Vote, Bike, Write

October 25 2016

Like everyone else on the listserve, I've wondered since joining what I would write about if I was ever selected. A big part of me hoped that I would never have to figure that out.

But now it seems like it's time to rise to the occasion.

A brief on me: I'm a 35 year old half Mexican, half Filipino non-profit executive launching a bikesharing system in Honolulu, originally from San Juan, Texas now in HNL by way of Palo Alto, and San Francisco, CA. I'm in love with Hawaii, a woman named Victoria, and Cinemas.

What I want to say
1.) Please vote.
This is a historic presidential election for many reasons. Even if you don't live in a swing state and you don't think your presidential selection will matter, you can almost certainly influence a local election or ballot initiative. Political governance is complicated, but our presidential choices seem stark. I suspect that the polarization driving the absurd division in our candidates at the top has a lot more to do with the success or folly of local politics than it does with federal ones. If you want change, look local.

Just google ""register to vote"" and you'll find instructions for every state.

I would also like to add that as Americans self governance is our Kuleana (a uniquely Hawaiian value that reflects both privilege and responsibility). I am the last person to say that voting is easy, but it's only one way to get involved. We have the ability to change the rules around us, and it's our responsibility to ensure that they work for us and for our communities. I also highly recommend checking out the work of the OG good government organization, Common Cause.

2.) Our streets are our public space, and they belong to everyone.
Far more of our public space is tied up in roads and sidewalks than parks. And far more than the privileged do, the underserved need these facilities to access opportunities - jobs, services, family, care. When you are thinking about how your community does or should use these facilities think about whether your transportation is serving the most possible people or serving the best possible public use. Does that system that encourages 5 seater cars that contain only one person (or worse yet, 0 people while sitting idle 95% of the day) really make sense? Is it really using our public space efficiently and equitably or is it prioritizing the rich, the able bodied, the people who have the most?

For more on the subject, check out the amazing Tamika Butler who does a much better job at articulating the social justice narratives inherent in transportation.

3.) Can we bring back the essay?
The word essay comes from the french word ""essayer"" which means to try. Trying to argue convincingly, trying to access a new idea, trying make sense of the world - all of these things we value, but currently find most of their expression through internet comments which we all despise. I'd love to see more of our mass communication and traditional media be structured as collections of essays, a multitude of voices thoroughly digesting the world's events and the other voices. We already have a lot of the pieces... letters to the editor, blogs, comment threads -- we're just missing the cultural expectation and practice of proper form.

I hope wherever you are, you're having an excellent day. Come visit Hawaii!

Ben Trevino
Honolulu, HI
bikeshareben@gmail.com


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