seems like Kidical Mass would be a smart place to start.

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          • Zoomzit January 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

            Ok, I am really trying to keep things above the waist here, but when I read this, I think of someone like Geoge C. Scott in a “Christmas Carol” who is pouring over ancient hospital admittance records by candlelight while muttering about the “carefree” Portland parents and their reckless ways.

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          • wsbob January 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

            Katie…thank’s for posting the entire text of Rep. Greenlick’s email response to your invitation to ride Kidical Mass. The additional remarks in that email…:

            “… I have found a data base on emergency room visits in the 2004 era. We can estimate that there were about 1200 ER visits per year for bike injuries for kids 9 years old and younger, including about 40 that resulted in hospitalization. That is all I know about those visits. We continue to look for data. Mitch ”

            … should have had him realizing he’s leaving people wondering how he got from point ‘A’, the database, to point ‘B’, sponsoring bill proposal 2228, presuming his thoughts on it were something such as: ‘Okay, the best thing to is to open a dialogue about child safety when being transported by bike; to do that, I’ll write up a bill proposal to prohibit children from being carried on on a bike or a bike trailer.’ . To recall an old an often used phrase, the impression he may have inadvertently given of his thinking at this point, is that he decided to ‘Throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

            I wish Rep. Greenlick would be more forthcoming about how he got from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

            It’s becoming hard not to find Rep. Greenlick’s involvement with HB 2228 and his response to the public over it to be very strange. Databases, studies, surveys and all that kind of stuff can be useful tools, but for a State Rep to allow the public’s impression to be made that the rep is relying solely on that sort of thing as background for a bill proposal, is bad.

            As people commenting earlier have already noted, if Greenlick and others involved with HB 2228 wanted to get up to date info on the relative safety of current means by which parents are transporting their kids by bike, showing up to a ride event that would most certainly provide examples of parents doing exactly that would probably be immensely valuable in crafting legislation with the type of safety objective he seems to imagine the present text of HB 2228, would bring about.

            I was hoping Greenlick could…would turn the brouhaha that came out of his bill proposal into something good that would engage the public in a positive, constructive way. Doesn’t look like he’s making any great effort to do what’s necessary to achieve that.

            Maybe Ol’ Mitch chickened out on riding in Kiddical Mass, fearing that, now that they’ve heard from the parents about his part in HB 2228, those young whippersnapper 6 yr olds showing up for the ride might decide to show him how peeved they are by throwing their ice cream cones at him.

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          • was carless January 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

            Actually, it sounds like he went from point B, then looked to see if there was a point A around.

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      • Opus the Poet January 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        I think some of the “communication” that Greenlick has been getting might have something to do with news (and his email addy) about the bill being posted in web sites that cater to just about every Anglophone country in the world (and a couple of Dutch sites as well) talking about what an idiot he is (not my words, just the tone of most of the articles). Most of the articles I read were minimally respectful of the office, none at all of the office-holder. I seem to recall at least one “batchit crazy” description from a couple articles.

        Yeah, when the world comes calling about you being “Batchit crazy” about something you proposed, I get A Little Annoyed myself. (Of course when I get called “batchit” it’s because they missed the “Parody” tag at the bottom of the article)

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  • Joe Rowe January 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Greenlick has issues. He can’t use the English language to describe his feelings. He says he intended to “start a dialog” but he has only sent me a form letter, and not answered critical questions.

    He says “”I feel I have had more than enough communication with the biking community, without attending this event.”

    He means: Communication is a one way street. I get to propose laws, and then I receive communication. I don’t need to answer any questions.

    Yo Greenlick. I know you, your staff, your friends and your wife and kids are reading this. If you want to start a dialog, you have to
    a) Listen to valid questions
    b) Respond to valid questions

    How can you propose a law that does not exist anywhere in the world, and then declare it was just to “save one life”? OMG.

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  • Zoomzit January 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    John Mulvey
    It’s not a good thing for Greenlick and the bike community to be feuding.

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if we are feuding. He proposed a boneheaded measure without talking to his constituency, the affected citizens or conducting any meaningful statistically viable research. It was terrible legislating and he should be ashamed of it.

    He never apologized and apparently has never had any desire to really dialog with the bicycle community. In general his approach was ignorant, misguided and condescending. As it currently stands, there is reason to suspect that we could find a better representative in the next election.

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  • John Mulvey January 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I think you’re being too modest, Jonathan. I’d bet that Greenlick got more response to this than any other recent bill, and much of it was hostile and demeaning –like Joe and Zoomzit’s posts here.

    I don’t think Greenlick’s petulence helps him any, and I’m not defending him. I am saying that once you try to accomplish something in Salem, you’ll find that publicly slamming legislators isn’t the way to get what you want.

    When an elected is unrepentantly anti, then make him feel as much heat as you can bring. But when he is generally on your side but makes a call you disagree with, you MUST try to work with him, if only to make sure that the door is open on future issues. If you believe that Rep. Greenlick is more the former than the latter, well then I have to question your ability to read people and politics.

    I believe that you and your more aggressive readers here handled this issue badly and biking will be worse off during this session because of it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      I believe that you and your more aggressive readers here handled this issue badly and biking will be worse off during this session because of it.

      I appreciate your feedback John. I don’t control my readers (beyond deleting/censoring inappropriate comments). However, as for my own conduct on this story, I disagree that I handled it “badly.” I gave Greenlick every opportunity to explain his decision. (I think it’s interesting that my phone interview with him was pretty much identical to the official statement he issued later.)

      It is not my fault that his proposal came to light on a public forum and it is not my fault that people reacted the way they did.

      Also, I disagree w/ you that “biking will be worse off during this session” because of what transpired around this bill. If people speaking up about a poorly thought-out (and then repeatedly defended) new law proposal makes an issue worse off, than I think the problem is with the process and the politicians, not the people.

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    • BURR January 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      where has he given any indication that he’s ‘on our side’?

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  • Julian January 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Perhaps there will be more opportunity for him to have discussions with constituents when he has been retired.

    You know, standing on his lawn yelling at passersby that they’re abusing their children.

    Which is a great way to start “a conversation” you’re not actually interested in having, as evidenced by his rude, condescending followup responses.

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  • Zoomzit January 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    John Mulvey
    I’d bet that Greenlick got more response to this than any other recent bill, and much of it was hostile and demeaning –like Joe and Zoomzit’s posts here.

    Maybe we have a different interpretation of what “hostile and demeaning” are. I’m not calling him names (although I did call the measure “boneheaded”). Most of what I said is factual. What you may perceive as “hostile,” I’d call “gravely disappointed.”

    As citizens, we have the right to voice our concerns with regards to legislation. If we have repeated concerns with regards to our elected officials, we have the right to vote them out of office. These are not “hostile” or “demeaning” actions, these are the rights of the citizens of a healthy democracy.

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  • Sean G January 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I’m not sure how sending out form letters, ignoring follow-up questions from constituents, and declining opportunities to meet directly with affected communities is considered “more than enough communication.” Perhaps Greenlick’s idea of “enough” communication is sending out prepared statements, but I think the bicycling community is looking for more dialogue. I know I am disappointed that he chose not to address my polite follow-up questions in email.

    Cooperation is a two-way street, and I would imagine Greenlick would appreciate this as an elected official. His refusal to discuss this issue with bicyclists might cost him support in further endeavors that would be more palatable, such as helmet requirements.

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  • mmann January 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Back in 2009 when Wayne Krieger introduced the bike license legislation he was flamed and received some atrociously rude comments in response to an admittedly bone-headed proposal. Now we can argue whether such a thing as a “bike community” even exists, but in that legislator’s mind it does, and I doubt he’s experienced any kind of conversion to “our side” of the issue as a result of the personal insults. I keep hoping that the less mature and more pissy commentators would just count to 10 before pushing “send.” Keep it civil, be patient, remember that – even when it sticks in your craw – compromise is an art, and while it rarely results in everything you want, it usually works better than personal insults in all caps.

    My guess – reading between the lines – is that Mitch Greenlick has read quite enough personal insults from the “bike community” thank you, and has no interest in more of the same in a face-to-face confrontation.

    But I would encourage him to rethink his attendance at Kidical Mass, reminding him that he also received a lot of civil and reasoned protest to his proposal, and that those are the folks that are more likely to show up to speak to him personally. political discourse is part of his job description, and it only works if he shows up.

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  • John Mulvey January 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Zoomzit
    Most of what I said is factual.

    “ignorant, misguided and condescending”

    “reason to suspect that we could find a better representative in the next election

    You undoubtedly have a right to voice your concerns to your legislator. You also have a “right” to torpedo the relationships that are essential to advancing bicycling in Oregon. That doesn’t mean that you should do so.

    Threatening to run a pro-bike candidate against Greenlick is naive and reckless. “Ignorant” and “misguided” are two more words that come to mind. It also misjudges the strength of pro-bike voters and will, as I said, make things worse rather than better.

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    • Zoomzit January 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      John,

      The last thing that I’d like to do is to start a flame war because I at the end of the day I am trying to encourage a civil discourse of ideas.

      When I used the words “ignorant, misguided and condescending” I was very carefully selecting my words and not hurling random insults.

      HB 2228 was amended to a “study” because we all are truly “ignorant” of what the true risk is of children on bicycles. The amendment of the rule shows that the original was “misguided.” To propose a law that would significantly change the lives of affected citizens and then state that they are merely “starting a conversation” and that everyone should just “calm down” does, to those affected, sound exceptionally condescending.

      John Mulvey
      Threatening to run a pro-bike candidate against Greenlick is naive and reckless. “Ignorant” and “misguided” are two more words that come to mind. It also misjudges the strength of pro-bike voters and will, as I said, make things worse rather than better.

      I am just a private citizen posting on a forum. There is no bicycle cabal here. I don’t have the means nor inclination to run against Greenlick, nor do my thoughts represent the whole of the bicycling community.

      What I can say is that for me personally I was perplexed by the initial legislation, perturbed by Greenlick’s initial response and utterly baffled by his lack of communication with the affected community before, during or after he proposed the legislation.

      I am not a “one issue” voter. Bicycling is important to me, but even more important is to install legislators who I believe to be competent. With this particular piece of legislation, I do not believe Rep. Greenlick displayed competency.

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    • robert January 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      John,

      So it is ok for a Rep to propose completely outrageous legislation but not ok for the affected citizenry to strongly protest and communicate their feelings, which for some of us run quite deep?

      Screw this idea that I cannot show my anger and spew some written venom. There will be those who write calmly and those who do not, it takes both to get a message heard and to communicate to our elected officials what a dark hole they may be heading down and that taking us there is maybe not such a good idea.

      I hardly call this Rep progressive and if we the citizens want to run a pro-bike candidate against him next election why is that a problem. As others have succinctly stated in earlier posts I think that this Rep did a “shoot at the hippies” move with the proposed legislation so that he could use it as a bargaining chip in Salem for other desires. How is that sporting and how does that further the conversation and why are you so strongly defending him? Vote him out I say! I believe that is the democratic process in it finest form. This Rep is supposed to be a who’s who in America and well traveled, educated etc. His own Bio (accessible online) states in the first paragraph that “he is out to defend the rights of Oregonians”. Seems like he is trying to take away rights if I am not mistaken. Particularly my rights as a parent to transport my children in a way that I determine is fitting to our abilities and financial capabilities. The hell with playing nice in the press or worrying about anything he may or may not do for us that is bike related, this one ah shit moment may have wiped out all atta boys like the little card says! Doesn’t this Rep have aides that advise or assist him, seems like they might have spoken up “Eh boss I don’t think this is such a swift move – maybe we rethink this one. Are you sure you want to take on the pissed off Mamas and Papas Bears (Grandmas and Grandpas also) with the cargo bikes and trailers, they seem like a potentially unruly bunch and some are quite educated and very politically motivated when pushed”? Remember Berkely in the 60′s!

      However after all this has been said I would be happy to haul him around in our families box bike if he isn’t up to pedalling the kidical mass Feb. invitiation. He could hand out fliers with information and I promise to take care of him, bring warm drinks in a thermos, nice blanket, pillows, etc. I also will ensure that he isn’t harmed or unduly harrassed by any voracious under six year olds who like cycling with their parents.

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  • Julian January 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Based on his age (79, right?), how essential is this allegedly bike-friendly political relationship? And is NW Portland that hard up for progressive legislators? And is a muscular, forceful response to outrageous legislative proposals that unusual or wrong?

    Based on his media comments (cyclists are being “hysterical,” think they’re “immortal,” and that cycling with young kids is comparable to “child abuse”), I find the comments here (none in all-caps, mind you) to be as respectful as he has earned on this matter.

    Seriously … go back and read the bikeportland commenters on this issue. I don’t think you’d get nearly the level of thoughtful responses in the O if some out-of-touch legislator had proposed a similar automobile-related ban. That’s where you’d find the ALL-CAPS, and I doubt you’d find hand-wringing “mature” motorists worried about their political relationships with the guy that proposed it.

    But yes, I’m pissy. Was willing to give this public health eminence grise somewhat more credit until his followup responses revealed a nasty, condescending tone, and how false his whole “legislation is conversation” explanation was. His reputation is not exactly of a man given to “respectful discourse” with those that disagree with him, however civil. Torpedoes away.

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  • ambrown January 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    “more than enough communication” is funny, considering that I, an actual constituent of Greenlick’s (which I can say is likely not true of much of the email he received), never heard a word from him or a policy coordinator.

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  • ambrown January 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    **never heard a word from him after emailing and calling his office.

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    • craig January 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      likewise

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  • RyNO Dan January 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    He was never interested in “starting a conversation”, jeesh. That was just his way to back-pedal.

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  • Jeff January 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Interesting. I have a friend who works at OHSU. She was telling me that they were notified by the Bicycle Transporation Team there that OHSU does not officiall stand behind Rep. Greenlick’s proposals and that his viewpoints are not supported by OHSU policies in general. His own university threw him under a bus.

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  • Jason Skelton January 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I think there is no dialogue because Greenlick is letting the issue (and the bill) die.

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  • beth h January 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    “Greenlick wrote via email to Proctor that, ‘I feel I have had more than enough communication with the biking community, without attending this event.’ ”

    While a person’s tone can be hard to discern in written communications, it would be very easy to sense some arrogance in this response; ar at the very least, impatience.

    One cannot state they desire a dialog and then come across as impatient or arrogant. This is especially true of an elected representative. Dr. Greenlick does not represent my district, but I predict that more than a few of his constituents will be considering other candidates come election time. Positioning yourself as somehow more erudite and/or informed than your constituents is always a politically risky move.

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  • Paul Tay January 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    If any Oklahoma legislator files legislation to ban guns, I’d be mad as hell too, regardless of whether he/she claims to “start the conversation.” Support open carry!

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  • Tonyt January 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Greenlick blew it. If nothing else, it’s his job to know how to get things done and to believe that this propsal would be received as a “conversation starter” in this town betrays a shocking tone-deafness to a particularly engaged community. But as much as I’d like to take him at his word, I simply don’t believe that a conversation is what Greenlick had in mind. It sounded like lame damage control. “Patronizing” comes to mind.

    Perception is its own reality and a politician like Greenlick should know this. He can’t blame us if he lost control of the message. I went into this knowing nothing of this man. What’s the first thing I hear? That he wants to ban me from riding my son around. Oh yeah, I’m really interested in a conversation. I tell you what I’m interested in – putting an elected official in his place. He is not my superior and I don’t ride or parent at his discretion.

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  • Dan Kaufman January 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Greenlick’s tone has been condescending since his first interview (“that’s just how it’s done around here little boy”) and it remains so (I’ve had “more than enough”).

    And the response, I can speak for my own anyway, has been entirely appropriate.

    We may look like soft targets but political message should be clear: Don’t Tread on Me!

    http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/whipit.htm

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  • Katie Proctor January 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Small note: link above should be kidicalmasspdx.org. kidicalmass.org takes you to the original, Eugene-based ride site.

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  • rev January 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    tiny wheels for a big future!

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  • Opus the Poet January 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    If you want disrespectful, you should check some of the Dutch web sites’ takes on the bill. Normally they are so nice, but this one really got their dander up.

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