Friday, September 01, 2006

The case for voting for Case Ootes.

A lot of you will read this and expect it to be dripping with sarcasm. I guarantee it is not, rather it is pointing out a very sad truth. Councillor Case Ootes has led the way in promoting the needs of cyclists and uniting in them in a way no other Councillor has done since Jack Layton, who himself probably owes a lot of his cycling success to Ootes. Unfortunately Ootes' approach is negative and the univeral disdain amongst cyclists for him is what makes him so important.

Ootes is honest. He does not like cyclists nor appreciate the benefits of cycling. He is not afraid to say so. When he opens his mouth cyclists band together to resist his attempts to set us further backwards. No other Councillor has this effect. Even the current Co-chair of the Cycling Committee, Adam Giambrone, cannot manage to unite more than a half dozen cyclists for any one cause. For that matter, no one in the Toronto cycling community can unite as many cyclists. There are currently strong non-political challenges like Bike Friday that unite cyclists over a wide front. There is a new group, the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, that is trying to take a shot at uniting cyclists for the upcoming election. Yet to this point it has been Ootes that has united cyclists on the political front.

It is imperative that Case Ootes wins re-election in the upcoming municipal election otherwise there will be no one to unite, regardless of the cynical overtones, cyclists to demand improvements to our quality of life on the road. Having Ootes removed from Council will only help Toronto City Council get away with doing nothing. It is a bitter pill to swallow but we cannot afford to lose him.

This November, vote Ootes.


Anonymous said...

Great post Darren. You're right in that Ootes is like Dubya when it comes to unifying those who don't like what he believes in.

Darren J said...

So Ootes is the reason the bike plan is coming along so well?

I understand what you're saying and it's an interesting point, but at the end of the day, Ootes is going help decide how money gets spent and what are the city priorities.

Darren said...

Are we talking about the 10 year Bike Plan that is 10 years behind or put the another way, the 10 year Bike Plane that might get finished in 20 years if not longer?

Everyone uses the Lastman years to judge the Bike Plan progress. If you set the bar so low anything will look like progress. Compare Toronto's Bike Plane with Chicago where the Mayor there is 100% behind with actions, not spin. Toronto is great at spin.

More to the point on Ootes. If Ootes had not made noise over the Dundas St E bike lanes they would have never come to be. Councillors were voting for them simply because they hate Ootes, not because they believed in them.

I would much prefer that someone with a positive attitude replace the role Ootes' plays as a unifier of cyclists but that person simply does not exist.

Anonymous said...

Good one Darren. Calls to mind the old cheer: "Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, Mao: We need Odious, Odious now!"

Anonymous said...

If cyclists in Toronto are aware of the issues and feel strongly about them, but only respond to the negative ramblings of Ootes, I think there are probably deeper issues with regards to cycling activism in the city, and that dissapoints me.

Darren said...

"...I think there are probably deeper issues with regards to cycling activism in the city, and that dissapoints me."

We are all being dragged off in different directions by different aspects of life ie work, children, other interests, etc. We need someone who can address that and effectively unite us. Someone who we can trust with our support. To date no one has come close. We could trust former Councillor Olivia Chow with children's issues, with cycling it was a different matter. She talked a good game but would never stick her neck out past party lines.

There are a lot of individuals doing great work but sadly none seem to be able to complete the picture.

As long as we continue to allow even the most cycling friendly councillors to get away with doing little progress will be slow. Sure it is nice to show off a Bike Plan to other cities but it lacks substance.

Darren J said...

Yes, that same bike plan. (I was trying to be sarcastic)

Anonymous said...

I put a long response to this analysis up at the Allderblob.

see Case ootes: fiend or foe?.

I restricted my analysis to the four wards abutting the Danforth: those of Case Ootes, Paula Fletcher, Sandra Bussin and Janet Davis.

Conclusion: Janet Davis alone has acted to promote cycling infrastructure in her ward this past term. Case Ootes, while a thorn in the side, is ultimately no worse than Bussin or Fletcher, who are like most councillors in this city: completely unimaginateve when it comes to initiatives that would nurture "non-driving" culture.

It may be Ootes is of benefit to the city for his galvanizing of cyclists to react out of fear and loathing, but I would never advocate a vote for the man.

"We will miss him when we no longer have him to kick around. And we will welcome Diane Alexopolous, boring as that may seem, in his place."

Darren said...

I dunno Jake. It seems that the pickings are really slim. Pretty scarey.