Thursday, November 20, 2008

Atip's Memorial Bike Has Been Removed; Dishonestly, A Day Earlier Than Stated

I regret to inform those who have yet to hear the news, that Atip’s Memorial Bike has been removed by Street Divisions. Yes, they’ve decided to remove the bike today (11/20/08) a day earlier than they publicly stated (11/21/08). The level of dishonesty here is completely unacceptable from a public official. We’ve been lied to by Deputy Director Hasan Yousef.

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(Pics taken with Crystal’s camera phone at 1:45pm on 11/20/08).
As pictured, City employees are removing Atip’s Memorial Bike a day earlier than publicly stated.
Does it really take three people to cut bike locks? Is this where our money is going? Maybe this is why we have the worst major city deficit in the country.

Other than the inherent dishonesty, it's sad that Street Divisions thought they could "jump the gun" and sneak behind the public's back by removing the bike when they thought no one would notice. But someone in our community did notice. Street Divisions seems to have undermined our capacity as active, concerned, and informed citizens. 

Luckily, Crystal was randomly biking by when she noticed the City employees removing the bike.  She informed them that Mr. Yousef stated that the bike was scheduled for removal on Nov. 21 and NOT Nov. 20.  The orange-suited employees gave no response but a cold shoulder. Ahh, that's what I like in my local government representatives; unaccountability!

With our tax dollars, Hasan Yousef, the Deputy Director of Street Divisions has robbed the people of one last chance to say goodbye to our friend’s memorial.

At a time when our City is barely staying afloat financially, Hasan Yousef has spent money to make a dangerous intersection more deadly.

Mr. Yousef has decided to do this because leaving a memorial bike up for display conflicts with old-San Diego-ways of doing things. In his mind, the bike is different and therefore a problem. Let me remind readers that old-San Diego-ways of doing things is one reason why our City is in such dire trouble. We have a soaring pension deficit, a deep (and well documented) history of corruption, failed planning, and we’re known around the country as “Enron by the sea.” (This is not unfounded “theory.” Ask any political science professor or historian in San Diego and they’ll tell you. Or if you’re interested in learning more, check out Richard Hogan’s academic work “The Failure of Planning: Permitting Sprawl in San Diego Suburbs, 1970-1999”)

Our roads don’t have to be as deadly as they are; and neither does the Park & University intersection. There are (proven) safer ways to improve and design better streets. But the outdated, car-first, old-San Diego-way of doing things subscribes to the belief that roads should be designed first and foremost for the convenience of the motorist and not for the safety of the cyclist, pedestrian, child or old person, challenged or impaired individual.

It is evident that Mr. Yousef, the current Deputy Director of Street Divisions, subscribes to the outdated, car-first school of thought. His actions and my phone conversation with him suggest that he is a member of this “club.”

Consider the things Mr. Yousef has ignored:

-Ignored: The North Park Planning Committee’s (11/18/08) motion of unanimous 13-0 support of the concept of the memorial bike’s presence as well as their request for a 9 month grace period so that we may pursue a permanent solution while the original bike remain.

-Ignored: The North Park Planning, Public Facilities, Transportation, Public Arts, & Parks Subcommittee’s (11/6/08) motion of unanimous 6-0-0 support of the concept of the memorial bike as well as their request for a 9 month grace period.

-Ignored: The expert and professional credibility of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

-Ignored: The 40+ emails in support of Atip’s Memorial Bike sent directly to Hasan Yousef, Councilwoman Toni Atkins, and saveatipsmemorial@gmail.com in the span of a 30-hour window.

-Ignored: Phone calls to Hasan Yousef’s line all week

-Ignored: Street Division’s public statement and commitment that the Memorial Bike would remain until Nov. 21.

This is unaccountable and unacceptable behavior from a public official. In my opinion, Mr. Yousef had the opportunity to change many people’s minds about the role of local government. Instead, he decided to place overwhelming public support and interest aside, which has only further tarnished the image of our City.

Nov. 20, 2008 started out as a hopeful and optimistic day. But it quickly turned into a sad and disappointing one.

Nevertheless, the public and community support to save Atip’s memorial has been overwhelming and moving. I was literally happily shouting and dancing this morning when I logged into the saveatipsmemorial@gmail.com and saw that we had been CC’d on over 40 emails in 30 hours to Mr. Yousef and Toni Atkins! Plus I know of at least 10 other people who sent in emails but didn’t CC us! That’s absolutely amazing. I’m proud as hell to be apart of this active community. We tried as hard as we could.

Atip is in our hearts and minds. We must never forget.

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3 comments:

blulady said...

That shit is FUCKED UP. There is no way we as a community can let that stand. Steps need to be taken.

Meagan said...

I agree. Can we make a new memorial?

mr. pilly wonk said...

http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/11/24/san-diego-activists-incensed-over-removal-of-ghost-bike/