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"Seven Sustainable Mayors": Profiles of Courage

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  • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
    Friday, July 02, 2004, Paris, France, Europe We have decided to work up a set of Profiles of Courage , brief but sharp reminders of how a handful of
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 2, 2004
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      Friday, July 02, 2004, Paris, France, Europe

      We have decided to work up a set of "Profiles of Courage", brief but
      sharp reminders of how a handful of hard-headed, far sighted mayors in
      (this list is in progress) Brazil, Britain, Colombia, Canada, France,
      Germany, and yes even the United States of America, have managed to turn
      around vital transport elements of their city and get them off the old
      path and onto that of a sustainable system (bit by bit). We hope to be
      able to share these with you before the end of the summer.

      Do you have candidates (let’s note that we have not yet identified
      anyone from Asia or Africa in this lot)? Do you have information on any
      of these mayors that should be integrated into the profiles? Let us
      know.

      Several of these cases are well known to all of you here – for example
      the stories of Jaime Lerner and Enrique Peñalosa – but others are less
      known. And in any event I think that what will be important about this
      little collection is that by putting them next to each other and
      searching out the communalities and lessons in terms specifically of
      what is needed to break the old patterns, we will be able to help show
      the way for others. After all, there have to be some mayors out there
      who are ready to go and who may need just this nudge to greatness.

      I would intend to post these, possibly one by one on the site over the
      two months ahead so that you will have an opportunity to comment, which
      comments we shall of course take into fullest consideration.

      Note: Is there anyone out there who would like to take on this task for
      us? Either the whole thing or individual profiles that I could then try
      to whip into shape so that the whole lot reads as of a piece. I think
      it’s a important and timely challenge, and all offers of help will be
      gratefully received.

      Eric Britton

      PS. This could very nicely be sponsored by some international
      organization of local government, mayors or what have you. Or a
      foundation or anyone else who thinks this could be important and worth
      doing. The only condition, in addition to our being pleased to take
      their money and have a high profile public rostrum to get the news out,
      is that they cannot in any way influence the work in progress or final
      product. ;-)
    • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
      ... Behalf Of roelof.wittink@cycling.nl Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 11:59 AM To: eric.britton@ecoplan.org; Asia and the Pacific sustainable transport
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 7, 2004
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        -----Original Message-----
        Behalf Of roelof.wittink@...
        Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 11:59 AM
        To: eric.britton@...; Asia and the Pacific sustainable transport
        Subject: [sustran] Re: "Seven Sustainable Mayors": Profiles of Courage

        Eric, I have two candidates. One is Tasneem Essop, who is now
        Minister for the Environment of the province of the Western Cape, but
        she was minister of Transport and she established in close cooperation
        with the authorities of the city of Cape Town a team to develop planning

        of a BRT system in combination with cycling and walking facilities on
        the
        Klipfontein Road in Cape Town. As well she announced to develop a
        provincial strategy for NMT and organised twice a car free day on
        Klipfontein Road.
        The other is Lord Mayor Kleist A. Sykes from Dar Es Salaam who set up
        also the planning of a BRT system in combination with cycling and
        walking facilities, on Morogoro Road .
        For more information on them, please contact Andrew Wheeldon in
        Cape Town and Asteria Mlambo in Dar. I copied this mail to them.

        best regards

        roelof wittink

        *******************************************************
        Roelof Wittink, Director
        I-ce = Interface for Cycling Expertise
        Trans 3, 3512 JJ Utrecht, The Netherlands
        tel: +31 (0)30 2304521 fax: +31 (0)30 2312384
        email (general): i-ce@...
        email (personal): roelof.wittink@...
        website: www.i-ce.info
        *******************************************************


        On 2 Jul 2004 at 10:30, eric.britton@... wrote:

        >
        > Friday, July 02, 2004, Paris, France, Europe
        >
        > We have decided to work up a set of "Profiles of Courage", brief but
        > sharp reminders of how a handful of hard-headed, far sighted mayors in
        > (this list is in progress) Brazil, Britain, Colombia, Canada, France,
        > Germany, and yes even the United States of America, have managed to
        > turn around vital transport elements of their city and get them off
        > the old path and onto that of a sustainable system (bit by bit). We
        > hope to be able to share these with you before the end of the summer.
        >
        > Do you have candidates (let™s note that we have not yet identified
        > anyone from Asia or Africa in this lot)? Do you have information on
        > any of these mayors that should be integrated into the profiles? Let
        > us know.
        >
        > Several of these cases are well known to all of you here “ for example
        > the stories of Jaime Lerner and Enrique Peñalosa “ but others are less
        > known.  And in any event I think that what will be important about
        > this little collection is that by putting them next to each other and
        > searching out the communalities and lessons in terms specifically of
        > what is needed to break the old patterns, we will be able to help show
        > the way for others.  After all, there have to be some mayors out there
        > who are ready to go and who may need just this nudge to greatness.
        >
        > I would intend to post these, possibly one by one on the site over the
        > two months ahead so that you will have an opportunity to comment,
        > which comments we shall of course take into fullest consideration.
        >
        > Note: Is there anyone out there who would like to take on this task
        > for us? Either the whole thing or individual profiles that I could
        > then try to whip into shape so that the whole lot reads as of a piece.
        >  I think it™s a important and timely challenge, and all offers of help
        > will be gratefully received.
        >
        > Eric Britton
        >
        > PS. This could very nicely be sponsored by some international
        > organization of local government, mayors or what have you.  Or a
        > foundation or anyone else who thinks this could be important and worth
        > doing. The only condition, in addition to our being pleased to take
        > their money and have a high profile public rostrum to get the news
        > out, is that they cannot in any way influence the work in progress or
        > final product.  ;-)
        >
        >
      • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
        ... On Behalf Of Barter, Paul [Sustran] Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 4:32 AM Re: Seven Sustainable Mayors : Profiles of Courage I keep hearing about remarkable
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 8, 2004
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          -----Original Message-----
          On Behalf Of Barter, Paul [Sustran]
          Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 4:32 AM
          Re: "Seven Sustainable Mayors": Profiles of Courage

          I keep hearing about remarkable changes in Seoul, Korea. Since the late
          1990s there has been a remarkable increase in official attention to
          pedestrians and cyclists, much more bus priority (to complement subway
          expansions), parking restraint has been applied vigorously, and
          congestion charging was introduced on two major routes. And perhaps most
          amazing - an inner city elevated expressway was torn down and the buried
          stream beneath it has been brought back to the surface as a linear park.
          Now we hear about a new round of attempts to make public transport more
          integrated and have higher on-road priority.

          So three questions:
          - Where can we get more information on these changes? (Can anyone
          elaborate on the story? Maybe my impressions are not accurate? Can
          anyone point us towards a good written summary of these events and how
          they have come about?)
          - What triggered the changes in policy?
          - Which particular individuals ('Mayors' or otherwise) or organisations
          deserve recognition for these changes? (perhaps via Eric's "Profiles of
          Courage")

          All the best,
          Paul
        • eric.britton@ecoplan.org
          Sunday, July 11, 2004, Paris, France, Europe Reference: Craig Townsend s good note of 7/9/2004. Dear Friends and Craig, Your point about “emphasizing the
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 11, 2004
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            Sunday, July 11, 2004, Paris, France, Europe

            Reference: Craig Townsend's good note of 7/9/2004.

            Dear Friends and Craig,

            Your point about “emphasizing the actions of “great individuals” rather
            than the collective actions of members of communities joining together
            to make changes or oppose changes?” strikes my commoner, activist,
            people loving, anarchist soul in more ways than you may think. It also
            brings up a point that has been lurking at the back of my mind even as I
            go ahead with this.

            My choice in these cases is “all of the above” – and certainly that in a
            world in which we need more options for sustainability and social
            justice. By which I mean that, yes, we must be very careful not to
            build a library of glowing profiles of seven Mussolini’s. But at the
            same time, one of the real accomplishments of people like Jaime Lerner,
            Neil Goldschmidt, Michel Crépeau, Enrique Peñalosa, and yes even our not
            always loved WTN award candidate Ken Livingstone, and others whose
            names are most agreeably starting to pop up here, has precisely been to
            reach out well beyond the usual political constituencies and
            bureaucracies and work directly with public interest groups and citizens
            who are ready for change and ready to take an active role in making it
            happen.

            That said, we certainly have plenty of materials for a second and
            probably at the end of the day more important Profiles of Courage, which
            starts with communities, precisely as you suggest. And there we have
            seen some very interesting examples in our work with the Stockholm
            Partnerships for Sustainable Cities –
            http://www.partnerships.stockholm.se/jury_index.html - over the last
            several years).

            For dessert to this exchange, let me share with you this extract that
            just slipped in over the transom, form the every energetic, always
            passionate and always engaging Howard Zinn (thanks Soros!) It gives us a
            nice fit for the rest.

            Eric Britton


            -----Original Message-----

            From: Other News - Roberto Savio / IPS
            [mailto:soros@...-publisher.com]
            Sent: woensdag 30 juni 2004 20:44
            To: metz@...
            Subject: The Coming Revolt of the Guards



            /Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited,
            article sent for information purposes./

            THE COMING REVOLT OF THE GUARDS

            By Howard Zinn

            The following are excerpts from A People's History of the United States

            The following are excerpts from A People's History of the United States


            ... the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans ... so
            tremblingly respectful [in the direction] of states and statesmen and so
            disrespectful, by inattention, to people's movements -that we need some
            counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission.

            All those histories of this country centered on the Founding Fathers
            and the Presidents weigh oppressively on the capacity of the ordinary
            citizen to act. They suggest that in times of crisis we must look to someone
            to save us: in the Revolutionary crisis, the Founding Fathers; in the
            slavery crisis, Lincoln; in the Depression, Roosevelt; in the
            Vietnam-Watergate crisis, Carter. And that between occasional crises
            everything is all right, and it is sufficient for us to be restored to that
            normal state. They teach us that the supreme act of citizenship is to choose
            among saviors, by going into a voting booth every four years to choose
            between two white and well-off Anglo-Saxon males of inoffensive personality
            and orthodox opinions.

            The idea of saviors has been built into the entire culture, beyond
            politics. We have learned to look to stars, leaders, experts in every field,
            thus surrendering our own strength, demeaning our own ability, obliterating
            our own selves. But from time to time, Americans reject that idea and rebel.
            These rebellions, so far, have been contained. The American system is the
            most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in
            natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to
            distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a
            troublesome minority. It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so
            many of its citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the
            small number who are not pleased.

            There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, lee
            ways, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen, winning tickets in lotteries.
            There is none that disperses its controls more complexly through the voting
            system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass
            media -none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating
            people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.

            One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of
            the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent
            against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black
            against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and
            professionals against the uneducated and unskilled. These groups have
            resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and
            violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a
            very wealthy country.

            *****

            ... Madison feared a "majority faction" and hoped the new
            Constitution would control it. He and his colleagues began the Preamble to
            the Constitution with the words "We the people .," pretending that the new
            government stood for everyone, and hoping that this myth, accepted as fact,
            would ensure "domestic tranquillity."

            The pretense continued over the generations, helped by all-embracing
            symbols, physical or verbal: the flag, patriotism, democracy, national
            interest, national defense, national security...

            *****

            The exile of Nixon, the celebration of the Bicentennial, the
            presidency of Carter, all aimed at restoration. But restoration to the old
            order was no solution to the uncertainty, the alienation, which was
            intensified in the Reagan-Bush years. The election of Clinton in 1992,
            carrying with it a vague promise of change, did not fulfill the expectations
            of the hopeful.

            With such continuing malaise, it is very important for the
            Establishment -that uneasy club of business executives, generals, and
            politicos- to maintain the historic pretension of national unity, in which
            the government represents all the people, and the common enemy is overseas,
            not at home, where disasters of economics or war are unfortunate errors or
            tragic accidents, to be corrected by the members of the same club that
            brought the disasters. It is important for them also to make sure this
            artificial unity of highly privileged and slightly privileged is the only
            unity- that the 99 percent remain split in countless ways, and turn against
            one another to vent their angers. How skillful to tax the middle class
            to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of
            humiliation! How adroit to bus poor black youngsters into poor white
            neighborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the
            schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out
            carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar
            aircraft carriers. How ingenious to meet the demands of blacks and women for
            equality by giving them small special benefits, and setting them in
            competition with everyone else for jobs made scarce by an irrational,
            wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward
            a class of criminals bred -by economic inequity- faster than they can be put
            away, deflecting attention from the huge thefts of national resources
            carried out within the law by men in executive offices.

            *****

            However, the unexpected victories even temporary of insurgents show
            the vulnerability of the supposedly powerful. In a highly developed society,
            the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of
            millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the
            soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social
            workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses,
            transport and communications workers, garbagemen and firemen. These people
            -the employed, the somewhat privileged- are drawn into alliance with the
            elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and
            lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.

            That will happen, I think, only when all of us who are slightly
            privileged and slightly uneasy begin to see that we are like the guards in
            the prison uprising at Attica expendable; that the Establishment, whatever
            rewards it gives us, will also, if necessary to maintain its control, kill
            us. Certain new facts may, in our time, emerge so clearly as to lead to
            general withdrawal of loyalty from the system. The new conditions of
            technology, economics, and war, in the atomic age, make it less and less
            possible for the guards of the system -the intellectuals, the home owners,
            the taxpayers, the skilled workers, the professionals, the servants of
            government- to remain immune from the violence (physical and psychic)
            inflicted on the black, the poor, the criminal, the enemy overseas.

            The internationalization of the economy, the movement of refugees
            and illegal immigrants across borders, both make it more difficult for the
            people of the industrial countries to be oblivious to hunger and disease in
            the poor countries of the world.

            *****

            The system, in its irrationality, has been driven by profit to build
            steel skyscrapers for insurance companies while the cities decay, to spend
            billions for weapons of destruction and virtually nothing for children's
            playgrounds, to give huge incomes to men who make dangerous or useless
            things, and very little to artists, musicians, writers, actors. Capitalism
            has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail
            for the middle classes.

            The threat of unemployment, always inside the homes of the poor, has
            spread to white-collar workers, professionals. A college education is no
            longer a guarantee against joblessness, and a system that cannot offer a
            future to the young coming out of school is in deep trouble. If it happens
            only to the children of the poor, the problem is manageable; there are the
            jails. If it happens to the children of the middle class, things may get out
            of hand. The poor are accustomed to being squeezed and always short of
            money, but in recent years the middle classes, too, have begun to feel the
            press of high prices, high taxes.

            In the seventies, eighties, and early nineties there was a dramatic,
            frightening increase in the number of crimes. It was not hard to understand,
            when one walked through any big city. There were the contrasts of wealth and
            poverty, the culture of possession, the frantic advertising. There was the
            fierce economic competition, in which the legal violence of the state and
            the legal robbery by the corporations were accompanied by the illegal crimes
            of the poor. Most crimes by far involved theft. A disproportionate number of
            prisoners in American jails were poor and non-white, with little education.
            Half were unemployed in the month prior to their arrest.

            The most common and most publicized crimes have been the violent
            crimes of the young, the poor -a virtual terrorization in the big cities- in
            which the desperate or drug-addicted attack and rob the middle class, or
            even their fellow poor. A society so stratified by wealth and education
            lends itself naturally to envy and class anger.

            The critical question in our time is whether the middle classes, so
            long led to believe that the solution for such crimes is more jails and more
            jail terms, may begin to see, by the sheer uncontrollability of crime, that
            the only prospect is an endless cycle of crime and punishment. They might
            then conclude that physical security for a working person in the city can
            come only when everyone in the city is working. And that would require a
            transformation of national priorities, a change in the system.

            *****

            The prospect is for times of turmoil, struggle, but also
            inspiration. There is a chance that ... a movement could succeed in doing
            what the system itself has never done -bring about great change with little
            violence. This is possible because the more of the 99 percent that begin to
            see themselves as sharing needs, the more the guards and the prisoners see
            their common interest, the more the Establishment becomes isolated,
            ineffectual. The elite's weapons, money, control of information would be
            useless in the face of a determined population. The servants of the system
            would refuse to work to continue the old, deadly order, and would begin
            using their time, their space -the very things given them by the system to
            keep them quiet- to dismantle that system while creating a new one.

            The prisoners of the system will continue to rebel, as before, in
            ways that cannot be foreseen, at times that cannot be predicted. The new
            fact of our era is the chance that they may be joined by the guards. We
            readers and writers of books have been, for the most part, among the guards.
            If we understand that, and act on it, not only will life be more satisfying,
            right off, but our grandchildren, or our great grandchildren, might possibly
            see a different and marvelous world.


            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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            should be in the media but is not, because of commercial criteria. It
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            "Other News" motto is a phrase which appeared on the wall of Barcelona's old
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