Breaking News: City Council Member Does Job Well!
The Jim Walden/NBBL FOIL request on Brad Lander has revealed the council member’s nefarious strategy of using civility, openness, honest debate, and data to lobby for a project that has the overwhelming support of his constituents. Kate Hinds of WNYC’s Transportation Nation describes Lander’s Machiavellian means:
…an initial read of hundreds of pages of email correspondence between Lander and others, including members of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 and various bike advocates, provides a glimpse into Lander’s strategy to advocate for the lane: facilitate public displays of support for the lane, make the case that Prospect Park West is now safer for everyone, and keep hammering home the message that both the data — and the majority of Park Slope residents — support the lane.
The only shocking thing to come out of these emails is how calm and rational Brad was able to remain in the face of what must have been a barrage of emails from all sides on an issue that is, it must be stated, still just a small part of what the people of his district elected him to do. As I’ve written before, Brad deserves our praise for his sanity, rational manner, and willingness to tread where even cycling enthusiast Chuck Schumer dare not: into the strangely acrimonious, third-rail world of bike lanes, pedestrian islands, and safe streets. The city needs more leaders like Brad Lander.
It’s worth noting that NBBL’s ostensible reason for this FOIL was to prove that the DOT used the word “trial” in describing the bike lane. This is essential to establishing NBBL’s claim that they did not miss the four-month deadline for filing their complaint and is the only hope they have of not having their case dismissed before a judge considers the merits. Walden said as much in this Kate Hinds report from the court house yesterday:
When asked why he had FOILed Lander’s emails, Walden said: “We believe clearly, given his own public statements, that the DOT told him in no uncertain terms it was a trial program, it was a trial bike lane. The city is now claiming that it was never a trial. It’s the great bait-and-switch from the City of New York….So we certainly hope the documents — I can’t say they’ll put the lie to the city’s position, because it’s already clear that it’s based on lies, but it will further buttress the notion that the city’s playing games in the litigation.”
I’d argue that the only bait-and-switch and game playing here is coming from Jim Walden. His office has had about two days to review the documents; it is crystal clear that if the word “trial” appeared in even a PS to an email from a DOT staffer to Lander or any other person involved in the traffic calming project, Walden would be handing out hardhats and jackhammers to the NBBLers right now.
Shorter post: Walden said he wanted Brad Lander’s emails to prove that the bike lane was a trial, but instead they have been released to the media and prove that an elected official had contact with local residents, neighborhood activists, community board members, and volunteers.