You Do Realize We Can Hear You, Right?


Someone really should drop by the ChainLink Forum’s “True Believers” Friday Night Beer Bash and explain to them the ramifications of saying things on an open Internet site. Perhaps they could get the pedalphiles (their term) in their midst to explain how best to avoid detection from “prying eyes”. Take for instance this gem of a discussion about John Kass:

Get ready for another John Kass column about protected bike lanes tomorrow

Posted by John Greenfield on December 6, 2012

Sources tell me that Tribune columnist John Kass will be running another column about protected lanes tomorrow, focusing on the new Dearborn PBL. As you may recall, his “Rahm-PASS” series on Chicago bicycling was none-too-flattering.

Kass will also be interviewing CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein on WGN tomorrow, probably around 10:30 am.

Here’s hoping CDOT and the advocacy community can get the word out about why the new lanes are a great addition to the city, so that the Battle of Dearborn is short-lived.

Keep moving forward,

John Greenfield

I’m kinda thinking that this crowd mistakes their hush-hush discussions on the ChainLink Forum as being secure. They are not. In fact that lack of security makes all of the childish, aggressive and asinine comments about “how much you hate motorists” easy pickings for any Senate Subcommittee looking for reasons to kill bicycle infrastructure funding. All they have to do is visit this site using their RSS Readers of choice and follow every knucklehead discussion every posted on this forum.

Trying to get the word out about your impressions of bike lanes is frankly unnecessary. Anybody who really wanted to know what you think, already does. I would imagine that John Kass is amongst those who read the forum threads on a regular basis. You simply cannot imagine how nice it is to have such a raw snapshot of the urban cyclist mentality so easily available. It is almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

The tragedy would be if this crew were to be given the task of running CIA intelligence operations. Imagine how easy it would be for spies foreign and domestic to cherry pick all of the necessary information from a group that conducts its planning sessions on an unsecured online forum. Oh well!

Here Are Some Of The Furtive Comments

Reply by Bill Savage 11 hours ago

Kass sees anything more involved than the wind blowing as clout in action.  He argues that constructing bike lanes is just politically motivated, and makes money for contractors, and placates a Rahm constituency while the city is going broke.  SOS.

Reply by Paul Gnarlo 11 hours ago

my email to the dude:

Mr. Kass,

Your Rahm-PASS idea has some serious logic flaws. For example, suburban drivers who drive downtown could get away without giving cook county a dime by purchasing their gas in neighboring counties and finding free parking or simply driving through Chicago and “using the city’s roads for free.”



Reply by David Barish 11 hours ago

Ok, I took the bait. I sent John Kass the following:

Hi John

I have been told that you are doing some work for an upcoming column on this lane and that you will be interviewing Gabe Klein of CDOT tomorrow. I thought I would write to you with my $.02. I am an attorney who has commuted on the average about once a week to the loop from the near north burbs. If I had a different job I would  commute every day. However, my need to travel and to carry work home makes that impossible.

I think the new two way lane is a very reasonable solution to in impossible problem.  The problem is the limited space for all traffic in the loop.  I drive, walk, train and cycle,  in the loop and have done so for many years.  Allocating this limited space is an act of art, science and religion.  If most commuters and cyclists use this lane we can hope that traffic on other north south arteries such as State, Clark, LaSalle and eventually Wells (when it reopens) will have less bike traffic.  Cars can try to use those streets.  Vehicles that must use Dearborn will essentially have a two lane street.  There may be some backups when cars turn or pedestrians (as they so often do) continue to cross until the light turns red.  However, things will move along.  This minor interruption on one  street is balanced by reallocating bikes to Dearborn and freeing up traffic on other streets.  The protected lane  should keep much of the cats and dogs acrimony between bikes and cars to a minimum. I have been told that there will be traffic lights for bikes in this lane.  I know that cyclists who flout traffic laws have been a problem for you.  I agree. We ALL have to work within the law if we are all going to get where we need to go in one piece.  Whether we have seen a [insert your dirty rotten user of the other mode of transportation here] break a law is not the question.  There are plenty of transgressions from all users.  The question is what we are going to do not what some jerk has done.

The more  people we get to use alternative modes of transportation such as cycling, the less cars we have on the street.  That will help make driving in the loop less of a disaster for those who have no choice.

Why do I ride?  Hey, its a sedentary job and we all have to find ways to get some exercise.  I find that I am energized and productive on the days when I ride.  I’m just saying….you should give it a try.

Now keep in mind the article by John Kass is only rumored. You know, from “sources”. Yet here we have examples of replies to something that may or may not exist. But whether it has or not the responses are made without knowing the content of the article. Really interesting this.

It’s a bit like trying to write a nasty reply to the Justice Department concerning a rumored indictment of you without knowing the nature of the indictment and in the process giving away secrets that you did not mean to expose. Of course if you were guilty of something and you were a ChainLinker you probably would have been using Twitter to carry on that extra-marital affair and mistakenly sending it to #justicedepartment. Just saying.

At any rate the goodness continues:

Reply by Juan Primo 9 hours ago

Here’s my stab at it:

Dear Mr. Kass:

I heard somewhere on the internet that you are going to write a column that I will disagree with.

Reply by dan brown 9 hours ago

I love the irony of the last line of this article :…

“Emanuel also said that, like the Kinzie Street and other protected bike lanes, motorists will adjust. And if not, they can always take CTA.”

Ah, OK. That is of course old news. But hey, if you really want to give the Mayor of Chicago, you know the guy that is authorizing payments for all those pretty green lanes and heads up about how you really feel about him, you should do so by writing angry things about him in the “secret threads” on this site.

I kind of like these gems:

Reply by Duane Waller on January 27, 2011 at 5:48am

Yeah, he does seem like a jerk to me, too.

Many voters, though, are terribly uninformed. Take this quote I overheard recently in a local diner:
“I want Emanuel because Chicago needs a Hispanic mayor”.

To which his friend replied:
“You tink Chicago is bad now, jus’ wait til dat ass—- gets troo wit it”.

Reply by Craig S. on January 27, 2011 at 9:44am

Of course he’s a jerk, he’s a politician.

He was my congressman and I always voted against him when I could.  I can’t stand the man but he has my support for mayor.  He’s far more qualified than the other embiciles in the race and I can’t wait for the day that he flies his finger at Ed Burke and Mike Madigan.  I doubt that would ever happen but one can dream…..

I also have the dream that perhaps he’d clean up the corruption in City Hall. Dang, I need a breakfast cocktail now.

Reply by Gabe on March 2, 2011 at 5:30pm

I LOVE this thread sooooooooo much it’s ridic. OMG!

Rahm Emanuel is a HUGE jerk and that’s Mayor Jerk to you buddy! 🙂

And of course there is lots more but I grow tired of cutting and pasting. But our original thread continues thusly:

Reply by Cameron Puetz 9 hours ago
This has to be the greatest topic ever for Kass. He doesn’t even have to actually write the article, just hint that he might, and he gets the controversy he craves so desperately.

Reply by Duppie 8 hours ago
For a guy that doesn’t even live in Chicago, he is quite opinionated about the way the City of Chicago makes urban planning decisions.

Reply by Kevin C 8 hours ago
I really dislike John Kass’s writing, perspective and the way he frames his theses. My solution is that I never read him. I have no reason to doubt John G’s heads up that Kass is writing a column for publication tomorrow regarding the Dearborn PBL. Has advocacy for infrastructure really devolved to the point where people are lining up, or in some cases, already sending emails decrying the column which may or may not get written and may or may not get printed?

Dan and Ada Rice Wing of Chicago’s Art Institute

Hey. It’s a free country and you get to write anything you want (within reason) about John Kass or anyone else. But Rhymes with Puppy keeps dragging out that “he does not live in Chicago” complaint. And every time I hear it I wonder if living in Oak Park disqualifies you from being the Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance? Using the “out-of-towner” complaint means that most if not all of the publicly endowed museums and buildings and such would suddenly have to be torn down, since virtually all of them were donated by folks who do not live in the city limits.

Heck, there is an entire wing of the Art Institute of Chicago donated by folks who lived not more than three miles from our home in the suburbs. And in fact the Chicago Tribune was owned by a fellow whose estate is about 8 miles from our home. I’m thinking that we suburbanites who have no right in commenting on the doings in Chicago should venture in and remove all the buildings, statuary and museums our kind have paid for and bring them back to their rightful homes.

And please do not get me started on all of the monies donated to the Chicago Public School system by folks who do not live in the city limits. Perish the thought!

Now we return to the pompous insults in progress:

Reply by Anne Alt 7 hours ago
I don’t think it’s a matter of advocacy devolving. I think that enough people are fed up with pseudo journalism that caters to the knuckledraggers (including Channel 5’s rabble rousing a.m. piece in this category) that they feel motivated to speak up. A part of me wants to respond. Another part (which will probably win this internal debate) feels that Kass is not worth wasting time on and would rather put that energy into writing a good letter to the editor – a page of the paper where there is at least some sign of intelligent life.

Reply by Peenworm Grubologist 6 hours ago
There has never, ever been value in engaging in dialogue with John Kass. I don’t know if he constitutes the sum of A Side of The Dialogue. If he does, the Dialogue was over before it began.

Reply by Lee Crandell 1 hour ago
Guys, Kass is an opinion columnist and not a reporter, meaning he’s just interested in riling up people who agree with him or creating a stir, and not in revealing truth or helping people understand objective information. I don’t think it’ll do much to respond to him or engage with him except to generate fodder for his column, where he can selectively quote you in a way where his followers will nod their heads in agreement with him.

If you feel the need to write: I’d second Anne in recommending a letter the editor. And I wouldn’t even bother responding to what Kass has to say in your letter — just write your own take on the new bike lanes on Dearborn and elsewhere as if you’d never read his column. Keep in mind most people who read your letter will not have just read Kass’ column, so if your letter responds to his points, you’ll be playing into his framing of the conversation.

Lee, you at least got it right. Kass is an opinion columnist and last I looked his opinion is a worth reading as all of the drivel that one has to wade through on the ChainLink. It’s just that he is disqualified from being taken seriously because:

  • He like the head of the Active Transportation Alliance does not live in the city
  • He disagrees with much of the doings in the urban cycling world here in Chicago, not unlike for instance most Europeans who think Critical Mass Rides are stupid and counterproductive to say nothing of our helmet fetish
  • He has a platform from which to air his notions, just like all the asses on the ChainLink who are “leaving paper trails” as if no one else could read them

I can think of only one good reason for a group to be as unconscious of their airings on the Internet and that is because they indeed intend to be overheard. Which means therefore that someone who disagrees with you has already read your bilious thread comments and really does not need to read them again in letters to the editor or anywhere else.

A Day Of Shame

Do you folks not get it? If you have a disagreement with John Kass, take it offline. You know meet at some bar where you can seethe and foam in relative privacy. And for goodness sakes, why telegraph your intentions? Oh heck, go ahead and tell us all everything rambling around in side those noggins. We really want to be able to read what you say and pass it all on that Select Committee in Washington where the Tea Party can poke through the entrails and gather all the ammunition they will need to pass on to Rush Limbaugh.

Come to think of it he probably reads this silly forum as often as I do and already has a forthcoming book that he and Ann Coulter will co-author on the coming tyranny of the urban cycling world. After all if the GOP can vote down a UN Proposal to protect the disabled what on earth makes you think pretty green lanes will survive over keeping military bases open and underground gas retrieval efforts on target?

You folks seriously need to hire yourselves a consultant who can help you figure out how to plot your next moves. This internet discussion thing really isn’t working for you.