Well we didn't win, but we had a good ride.
Norman Siegel had a cool sound bike.
Every once in a while, a group of cyclists can get together and ride their bikes in the streets...and not have it be seen as some terrorist act of protest against oil or the occupation of Iraq. Last night, while other candidates used SUV's and wasted gas at $3.30 a gallon, Public Advocate hopeful Norman Siegel took to a pedicab bicycle and waved to his potential voters.
A few scooter cops watch the action...while most of the police force were at the UN defending Bush who was in town to pretend that he has any idea what the UN even means or does.
The crowd gathers at Union Square South to begin the second ride for Norman of the day, around 6:30pm
We had a good bike ride of about 30 people and handed out flyers to pedestrians, We had the sound bike blaring some tunes and people we pleasantly surprised to see our booming base was not coming out of some Homeboy in a Hummer, plastered on the side with the latest album release from Hot 97.
This was a cool bike made for 2 people to ride side by side.
Norman addresses the crowd.
The police escorted us with three scooters and then realized we were not a threat and left. Of course this had a lot to do with the fact that our lawyer, Norman Siegel was leading the ride but it felt nice to be left alone, much like every critical mass used to be before Bloomberg brought the RNC here in 04. Last night we gauged New Yorkers commitment to defending civil liberties by watching the one guy who wanted to do just that, loose to a good liberal candidate who will continue to do nothing.Fix gears for Norman
Yes, Betsy Gotbaum won the democratic primary as NYC public advocate by 48 percent of the vote. I think this just goes to show you that most New Yorkers haven't got a clue what this position even is let alone how local city government operates. Not to mention that there was low voter turnout, which goes to show, people don't really give a shit. Former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel was running in opposition. It was his agenda to make the public advocate position a real watchdog institution and put pressure on the mayor when our constitutional rights are severely eroded. This goes beyond merely letter writing to the city when Mayor Bloomberg tries to pass an initiative to limit the number of group who want access to Central Park. Not in order to protect the grass or environment, but to limit free speech and groups the city otherwise feels is too political...like anti-war demonstrations or anti-republican national convention demonstrations or peaceful bike rides, which aren't political at all and have been going on in the city for 10 years without interruption. If New Yorkers had been paying attention, they would notice that in exchange for corporate development and unaffordable housing we are loosing or basic rights of freedom of speech and assembly, which couldn't be more illustrated in the NYPD's attack during the RNC and the entire past year against cyclists and other politically active groups. I'm not just talking about critical mass which, yes, I have a personal bias towards defending because I am a BIG BIKE FAN. I'm talking about anarchist groups who get raided at their fundraisers, I'm talking about closing down entire blocks and sending in battalions of undercover cops with shotguns to fundraisers, I'm talking about denying permits to techno music dance groups that have been having parties in Tompkins square park for over 6 years. This has been a Bush agenda, patriot act agenda of harassment towards anyone who is not with the corporate agenda. Mayor Bloomberg and the police are defending corporations and the critical mass bike ride and other protest is a direct challenge to that power. Norman Siegel would have made an excellent public advocate, a job he was made to do. But New York is asleep, or too busy hording money and dreaming of football stadiums to pay attention to Corporations basically wiping their asses with the US constitution. So we will continue to fight for our civil liberties in court and win and defend the constitution with Norman Siegel on our side and Betsy Gotbaum hiding in her office under the desk doing nothing.
Norman in the pedicab.
Arriving at campaign headquarters, we ate good food, drank beer and watched Norman loose. Sad. Oh well, he's still our lawyer.