Kansas City Bike/Ped Coalition issues election endorsements

The Kansas City Coalition for Walking and Bicycling has issued its endorsements for candidates in Kansas City Missouri's upcoming primary election.

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27th, 2007.

The Coalition's process for contacting the candidates and deciding on endorsements is a powerful example of how local bike/ped advocates can make a real difference in local electoral politics. Hopefully many groups around the state will follow the lead of the KC Coalition!

The Coalition's efforts have already paid off in concrete ways--bicycle and pedestrian issues have become a part of this election and many candidates are spontaneously mentioning this issue as part of their campaigning.

This has never happened in Kansas City before.

And remember-- please get out and vote. Kansas City's elections are Feb 27th but many other cities in Missouri have their municipal elections around this time of year.

I bicycle and I vote is the most powerful statement we can make. Let's make it.

We of the Kansas City Coalition for Walking and Bicycling have questioned the candidates and received the responses. Most candidates responded but some did not. At-Large candidates are voted on by the WHOLE city. Please distribute this email to all interested people.

The Coalition consists of advocates from these groups: the Kansas City Bicycle Club, Missouri Bicycle Federation, Northland Trails and Greenways and other individual advocates

You can find the questionnaire, responses and no responses here: http://kcbike.info/election2007. Here are the endorsements with more details below.

Mayor - John Fairfield

1st In-District and At-Large: No Endorsements unopposed

2nd In-District: Russ Johnson 2nd At-Large: No Endorsement unopposed

3rd In-District: Teola Powell 3rd At-Large: Dee Williams

4th In-District: Mark Forsythe 4th At-Large: Deth Im

5th In-District: No Endorsement 5th At-Large: Cindy Baker Circo

6th In-District: John Sharp 6th At-Large: Cathy Jolly

We want to let you know how we made our choices. 1. The candidate had to respond to the questionnaire. 2. His/Her knowledge of the issues 3. His/Her activities in the past that contributed to improving conditions for walking and cycling. 4. How interested he/she seemed to be in bike/ped issues and whether we thought we could work with them.

Also keep in mind that we will need to repeat this process for any races where our preferred candidate doesn't advance to the general election.

Mayor - John Fairfield

We know there were some strong feelings on this particular one. The consensus we came to was that while there were several good responses, John Fairfield has the best track record of fighting for bike/ped issues, has a quantifiable voting record, and has many pragmatic ideas for moving the situation forward. Fairfield took the lead in promoting the new Bicycle/Pedestrian River Crossing Policy at MARC. He introduced and helped pass resolutions in the council supporting the river crossing policy, bike/ped on the Paseo Bridge and to bring the KATY trail to Kansas City. He was the only elected official to show up at a memorial for Susan Brewer last year when we tied the record for bike fatalities. He has stated his commitment to helping improve walking and cycling in KC.

1st In-District and At-Large: No Endorsements, unopposed

2nd In-District: Russ Johnson

When Russ Johnson was on Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) he went looking for advocates to help him get better infrastructure for walking and cycling. It took him a year to find us but he didn't give up. That is how committed he is. He believes that "EVERY street is a bikeway and should be able to safely accommodate both cars and cyclists." Russ has feasible ideas on how to accomplish this without breaking the bank. He has championed and funded sidewalk, trails and on-street bike lanes. He is very smart and knows how to get things done at city hall.

2nd At-Large: No Endorsement, unopposed

3rd In-District: Teola Powell

Teola Powell is interested in "increasing the availability of walking trails with cyclling lanes throughout the city." She believes that sidewalks are a public asset and benefit, a basic need for the city residents. She supports BikeKC and wants to find funding for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

3rd At-Large: Dee Williams

Dee Williams would like to see schools incorporate cycling as a sport and to see walking used in neighborhood to keep the streets safe. She wants to continue the 1 cent sales tax for public improvements that would support infrastructure for cycling, walking and transit. She would like to see the different transportation modes coordinated into one "seamless transportation system" managed by one government department.

4th In-District: Mark Forsythe

Mark Forsythe knows cycling and walking issues well and has realistic ideas for implementing changes. He has worked on pedestrian issues in his neighborhood and he is familiar with the four Es of getting cycling and walking moving forward: encouragement, engineering, education and enforcement. He wants to see every new project compliant with the BikeKC plan. Also, he has some good ideas for financing sidewalks and supporting multi-modal transportation. Read his answers at: http://kcbike.info/2007candidates/candidates.htm

4th At-Large: Deth Im

Deth (Date) Im understands that we need to change our attitudes and add infrastructure to increase bicycling and walking in KC. He promotes himself as a "green" candidate and knows that even though KC has funding problems we can implement a better walking and cycling environment in steps. We believe he has realistic expectations about city funds and how to accomplish the goals of more cycling and walking. He would like to make moves to have sidewalks a public asset model rather than a private funding (you are the funder) model. He also wants to see transportation issues managed under one office.

5th In-District: No Endorsement 5th At-Large: Cindy Baker Circo

Cindy Circo was a 5th district PIAC member and knows how the city works. She supports implementing BikeKC and aggressively going after funding and connecting the links to have a seamless cycling/walking system. She wants to "develop a culture of multiple transit forms. From here on out every step of transit planning must investigate the connectivity of every form of transit." She wants to bring stakeholders together to work on finding funding.

6th In-District: John Sharp

John Sharp has a comprehensive knowledge of walking and bicycling issues. He knows the problems we face getting a connected plan, bike parking, maintaining and building sidewalks and getting the funding. He favors updating the BikeKC plan and working with the upcoming bicycle/pedestrian coordinator and an advisory committee to make a safer and friendly walking and cycling environment. John has done his homework.

6th At-Large: Cathy Jolly

Cathy Jolly is a great supporter of trails and has a good record in the Missouri legislature on environmental issues. She would like to review and update the BikeKC plan and work to get funding. She believes that sidewalks are needed as basic infrastructure and should be part of the overall city plan and budget. She supports a fully multi-modal transit system managed by one agency. This would include supporting and managing roads, trails and mass transit for all users, motorized or non-motorized.

We hope this helps you make informed decisions in the upcoming primary election February 27. Don't forget to check online for more infomation. http://kcbike.info/election2007.

Laurie Chipman
Kansas City Coalition for Walking and Bicycling
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