San Franciscans have recently been reminded that it's not exactly normal, nationwide, to smoke weed at will during public sporting exhibitions. Perhaps that makes us better than other locales, perhaps worse -- definitely different.
On that note, it's not exactly normal, nationwide, for a candidate happily laud the exploits of her volunteers as they stump for votes during a large, illegal gathering of cyclists draining the city of police overtime costs.
Yes, that'd be Critical Mass. And the candidate in question -- Jane Kim.
Critical Mass is an event that boils the blood of even normally staid San Franciscans. So we'll just assume everyone's point of view is true. Critical Mass is a joyous expression of bicycling culture, a liberating joyride through the city, and a hell of a lot of fun for people of all ages. And, yes, it's also a city-clogging monthly pain in the ass, a clearly illegal event rife with mass traffic violations, and the opportunity for smug people to lord it over the clearly inferior human beings trapped in cars, buses, and trains.
And, yes, the police San Francisco sends to escort the illegal parade through the city are not working for free. And, no, we're not believing the story that this is a spontaneous movement sans leadership any more than the claim that several million Chinese soldiers "heard shots" and swarmed across the Yalu River.
SF Weekly hasn't yet gotten a hold of Kim or her campaign manager, Enrique Pearce. All we know about the candidate's Critical Mass position are her entertaining photos of the ride and a tweet alerting the general public that she deigned to attend the Halloween ride.
So, celebrate it or denigrate it. But San Francisco is a place where an aspiring politician clearly thinks it's in her best interest to throw down with the folks running the red lights and holding up your ride home on the 30 Stockton for 20 minutes.
Update, 4:10 p.m.: An earlier version of this story implied Jane Kim was in attendance at Critical Mass She was not -- and, in fact, she is only "learning" to ride a bicycle. Instead, her volunteers who "go to places where a lot of voters are concentrated" hit up the event. Kim insisted that the members of her campaign, even those pictured on bicycles, merely rode their bikes to the event and back -- and did not participate.
Well, okay then.
Still, it is interesting -- not necessarily good nor bad but just interesting -- that Kim's campaign sees Critical Mass as yet another place to find likely voters along with bars, BART stations, and the like.
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