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"Seven Sustainable Mayors": Profiles of Courage

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  • 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 1 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@...
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      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 2 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 3 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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          "Other News" is a personal initiative seeking to provide information that
          should be in the media but is not, because of commercial criteria. It
          welcomes contributions from everybody. Work areas include information on
          global issues, north-south relations, gobernability of globalization. The
          "Other News" motto is a phrase which appeared on the wall of Barcelona's old
          Customs Office, at the beginning of 2003:"What walls utter, media keeps
          silent". Roberto Savio
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