Alex Pope for Maple Ridge Council: an Endorsement

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Philosophically, I avoid meddling in the affairs of political jurisdictions where I don't have a franchise, but I'm making an exception here to endorse my friend and club-mate, Alex Pope, who has put himself forward as a candidate for the town council in Maple Ridge.

So here's Alex running for a job as a public servant, and where the decisions are important and have deep consequences*, in a community where transportation is a major civic issue.

I assure you, he's the right man for the job.

Alex Gives Back

Ever since I've known Alex, he's been helping out with things he wants to make better. We met as fellow members of a cycling club that requires members to volunteer in support of races. And Alex did, putting in as needed, at every level of the sport from laying out traffic cones before a race to sitting on the board of Cycling BC.

Did I mention he's got a lovely family, too? He's doing something right.

Alex is Wise

I have an easy affinity for anyone with a computing science background, since I regard the essence of that field as pragmatic analysis of problems, followed by constructing a solution.

Civic politics presents fuzzier problems than programming a computer, but the basic desire is for someone who can analyze issues and pick solutions. Alex is such a man, and he's got a lot of experience in problem-solving, the minutiae of governing large organizations, and the small-scale diplomacy of a board meeting, so similar to that of most town councils. He's smart, but more importantly, he's wise.

Alex Knows Transportation

It's easy to paint Alex as a one-note cycling nut (just as it is with me), but like me, Alex is a guy who has a car, isn't afraid to use it, and understands both the benefits and limitations of cars, bikes, and everything in between.

Like a lot of Metro Vancouver communities, transportation issues are a huge part of what it means to live in Maple Ridge. Alex does not have a narrow view of these issues, and I believe he is very aware of the current best-and-brightest thinking on how transportation infrastructure affects communities.

That thinking would presently push a place like Maple Ridge towards a greater focus on making it easy to ride your bike around the city. This doesn't just benefit cyclists: every bike moving around is one less car adding to the traffic jam. The same principle applies to transit use.

The freedom to move is an incredible thing, and transportation reaches deeply into things as wide-ranging as town planning (everything from the aesthetics and land requirements imposed by parking accommodations to how walkable a street-level retail strip is) to childhood obesity levels (which seem to have risen in an eerie coincidence as walking and cycling became abnormal ways to get to school).

Conclusion: Vote for Alex

In conclusion, vote for Alex.

*I have come to believe that civic government is the level at which the most important decisions are made, in terms of how governments affect the day-to-day lives of the governed. All the glamor is in federal politics, but when your city council goes bankrupt, well, you don't want to become Vallejo, California.