8 Ball In The Wind

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Some House Transportation Committee Members Upset With Aggressive Tactics Of Bikers

As the motorcycling community has tried to apply pressure to achieve the goal of a public hearing on the lane sharing bill in the House Transportation Committee, some members of the committee found the email requests of some members of the community to be aggressive, bordering on threatening.  There is no place in the political process for the use of threats or malicious emails.  They tend to have the exact opposite effect that is desired.  Only pissing off the person receiving them.  That is why, even if you disagree, it is still a good idea to be diplomatic and respectful when communicating with legislators.  Think about it, if someone disrespects you in a message, are you likely to do something they are asking you to do?  I think not.  So I have to ask if anyone did get nasty or disrespectful, did you get the reaction you wanted?  

There were even reports of a website created to attack Rep. Clibborn on this issue, as I was informed by the Assistant Majority Whip during a brief discussion outside the capitol on Monday (March 20th).  He made sure that I had understood how upset many of the legislators were about this.  Besides numerous comments and posts on Facebook, this blog seems to be the only other online site speaking out on this issue.  However, as you can easily discover by looking at the archives, this blog has been running since 2010, and has only made a handful of reports on this issue, and yes, those have been in the past week or so.  But I have tried not to be disrespectful, only pointing out the facts as I know them.  I would hope this blog is not considered a weapon to attack individuals, but to express my opinion on things I am involved in.

Whether good or bad, the issue of Lane Sharing is getting talked about in the legislature.  Sadly, the talk seems to be more about an aggressive challenge to one of their own than the merits of the bill.  That talk is causing concern to many.  Including supporters of the motorcycle community.  Even the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee expressed concerns that needed to be allayed.  I am only partially sure my telling him that it was specifically stated to be "polite" when making emails or calls regarding the bill actually eased his concerns. 

One of the worst things that can happen to our efforts in Olympia is for our respect and support among legislators to shrink due to the effect of a few individuals who allowed their zeal to overtake their common sense and civility.  Unless someone is out to unintentionally sabotage the efforts of the motorcyclists of Washington, I would hope that no one would make aggressive or threatening emails in an emotional release as they typed.

As I have previously posted, The Chair of the House Transportation Committee has not, and is unlikely to call a public hearing on SSB5378 (The Lane Sharing Bill) prior to the cut-off for bills from the opposite chamber to pass out of committee this session.  When asked to hold a hearing last week the Chair simply repeated that it wasn't "my fault" but there wasn't going to be a hearing.  While she does have the final say on whether or not to hold a hearing, it now seems that the Chair was possibly trying to show loyalty in not stating why she wouldn't.  She apparently wished to do the honorable thing towards some members of her committee, and not 'throw them under the bus'.  However, this week I have been informed face to face by at least one committee member who had said they would speak to the Chair request a hearing, but now wanted to "clear the air", saying that she had "lied" about requesting a hearing from the Chair.  While it is a shame that happened, the fact that she had opposed the bill to begin with had always caused me to accept her statement that she would request a hearing with a grain of salt.  While it would have been nice if she had, it would also have been quite surprising.

Personally, I feel it would have caused much less confusion, and still not thrown anyone 'under the bus' if Rep. Clibborn simply said that she didn't believe there were enough votes in favor of the bill to warrant a hearing.  But using absolutes; such as "everyone" and "no one" lessened her credibility.  Especially after changing her story as she did on discussing the bill with Capt. Alexander of the WSP over a period of just a minute or two during our meeting.  However, in the long run, I doubt it would have changed things much.  Although hopefully there would have been less hard feelings all around.

The support for 5378 is spreading among motorcyclists.  There is even at this late date an effort to hold another protest at the capitol on this Friday (March 24th) that is not an ABATE sponsored protest.  I take that as a sign of broader support for the technique. As well as an opportunity to build a foundation on which a broad based effort can be made to educate legislators in the congestion relief and safety benefits of lane sharing on Washington's highways.  If we can properly educate enough legislators, than this can continue to roll forward.  It just needs to be done with mutual respect and honesty.

Catch you on the road sometime...

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