Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Dave Bicking for City Council!

It probably doesn't relate much to most of the readers here, but my dad Dave Bicking is running for Minneapolis City Council.

There must be a couple of you in Minneapolis. If you are in Ward 9 you can vote for him, but anyone in the city can volunteer with his campaign or donate. If you aren't from Minneapolis, then I still have a query -- since I'm making his website, what makes a good campaign website? Are there campaign websites (especially for local campaigns like this) that you've been impressed with? That you've found helpful or interesting? I suspect bringing interest to the race is more important than advocating for the candidate.

If you are in Minneapolis, you might ask: why should you support my father?

Why does this race matter?

Created 27 Jul '05


How does he feel about PRT? http://www.skywebexpress.com

I'm (obviously) not voting in the election, but Minneapolis has been at the center of a few PRT proposals over the past few years and I do tend to follow that technology a bit.

Gary Godfrey Austin, TX USA

# Gary Godfrey

Well, I can't really speak for him as a candidate, but Dave has followed PRT for some time and he knows quite a few of the people involved in CPRT. Dean Zimmerman, who is a Green City Council member in Minneapolis (neighboring ward) has been a strong proponent of PRT during his time in office (and like all the councilmembers, he's also up for reelection).

I get the impression there's conflict in the Green Party over this, as some see PRT as a dig on traditional mass transit like Light Rail. I'm personally very excited about PRT, as mass transit just doesn't work well. It's not even very good for the environment; this Salon article is a really good summary; mass transit isn't much (if any) more energy efficient than cars. I think PRT could revolutionize cities.

Chicago is one of those small number of US cities that people in other US cities use to say "well, sure, mass transit can work there because it's dense, but not here". But I can tell you it clearly does not work here; and if not here, I don't see how it can work in those other cities.

# Ian Bicking

"He is fiscally conservative."

Wow, I had just kind of assumed that all Greens were in favor of extensive social welfware programs.

Then again I was a pro-choice, pro-homosexual Republican until a few years ago.

And, then again, the Republican party was at least pretending to be in favor of limited government, federalism, respect for the constitution and only gave lip service to the religious right's needs and not service with their lips.

# Joe Grossberg

I think fiscal conservatism is pretty essential to any real environmentalist. Environmentalism -- at least the kind that is concerned about larger matters than saving scenic overlooks -- is all about efficiency and sustainability. I don't think you can call yourself an environmentalist if you aren't frugal. And those same values connect well with a lot of progressive economic values. When I think about economic empowerment in a wealthy society like ours, it's not that people don't have enough. My concern is how people are manipulated and trapped by the economics of our environment, not how they are deprived. Which is a concern about "social welfare", insofar as it's a concern about the welfare of the populace... but it's not something that is solved by resources.

For instance, I don't think failures of the Great Society programs of the 60s and 70s were because they didn't have enough resources. It was because bureaucrats at a variety of levels took those programs and made sure they didn't work. Because public housing turned into a means of seggregation. Because AFDC turned into a way to keep people in an economic holding pattern. In the face of potential reform, resources are often offered as a way to coopt the reform rather than enable it.

This becomes more important in this race, since this is a race between a Green Party candidate and a Democratic candidate. There's a Republican candidate, but he'll never gets past the primary; Republicans seldom even bother to run in Minneapolis. There's no liberal/conservative dichotomy between the candidates. The distinction is about governance, not rhetoric. The two parties, and the two candidates, are better distinguished as the institutional party (the Democrats) and the reform party (the Greens). The Green party -- and I think my father particularly -- understand how resources and institutionalization are enemies of real reform.

Plus, you should see the car he drives. He's clearly walking the walk when it comes to fiscal conservatism on the home front.

# Ian Bicking

Doh! I live in Saint Paul! If I know of any Minneapolis'ers, I'll pass the word.

# Chad Walstrom

If you don't know any Minneapolis'ers you really need to get out of the house more! ;)

# Ian Bicking

Heh. Didn't you know? Minneapolis is a "wretched hive of scum and villany," with the exception of your father, of course. ;-)

# Chad Walstrom

Yep, it is true that Minneapolis is a harsh place to live. Not too long ago I thought about moving to St. Paul. My children freaked out when they were presented with that possibility. It's true that St. Paul has a conservative "Democratic" mayor, but at least I wasn't thinking of moving to the suburbs. On that note I'll put up a lawn sign for Bicking. Minnepolis is a fine place to live.

# gay bicking

"The 3 great virtues of a programmer:

laziness, impatience and hubris."

-- Larry Wall

Your discussion of true and false fiscal conservatism reminds me of the discussion in the Camel Book of false laziness: how some programmers, thinking to be lazy, write code that works but is bad, and then have a terrible time trying to grok the code later. They have made more work for themselves by not doing it right the first time, so they have not been truly lazy. True laziness and true fiscal conservatism both sound good to me.

I wish the best for Dave Bicking; but I live in Florida.

# jared jennings