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PEDNET PEEVE: Pedestrian/cycling advocate blasts Council candidate Ian Thomas

"One of the greatest debacles of ire and strife between cyclists and motorists I've ever seen"
 
COLUMBIA, 3/23/13 (Beat Byte) -- In a strange political twist, one of Columbia's best-known pedestrian and bicycle activists has come out swinging against 4th Ward Columbia City Council candidate Ian Thomas, former director of PedNet, the city's leading bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group.

Derrick Fogle, whose trademark image of a man on a speeding bicycle is well known in social media hereabouts, "does NOT support Ian Thomas," he commented in the Columbia Missourian earlier this month. "4th Ward residents will be fools if they elect Ian to that City Council seat."

Noting on Twitter that he's bicycled every day so far this year -- 846 km total -- Fogle -- a University of Missouri systems administrator -- explained in the Missourian that he's spent "decades riding every kind of cycling infrastructure....I am, perhaps, the single most experienced and accomplished non-motorized transportation user in Columbia."

He's also been a local bicycle booster for years, congratulating Thomas' father-in-law, then-Mayor Darwin Hindman, "for the most successful promotion of bicycle commuting I’ve ever seen" in a 2001 letter to the Trib.
 
But all that meant nothing to Thomas, Fogle says. "When I moved to Columbia, and tried to become active in PedNet, Ian was never anything but a complete and total jerk to me. He dissed my experience, ignored my knowledge and suggestions. Any 4th Ward resident who isn't prepared to simply 'Yes Man' Thomas should be prepared for the same kind of treatment."
 
Another sore spot: the $22 million GetAbout grant from the Federal government. "Ian headed up the pissing away of more than $3 million of that federal grant to Vangel and Associates for 'PR,'" Fogle wrote. "Vangel got $3 million to teach cycling classes at $50 a pop to each participant. We could have made cycling classes free to everyone that wanted them, for about a decade, with that money."
 
Instead, Fogle says Vangel's GetAbout campaign prompted "one of the greatest debacles of ire and strife between cyclists and motorists I've ever seen." The ire and strife included arguments about so-called "sharrows" -- painted figures of cyclists on streets that quickly faded -- and which group was most at fault for not obeying traffic laws.
 
Fogle also condemned what he says was gross financial mismanagement on Thomas' part. "That $3+ million was 15% of the entire grant amount. Extrapolate that kind of poor judgment and money wastage to the entire city's budget. Ouch."
 
Thomas told the Heart Beat earlier this month he's running a campaign based on a "positive approach" and a broad perspective. "I have a strong, forward-looking vision for the Fourth Ward and for Columbia," he explained.


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