Who is Chandler Briggs and why has he been given the title of “student representative” on Isla Vista Project Area and General Plan Advisory Committees? It appears that he does not know what it means to be a representative. In his letter to the editor (“Car-Obsessed Isla Vistans Need to Quit Complaining,” Daily Nexus, May 20) he says to his car-owning constituents, “Fuck your car. Fuck your parking space. I don’t give a shit about you…”
One of the most important duties of a representative is to be able to communicate with those you represent in an intelligent and professional manner. Briggs failed miserably on both accounts. Just take a second to think about how absurd it is for a representative to tell his constituents that he doesn’t “give a shit” about them. Briggs’ statement of “put democracy in action” could not be more ironic since this letter of his as a “representative” represents a total failure of democracy.
Go ahead and make an argument about why the parking plan is good for I.V. But there’s a certain way to do it and Briggs provides a perfect example of what not to do.
I’d also like to ask why the convenience of non-car owners in the extreme minority should take precedence over the convenience of the overwhelming car-owning majority. How inconvenient is it for those who don’t own cars? Briggs says, “I hate big open roads, I hate cars almost running me over and I hate being hit.” First, what on earth does “I hate big open roads” mean? Second, pedestrians and bikers face the possibility of car-induced injuries anywhere cars are driven. It results from people’s negligence, including that of the bikers and pedestrians, so it will continue to be a possibility even if the number of cars in I.V. is reduced. Plus, while unfortunate accidents do happen, it’s not that hard to not get hit by a car. Pay attention — don’t shoot out into intersections without looking, don’t gamble in trying to beat a car to get across the street, and don’t ride your bike so drunk you can’t see straight. That way, being hit by a car will not be a constant, serious problem for you
So why are these “inconveniences” so much greater than the inconveniences of not being able to use a car? I.V. sure doesn’t provide a job for everyone, and I.V. and Mac’s Markets do not suffice for stocking up large amounts of groceries. Take the bus, you say? Well, I would love to be there to watch someone walk from Costco or Albertsons to the bus stop after a big shopping run, and then from the bus stop to their home. And for those who don’t work near a bus stop, not wanting to walk blocks and blocks – perhaps at night – to get to and from their job seems more legitimate than someone’s disdain for “big open roads” – if the busses are even still running at that time. I know the upstanding citizens who ride the bus make you feel as safe and secure as possible, but I’m thinking that driving your own car might be preferable. Bike riding isn’t going to solve these problems either.
You might say these are petty points. But in case you’ve forgotten, it’s 2004. People drive cars. The conveniences far outweigh the inconveniences. Briggs also needs to remember that the parking problem affects those with cars more than anybody else by making parking such a hassle. Yet, it’s safe to say that car owners are not offering overwhelming support for the idea of a $200-per-year fee to park on public streets.
Cars aren’t going anywhere. Even with the parking plan, “big open roads” will still be around, while accidents involving bikers and pedestrians will continue to be a possibility. Regardless of what happens, however, it’s safe to say that Briggs has lost his legitimacy as a “representative.” His statement to his car-owning constituents could not have been more classless.
Todd Roberson is a junior political science major.