Making Real Change in SF by Dave Snyder, SFBC Executive Director

Vote vote vote. We voted for SFBC endorsements. We voted for Supervisors,and regional, state and national offices. We voted for Supervisors again. We voted for SFBC Board of Directors. There's truth in the saying,"if voting could really change anything it would be illegal." In fact it was confirmed by the highest legal body deciding that all the votes should not be counted and installing their preferred candidate as President.

Now we have a supposedly conservative President who has installed as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency a person who believes that lawbreakers should be asked nicely to change their ways. The supposedly conservative president believes the government has an interest in what kind of genitals your sleeping partner has, and that the government should decide for you what to do with the fetus in your own womb. And his Interior Department Director, Gale Norton, is among the last people on the planet who still isn't sure what's causing global warming and what we might possibly do about it. Our former Mayor and current Senator Dianne Feinstein confirmed Norton's qualifications for the job, by the way. That might explain her call for a second Bay Bridge. (At least she's not Mayor anymore.)

But I digress, and I apologize. I should point out that on our narrow issues, we got about as lucky as we could get. Bush appointed former San Jose Mayor Norm Mineta, a Democrat, to head the Department of Transportation. And I should remind readers that the most important transportation legislation of the last five decades, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act that devolved transportation spending to the regions and declared the highway system "done" was signed by Bush's father.

I shouldn't digress because that might give the impression I think the national election matters all that much. Real social change happens by changing people's minds; the leaders will follow. We have a chance to affect real change here locally, thanks to a more truly democratic local election. Unfortunately people tend to treat life like a multiple choice test, choosing from among available choices without questioning the options. Our challenge is to change the options people have.The city is doing a new bike plan that this Board of Supervisors will get to approve or reject. Out of it should come a network of bike routes that is downright welcoming, so that bicycling become an obvious choice. We can become the Amsterdam of the U.S. Yes we can. I'm glad the voting season is over. It's time to start making real change.