Monday, March 08, 2021

Not Exactly Karma ...

 ... Bikema, maybe?

Last week, I dragged out the Nakto e-bike and started going places on it for the first time since December. Cycling is transportation, not exercise, for me these days and when it's cold I either see if Tamara will drive me or just don't go. But nove I've been running little errands -- dropping some clothes off at a donation bin, visiting a nearby "little free roadside library" to dump off four paperbacks for every one I take, etc.

Then, this morning, I reached the point in a yard project of mine that involved cutting a bunch of thick brush away from our old shed that got trees dropped on it in a hurricane, and dragging out several old bikes (including my dilapidated Trek 7000, which I've been daydreaming about stripping down to the frame and re-building as an electric bike).

Then, just now after months of wondering if anything was ever going to happen, I finally got a phone call letting me know that the Alachua County Commission will be filling the vacancies on it its Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board in April, and that my application will be one of those they consider.

According to Google, I've never blogged here about that. Funny, I thought I had. I saw the notice of vacancies on the county government's site, accompanied by an email address to apply. So I did. Twice, several months apart. No response.

Then I saw an ad in the local independent university paper (The Alligator) leading to a site with an actual application in PDF format. Printed it out, mailed it in, quite some time ago. Of course, those guys have been mostly working from home, while snail mail has been arriving at their offices, and the gentleman who called explained that my application had simply been missed until he came across it while looking for something else.

So, KN@PPSTER is applying for a government position. WTF? I explained this on Facebook or whatever, but apparently not here, so here goes:

  1. Yes, I'm still a libertarian. An anarchist, even. But the county government does exist, and it does maintain a road system, and it's going to continue to exist and to maintain a road system for the foreseeable future.
  2. The advisory board in question has no legislative or spending authority so far as I can tell. All it does is make recommendations to the Alachua County Commission and Gainesville City Council on how to operate its road system in ways consistent with safety, usability, convenience, and enjoyment for cyclists and pedestrians (and motorists in interaction with same).
  3. If there's going to be a government-operated road system (paid for not just by taxes on automobiles and gas, btw, but by sales taxes and such that also hit cyclists and pedestrians), I'm all for cyclists and pedestrians (both of which my anarchist/libertarian self is) having some input on how it should operate.
  4. I think I'm fairly well qualified, as a cyclist and pedestrian who's biked/walked much, maybe even most, of the city and county, to offer informed opinions on such matters.
  5. So no, I don't see any ethical conflict here between my beliefs/positions and seeking/accepting such a position. Someone's going to fill the vacancy. I suspect the recommendations I support will be more sensible and less expensive than the recommendations someone else might support. And they're just recommendations in any case. The only difference is that I might be a little tiny bit more listened to when making them if I'm on that board than when making them if I'm not on that board.
  6. OK, ya got me, the hypocritical Achilles' heel: If the county's taxpayers are forced to pony up for coffee and donuts at board meetings, I might partake.

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