The Chainlink

Worth a careful read. Tamika Butler talks about the same issues that we see in Chicago. The lack of infrastructure and bike share (Divvy, etc.) is one part of it but then there's the targeted campaign by police. The Chicago police target black bike riders forced to ride on sidewalks for their own safety i.e. no bike lanes. The Chicago police ticket them for riding on the sidewalks and then use it to try to arrest them for something else. It is long overdue we take a hard look at the systemic racism in biking. 

Chicago Tribune:

Police say the citations are in the interests of public safety. African-American bike advocates say the higher number of tickets in some South and West side areas could be caused in part by the lack of bike infrastructure like protected bike lanes, leading cyclists to take to the sidewalk to avoid traffic on busy streets.

But some bike advocates and an elected official expressed concern that police may be unfairly targeting cyclists in black communities while going easier on law-breaking cyclists in white areas. Blacks, Latinos and whites each make up about a third of the city's residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bicycling Magazine:


As a Black person in this country, I could never have talked about bikes without also talking about race. That hasn’t changed. As the world is being ravaged by not one, but two deadly diseases—the coronavirus and anti-Black racism—that are taking Black lives and making it nearly impossible for my people to breathe, the racial inequities I was compelled to speak on then are still present. To truly make transformational change for all people who bike, we must go beyond a “Bike Month” or an occasional unity ride. We also must get beyond the narrative that only people who (too often self-righteously) make a lifestyle decision to bike are worthy of our targeted marketing campaigns, advocacy, and celebration. We must get past a strategy that assumes cisgender white maleness as the norm. We must get past an ethos of exclusion. Once we can get past these things as a bicycle community, we can finally celebrate what bicycling should truly be about—the power to be free and move freely.

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This is all another reason to support defunding. The almost 40% of Chicago's budget dedicated to CPD could go to things like better biking infrastructure. 

There's a study out of Harvard about what happens when there are police drawdowns.

Accordingly, the key to responding to issues and concerns is to not go in the wrong direction (such as defunding). 

Saying it's a "study out of Harvard" is a generous assessment. Also considering the person "from Harvard" is an economist. The source of your "news article" is of conservative bias. If you look at the headlines of other articles, they are clearly pro-Trump and word choices sensationalize the content. 

So let's look at what other, more respected news sources are saying. CNN:

Would defunding police lead to an uptick in violent crimes?

Defunding police on a large scale hasn't been done before, so it's tough to say.
But there's evidence that less policing can lead to less crime. A 2017 report, which focused on several weeks in 2014 through 2015 when the New York Police Department purposely pulled back on "proactive policing," found that there were 2,100 fewer crime complaints during that time.
The study defines proactive policing as the "systematic and aggressive enforcement of low-level violations" and heightened police presence in areas where "crime is anticipated."
That's exactly the kind of activity that police divestment supporters want to end.
And when people say, "defund the police" it's a more nuanced conversation and does not mean shutting down entirely. Imagine if 50% of the resources went to social programs badly needed in communities rather than a militarized police force trained for violence.
“When we talk about defunding the police, what we're saying is invest in the resources that our communities need,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “So much of policing right now is generated and directed towards quality-of-life issues, homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence. … But what we do need is increased funding for housing, we need increased funding for education, we need increased funding for quality of life of communities who are over-policed and over-surveilled.”
Studies show that black men in America are up to 3.5 times more likely than whites to be killed by law enforcement; 1 in every 1,000 black men will die at the hands of police.
Combating police violence isn’t about figuring out the motivations of individual “bad apples.” It’s about understanding how a network of government-sponsored brutality across 18,000 local, state, county and federal law enforcement agencies can, in lockstep, without any central organization, create persistent terror in black communities. To understand the conditions that give rise to appalling behavior such as the killing of George Floyd over an allegedly fake $20 bill, we have to take a close look at the conditions that signal to all police officers that they can treat black people with utter disdain and brutality, with little consequence.

F*ck the Trib and its paywall.

Oh yeah, and F*ck the Police!

If we're talking about defunding or reallocation of money, yes, economics in particular is right in the middle of this. So certainly the woman who co-authored the study, Tanaya Devi, as part of her economics Ph.D. work should also be welcome in the discussion.  She and others studying these matters is a good thing, especially with regard to public spending patterns, results and behaviors related to police, consumers, governments, and the harm or benefits of these agencies and changes to them bring about for society. It's a reasonable way to leverage her knowledge and skills.  

Agreed, there have been nuances of the term defunding in this context in hopes that it means diversion or reuse of funds for other public purposes.  As we run with that, we anticipate the clamor of people wanting the Chicago Department of Transportation "defunded" because of accidents in bike lanes, and divert those funds to teach bike safety with the money.  Fewer Park District lifeguards at the beaches, and diverting that money to the YMCA to teach swimming, and so forth.  

Beyond Harvard or economists (or the Wall Street Journal reporter) we can pick another national news source in some ways similar to CNN, and see if there is other remark or evaluation of the matter of police pull-backs elsewhere following similar circumstances.


How about having some sort of a recreational pace ride through communities that could benefit from a renewed sense of solidarity? Just because the police marginalize and treat black cyclists with contempt and aggressive tactics, it doesn't mean we should be complacent. People who ride, for whatever reason, should be able to express solidarity through their passion for cycling.

I will say straight up that I am a fairly lefty Democrat who believes that the absolute most important thing in politics right now is to defeat Donald Trump. I am and for a long time have been in favor of systemic reform of policing in America. However, that term "defunding", along with "disbanding", is a poor choice. I would have gone with something like "allocation shifting" or "socially-oriented policing" rather than terms that on their face make it sound like the police are suddenly are going to be eliminated without anything else changing, creating chaos. Trump and his lackeys have seized on these terms and are on yet another fear-mongering campaign, even implying that Democrats will defund the entire military if they gain power. A lot of the reasoning behind "defunding" is sound. I would like to see more precise language used to characterize those concepts. Semantics are important.      

Hmmm...I couldn't seem to edit or even delete my comment in Chrome just now. I wanted to add that in my opinion, I think that a significant percentage of police stops of black people in Chicago are in fact pretextual, a seizing upon a minor violation to poke around and see what else they can find. Kind of like when they pull people over for having one of their license plate lights out, or for an undimmed light when no other cars are present. Unless it's a really crowded sidewalk, I don't really think the police care about a few cyclists on it in terms of an actual danger to pedestrians. They want to find a reason to conduct searches.   

Same problem here with Firefox regarding editing or replying.

I submitted a ticket to address the reply and edit buttons. It’s effecting a lot of Ning sites (if not all). They are working on the fix. 

Curtis, I agree with you on both points about paywalls and police. Ef them! 



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