I hate politics. And worse than politics, I hate party politics on both sides, particularly when it defies common sense, compromises public safety, and ignores the will of the people. That’s what’s going on in Congress right now with the transportation bills.
How can it be that the Republican Party line is so disconnected from the will of the Republican-dominant electorate?
Congress wants to repeal Safe Routes to School. The people don’t. February 2nd the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure recommended to Congress that the SRTS repeal remain in the Transportation Bill (H.R. 7).
But 90 percent of San Clemente voters said they want a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community; 82 percent want policies that protect the environment; 78 percent want access to alternative transportation.
Our own San Clemente City Council listened by passing . Our Spanish Village by the Sea is leading the way.
Is Congress listening?
Republicans outnumber Democrats in San Clemente by 2 to 1, and 50 percent of our town is registered to vote as Republican. It’s the Republican Party that wants to eliminate Safe Routes to School for kids. Honorable Congressman Ken Calvert is our Republican Representative.
How will he vote? Will he vote with the party line, which says on page 204 of the House Transportation Bill that Safe Routes to School is “repealed?” Will he vote contrary to the will of the people? His automated email responses are noncommittal.
Democracy only works when people get involved. Last Thursday, I called all 19 California Republican Congress members in their DC offices. It was an interesting experience. Most wanted to know what zip code I live in and tried to direct me to Congressman Calvert’s office. I declined the invitation.
“Congressman Calvert is one vote,” I said. “We need all the Republicans to understand that, when they seek repeal of SRTS and refuse to fund bicycle and pedestrian transportation, their party line is disconnected from the will of the people.
“They’re wrong,” I emphasized, “and they need to change their tactics. Kids’ safety en route to school should not be played as a political football by any party.”
The aides took notes. I hope Congress reads them.
Moms and Dads across America, we need to get the message to our Congressional Representatives that we expect loyalty to the voter. In San Clemente, I’m hoping that Congressman Ken Calvert will listen to those 90 percent.
We need him to go to bat for us because we elected him.We need him to hit the mat for our kids. We need him to be Blake Griffin, leap over the automobile lobby, and irrefutably slam home the message: FUND SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL, DU[de] . . . er, Honorable Congressman!
You can send Congress the message in 60 seconds. Here’s how:
- Copy the message in italics, below. (It’s part of what I sent in from PEDal, the local bicycle advocacy group I founded).
- Click HERE
- Scroll down to the blue, “take action” heading.
- Paste the message in two windows, one for the House and one for the Senate.
- Fill in the subject line with: Save all funding for bike/ped/SRTS
- Fill in your personal contact information (you’ll receive an acknowledgment email from California’s representatives in the House and Senate).
- Fill in the authentication code in the box
- Click “send message.”
(If you sent in a message 10 days ago for consideration by the House Committee, you need to send this one in, too. The latest one goes to the entire Congress early this week.)
Remember, we, the voters, are the Jeremy Lins of the electorate: sorely overlooked but highly focused to lead the way. We will not be denied! Carpe Diem!
Here’s the message to Congress:
I am writing you to strongly request that funding for bicycle, pedestrian, and SRTS projects be preserved as part of any transportation bill under consideration. Residents in San Clemente hope that you will vote to retain all non-motorized transportation funding. 90 percent of our town’s surveyed residents want a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community.
Preserving Safe Routes to School is a necessary part of enabling Americans to be healthy. Kids need real transportation options to be able to make better lifestyle choices. Fully funding bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is the only way to bring those options to fruition.
Kids’ safety shouldn’t be negotiable. Funding Safe Routes to School shouldn’t depend upon party affiliation.
Federal, State, County, City, Republican, Democrat, and Independent party decisions must be aligned for the public good. We’re all in this together.
Do the right thing, Congress. Don’t cut bicycle, pedestrian, or SRTS transportation.