Thursday, May 28, 2009

Letter to Johnathan Maus of BikePortland


I've been trying to get Safeway to donate flowers for the ghostbike across the street memorializing Eric Davidsons' death at the hands of a drunk driver leaving their parking lot. So far I've been met with open hostility and a lot of ambivalence. I don't think it is too much to ask for a multi-billion dollar corporation to spend <$10/week to show respect for a death that occurred outside their door. I understand of course that Safeway has no obligation to do anything at all about this, but I feel strongly that it would be the right thing to do on their part. As I am sure you are aware, big-box corporate stores like Safeway are part of the reason why development that is so antithetical to neighborhood livability occurs and I am hopeful that you might help highlight this issue if only to embarrass Safeway into doing the right thing here. I'm not sure your aware, but my neighborhood has seen 2 bike deaths in the past few months (within 5 blocks of my house), and our neighborhood committee has been pushing for the city to pay attention the traffic concerns we have in our area with very little success thus far. The ghost bike for Eric has been there for about 2 weeks and in that time the wheels have been stolen. Just today, while trying to exit the Safeway parking lot with my 1 year old daughter on-board my bike I had to wait several minutes for a break in traffic which never came until two opposing cars kindly stopped for me (exiting onto Fremont at ~70th). As I started to cross with a friendly wave of thanks a car pulled violently around the east-bound car that had stopped and bore down at me and my daughter while accelerating at a high rate of speed. What is wrong with people!!!! Thankfully, even though my momentum had already gotten me partly across the intersection, the car missed us, but it left me very shaken and frankly more than a little depressed about the livability of my neighborhood.

I know that you have been trying on your blog to avoid these sorts of negative stories to highlight the positive developments in our city, but I hope that you might lend some space to this issue. There are a lot of cyclists that live or pass through this area (Roseway); I watch them from my front porch everyday. We as a neighborhood are trying to get organized, but it is slow and we are met only with resistance from the city and the businesses on Sandy Blvd. We as community members fighting for a safe neighborhood could really use the publicity that your blog can provide. Please help turn the tragedy of the death of Eric Davidson (as well as the many other individuals injured or killed by poorly designed car-centric streets in our neighborhood) into something positive.

I wish I was more eloquent, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm saying. Thaks again for everything you do for our city.

Matthew Hickey (hickeymad)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Wall-to-Wall with Shannon Tipton Hayes

Matthew is formulating a new rule; if you were an advocate of de-regulation in the 1980's or 1990's, your opinions on the current economy shall be ignored.

Shannon Tipton Hayes (Hartford, CT) wrote
Matt should try and access additional sources for his information if he truly wants to seek bi-partisan opinions......

Matthew Hickey wrote
Perhaps you could point out a few that you believe are worth reading.

Shannon Tipton Hayes (Hartford, CT) wrote
Anything I would suggest - you would regard right of center. By the very nature of what a media outlet does will support more liberal views. New York Post is slightly less left. Wall Street Journal is slightly less left. But if you look at things without a pre-conceived opinion, sometimes you can get a more accurate picture. Obviously Matt - we have very different view points. Perhaps instead of trying to garner support for your own, you could try and learn more about why other people feel differently.

Matthew Hickey wrote
I don't mind reading a right-of center opinion if it is rationally presented. The Wall Street Journal, etc. are fine news sources and I read these when I come across them.
Shannon; am confused about your statement "By the very nature of what a media outlet does will support more liberal views". Given the corporate ownership of most news outlets, I would think the opposite is very obviously the case. I have seen evidence that a larger number of journalists vote Democratic than Republican, and would not debate this fact, however, in the end it is not the Journalists who shape the news - rather the editors who are influenced by advertisers (usually corporate in any national outlet) and owners (who are increasingly corporate as well). I posted a link to the Wiki article a few days ago about Media Bias. You should give it a read - it is an excellent discussion of Bias in the media and you might be surprised at the conclusions.

Matthew Hickey wrote
In spite of what you might think, I am reader of many news sources. Many are outright biased liberal, and many are not. The Economist magazine for instance does an excellent job of presenting world events in a non-partisan fashion. BBC radio, and many PBS programs (Frontline, Washington Week in Review, Newshour, McLaughlin Group (one of my favorites), Nightly Business Report, NOVA, etc.) all do very fine jobs of presenting both sides of whatever topic they are covering. Seriously, if you've any outlet for news that you believe I should be watching or reading, I'd be all ears. I will say however that people like Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, are nothing but windy gasbags who present nothing but propaganda, usually in the form of misinformation.

Shannon Tipton Hayes (Hartford, CT) wrote
I have no doubt that you read many sources Matt - the problem is that every one you listed is notoriously left. None of them do a good job of presenting the views of the American public. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are commentator's - not news sources and it would be an insult to you if I suggested them.

Matthew Hickey wrote
Frontline and the Mclaughlin group are notoriously Left? Could you present some evidence of this?

Matthew Hickey wrote
Hey Shannon;
I think this is an interesting discussion and would like to move it over to a Venue where others can view it (if they are not your friend they will not be able to view your wall). I've got to go right now (Madeline needs to be fed), but I'm going to port our discussion over to our notes, or my Blog when I've got a chance.

Shannon Tipton Hayes (Hartford, CT) wrote
With all due respect Matt - I have better things to do. Let's just agree to disagree.
I am getting irritated and that really isn't what I want to waste my time on. Interesting discussion - depends but we have very different view points and you have no more chance in changing my mind then I do changing yours.
I did not intend anything I said to be "Wild" or "Accusing" or "Inflammatory". If I offended you - I am sorry.
I deleted our conversation of my wall and with that - I have zero interest in continuing it.
Go feed your daughter. She needs your time more than me.