COLUMBIA, 3/23/13 (Beat Byte) --
In a strange political twist, one of Columbia's best-known pedestrian and bicycle activists has come out swinging against 4th Ward Columbia City Council candidate Ian Thomas
, former director of PedNet, the city's leading bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group. Derrick Fogle
, whose trademark image of a man on a speeding bicycle
is well known in social media hereabouts, "does NOT support
Ian Thomas," he commented in the Columbia Missourian earlier this month
. "4th Ward residents will be fools if they elect Ian to that City Council seat." Noting on Twitter
that he's bicycled every day so far this year -- 846 km total -- Fogle -- a University of Missouri systems administrator -- explained in the Missourian
that he's spent "decades riding every kind of cycling infrastructure....I am, perhaps, the single most experienced and accomplished non-motorized transportation user
He's also been a local bicycle booster for years, congratulating Thomas' father-in-law, then-Mayor Darwin Hindman
, "for the most successful promotion of bicycle commuting I’ve ever seen" in a 2001 letter to the Trib.
But all that meant nothing to Thomas, Fogle says. "When I moved to Columbia, and tried to become active in PedNet, Ian was never anything but a complete and total jerk to me
. He dissed my experience, ignored my knowledge and suggestions
. Any 4th Ward resident who isn't prepared to simply 'Yes Man' Thomas should be prepared for the same kind of treatment."
Another sore spot: the $22 million GetAbout grant from the Federal government. "Ian headed up the pissing away of more than $3 million of that federal grant to Vangel and Associates for 'PR,'" Fogle wrote. "Vangel got $3 million to teach cycling classes at $50 a pop to each participant. We could have made cycling classes free to everyone that wanted them, for about a decade, with that money."
Fogle also condemned what he says was gross financial mismanagement on Thomas' part. "That $3+ million was 15% of the entire grant amount. Extrapolate that kind of poor judgment and money wastage to the entire city's budget. Ouch."
Thomas told the Heart Beat earlier this month he's running a campaign based on a "positive approach" and a broad perspective. "I have a strong, forward-looking vision for the Fourth Ward and for Columbia," he explained.