It's about showing up.
You bastid. Mrs. Rocky is too good for you.
Thank you very much Sir. I really appreciate you efforts and it is quite funny to hear about the Sierra Club speaking out against the national policy that they all agree to:Tonight's meeting had about 100 people in attendance, including 4 staff and 3 directors. Approximately 70 of the people who came were mountain bikers. Very significantly we had about 20 to 25 people from the NorCal teams from Oakland composite, Berkeley high school, and Albany high school in attendance.
There were 12 people directly involved with BTC and the remainder were mountain bikers I had seen at a variety of events and several I knew from nowhere.
The meeting was introduced in terms of a Watershed Master Plan that had to consider sensitive species, maintaining environments, managing forests, and all that EBMUD stuff. They approached issues concerning opening recreational access very cautiously. Marguerite Young, whose son is on the Oakland composite team, appealed to everyone to speak to their interests as opposed to creating contentious interaction. This was the letter of the day and set the tone for the meeting.
A total of approximately 45 people spoke. The Sierra Club came out very quickly against making any changes at all through Stormin' Norman Laforce. If it weren't for the fact that we needed to listen respectfully and smile we would have laughed him off the stage. He is thoroughly ridiculous. The lady that followed him from the Sierra Club, a former director of EBMUD, Ms.Burke, was equally ridiculous. They have no idea at all.
By and large even the people who would not have supported access to cycling suggested that absolute closure was unreasonable. They were simply concerned against all of the usual horror stories about mountain bikers, the need for enforcement, and the challenges that these created. I think that these were all fair criticisms.
Mary Selkirk, a former director who voted to exclude mountain bikers in 1996, spoke of regretting her decision as patently unfair. This was huge. She had real gravitas.
However the greatest proportion of people who spoke suggested the value of mountain biking especially in terms of generating good health and good trail use practices in our youth. The contact with nature and our tendency to be stewards, the need for unblocking closures that inhibit the entirety of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. People spoke in terms of hoping for flexibility and the potentials for evaluating as things unfolded.
There were a few people who were very concerned about the dangers that mountain bikers bring to particularly narrow sections of trail. That however fit in considerations that many people expressed about the challenges of confrontation on narrow trails. Again, very reasonable concerns. I love our mountain bikers but, yeah, they can be total meatheads when it's all about their ride. Come on. Deny it. That said BTC Prez Mike Udkow did confront the thinking that paints all mountain bikers with the same brush.
At the end of the meeting we spoke with a number of the staff and directors and other people in the room and people were pretty please about the openness and the sharing that occurred. Some of us are nutty as a fruitcake and as clueless as can be but still we did very well.
I came away from this meeting changing my sense that we had a 60% chance of some success to 65%.
I will wait until next week to touch bases with people at EBMUD to give them time to process things both between their ears and amongst each other. However, I could not be more pleased with our presence, what we said, and the ambient support in the room for some sort of opening.