Breed drops Twitter after clash with cyclists


Sup. London Breed abruptly deleted her Twitter account on Sept. 19 after engaging in a clash of tweets with some local activists online. Breed had tweeted comments that were derogatory toward bicyclists and others, after earlier attempting to distinguish between her "private" comments and public role, but now she's given up entirely.

Patrick Traughber sent Breed a tweet reading, "@LondonBreed In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle to creating safer streets for bicycling?" To which Breed responded, "bad behavior of some bicyclist [sic]." Sources say caustic exchanges with other followers then ensued before Breed apparently deleted her feed.

"I suspended my account because I realized Twitter can be extremely time consuming and it's too hard to have nuanced policy discussions in 140 characters. I want to take some time to think about how I use this medium in the future," Breed told the Guardian.

Breed's flip answer about cyclists comes at a time when the Board of Supervisors plans to hold hearings about how the San Francisco Police Department handles bicyclist fatalities, which were recently triggered by the Guardian's exposure of blame-the-victim police bias after a truck driver ran over a cyclist (see "Anti-cyclist bias must stop," Aug. 27).

Breed told us that she has been a strong advocate for bike projects, including helping to fight through opposition to bike lanes on Oak and Fell streets and along Masonic Boulevard, an ongoing project for which "I've faced a lot of fire."

"My point was not that I think bicyclists' behavior should be an impediment to new projects. My point was bicyclists' behavior is the complaint I hear most often from those who oppose the projects. So as a practical matter, those behavioral concerns — whether you think they're accurate or inaccurate, right or wrong — make it harder to get new projects moving, harder to win public and political support," Breed told us.

Her latest Twitter kerfuffle follows another tweeted clash with progressive activists in June, which concluded with Breed tweeting, "Apologies to those I have offended I was just having fun. Although boring I will stay politically correct. I have serious work to do."

Apparently, that strategy wasn't a good fit for the sassy supervisor from District 5, who also ended this latest snafu with an apology, telling us, "It is my fault for being unclear about a complicated topic on an inappropriate medium. That is why I am taking a break from that medium."


self-styled advocates should not have been harassing her on that.

And Breed's comment was essentially true i.e. that it is bad behavior by cyclists that, often and paradoxically, prevents improvements in bike infrastructure from being approved.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 24, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

"Self-styled activists"? Huh? What the hell is that? The very definition of an activist is to be focused on a specific issue.

That comment above is just trawling by trolls.

Posted by GuestII on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

obsessed with one topic to the exclusion of others? That seems true as far as it goes and explains why progressives often argue with each other.

"Self-styled" merely means that they describe themselves that way, which many do.

In essence, an activist is someone who tries to achieve some end not because he believes a majority want it but only because he personally wants it. That is why they rarely ask people what they want. They prefer to tell them what they should want.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

While I hate trolls as much as just about anyone, I have to take issue with your rebuttal in a couple of ways.

1) As an activist, I can tell you that many of us do not always, or even even often, focus on only one issue. I commonly work on more than one fight at once and in fact modern activism is evolving bigtime these days to address all environmental, peace, social justice and consumer issues as intricately and deeply interconnected.

2) From personal experience I can tell you that the leadership (not the rank and file) of the SF Bike Coalition are underhanded and cynical pains in the ass, who regularly shun solidarity with other organizations and frequently outright oppose progressives and environmentalists for their own selfish ends on key local issues (such as the incredibly destructive, mass tenant evicting, and rent control demolishing Parkmerced development which the Bike Coalition supported because the developer made a deal with them for bike amenities). Had it not been for the 'Coalition' - that unacceptable project would never have passed the Board of Supervisors.

As a result of such betrayals, many activists, including myself, are totally pissed off at, and will not proactively reach out to work with, the Bike Coalition.

It is that sort of deep alienation, which some of these naysayers (even the trolls) are referring to.

Another way the 'Coalition' has alienated itself, is in its recent foolish attempt to skirt the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process for the citywide bike plan, which wound up triggering a lawsuit costing huge amounts of money and delaying the bike plan for years.

In addition to this, when I and others stood up to successfully fight Scott Wiener's recent attempt to fully strip -away- our local CEQA protections, the Bike Coalition took his side in the fight, which likely caused us to have to make concessions that we wouldn't have been forced into, had the Coalition stood with environmental progressives in that key battle.

We came out relatively unscathed in that CEQA fight, but we took a couple of hits that we shouldn't have had to. And the Bike Coalition had a big hand in that.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

As Breed perceptively noted recently, the bike mob are their own worst enemies, pissing people off left, right and center, and disgusting people with their self-absorption and selfishness.

But I'd argue that the left has always been an unlikely alliance of people who often have little in common. Blacks and gays have often clashed, with 70% of blacks voting to ban gay marriage in CA.

The housing activists want more affordable housing but the environmentalists want less development with their NIMBY mentality.

And what does a limousine liberal like Soros have in common with a penniless tree hugger like you?

That the left prevails at all is surprising in the context of it being an inherently unstable alliance of disparate malcontents. The right, by contrast, is remarkably homogeneous and, while there may be less of them, their coherence and unanimity can be a greater force - just look at how the Tea Party mobilized influence in almost n time at all.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 26, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

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