Dori: The Cascade Bicycle Club’s gangster tactics
The sleaze just continues in local government. Every single day, we get a mountain of new evidence that proves we are as corrupt as any place in the country.
There has been an effort for decades to complete the bicycle path from where the Burke-Gilman trail ends in Ballard to Shilshole at an insane cost — they’re talking about $25 million. It’s going to be like the downtown bike lane that was promised to be $860,000 per mile and is now more than $12 million per mile — more than 13 times what was originally promised. All of these things are not about bicycle riders — they’re about money, corruption, and control.
One of the businesses that I always pass by on my own bike is Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel, a business that was in Ballard long before I was born. The business is 110 years old and is still doing great.
I saw a letter this weekend from Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel to the deputy mayor of Seattle, dated April 19 of this year. It talks about how the city wants to build this “missing link” on the Burke-Gilman Trail, along the railroad tracks on the waterfront.
There is an email attached to this that is allegedly from the Cascade Bicycle Club. What it contains is gangster stuff. This is gangland. In the email, dated October 2014, Brock Howell, former Cascade Bicycle Club policy and government affairs manager, allegedly wrote to Elizabeth Kiker, then president of the club, that he “would love to go around the litigation” to get the project built — by killing the businesses standing in their way.
“Once it’s built, the operations of Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel and other light industry will likely have to be limited during evening hours due to noise issues — especially if the development is a hotel, apartment, or condo,” he wrote. “Once their hours are limited, it’s only a matter of time before they sell out and give up the litigation.”
They bill themselves as this sweet group of bike enthusiasts, but they’re not. The Cascade Bicycle Club is one of the most powerful political forces in the region, and it is part of the scam that has ripped off taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars with bike lanes and road diets grid-locking the region. And they have a really cozy relationship with developers, according to this email.
Now, Howell told KTTH Radio’s Todd Herman in an email that because he has not worked for the Cascade Bicycle Club since 2015, he cannot access his old emails, and therefore “can’t possibly confirm the veracity of the email.”
“What I can say is that Cascade & I never advocated or supported having anything but coexistence of a trail and the historic industrial activities,” he wrote. “I always supported maintaining the existing railroad tracks and the maritime & gravel businesses, and building a trail.”
However, Josh Brower, attorney for Salmon Bay, told me that there is no question about it — the Bicycle Club absolutely “wants to put those industrial businesses out of business and turn Ballard into a ‘New Ballard.'”
“The Cascade Bicycle Club’s vision is for ‘New Ballard,’ which means all those businesses are gone so they can have a bike trail,” Brower said.
This is a bedrock, foundational, blue collar, 110-year-old business. And we’re doing gangster stuff to them, between the City of Seattle and a bicycle club. This is not about people who love bikes — it’s about money, power, control. Their goal is for these maritime businesses — which, by the way, provide nice-paying blue-collar jobs, the kind of job that is disappearing because the middle class is disappearing in Seattle — to die.
“Those are really good jobs — they’re union jobs, they’re starting at $70,000, $80,000 a year straight out of high school, you get a pension, you get health care,” Brower said. “Not everybody can work for tech companies, not everybody wants to work for tech companies … Those are good jobs and we need to preserve them.”
If you are so inept as a bike rider that you can’t make your way from the end of the Bourke-Gilman to Shilshole, you shouldn’t be on a bike. In fact, you shouldn’t leave your couch. It’s pathetic if you need the government to build you a bike trail for a couple of miles.
But this isn’t about inept bicyclists. The city wants to run companies out of business and run jobs out of town. It is an incredible thing to be watching. I want you to know the collusion that is going on behind the scenes to force companies out of business. It is the calculated destruction of the middle class. City Councilmember Mike O’Brien has done everything he can to destroy the middle class and expand the homeless population so he can get a business tax for drug addicts and labor unions. Housing has become out-of-touch for middle class people. The city wants very rich people they can tax to the hilt, and destitute people they can use as an excuse to tax rich people to the hilt.