Jokester Ulrich Welcomes Serious Discussion of Traffic Safety… Just Not Now

Council Member Eric Ulrich, reportedly a top candidate to take on the suddenly vulnerable Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district, kept it classy yesterday when asked to explain his own embarrassing Twitter behavior. After telling a constituent to “get a life” for suggesting that bike lanes and traffic calming can help prevent crashes like the one that critically injured a 53-year-old grandmother in his district this weekend, the 26-year-old southeastern Queens rep led off his response to Gothamist’s John del Signore with a Weiner quip:

First of all, I can say with certitude that my Twitter account, to my knowledge, has not been hacked. With that said, I cannot believe that anyone would use a tragic incident like the one that occurred on Friday to advance their own agenda. To suggest that a bike lane would have prevented this from happening is simply absurd. While I welcome a serious discussion about traffic safety in my district, I will not allow people to use this unfortunate event to begin that conversation.

Ulrich told political reporter Azi Paybarah that the constituent who tweeted her traffic safety concerns, who goes by the handle hangingbyastrap, had been “harassing” him. “Don’t use this tragedy to advance your agenda,” Ulrich said.

So don’t harass Eric Ulrich by reminding him that people in his district are getting injured and killed in preventable traffic crashes. Just shut up about the grandmother sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a van driver crashed into another van and jumped the sidewalk in Ozone Park, or the 81-year-old woman who was mowed down by a tow truck driver as she crossed Woodhaven Boulevard. Don’t even bother with the data that show bike lanes make streets safer for motorists and pedestrians in addition to cyclists.

If you want to engage Eric Ulrich in a discussion of traffic safety, you must not tether your remarks to the actual events that cause people to lose life and limb, or the actual solutions that can prevent similar events from happening again.

  • Anonymous

    Hahahaha.

    Eric Ulrich is a politician.

    “advance agenda”  Riiiigggghhhhhtttt.

    Those fat cat special interests.  And what was her agenda?

    Oh right, using a hit-and-run to advocate for safer streets.  

    ***

    Sometimes I wonder how stupid the political press is?  

    Do they follow the shiny object: (a) “He said, ‘she shouldn’t use a tragic incident to further her agenda,'” case closed, copy filed. Or do we have a political press that thinks (b),”well, her agenda is safer streets and she used an unsafe street accident to highlight the importance of her agenda i.e. safer streets, so her tweet is germane and his response was callous”  

    I wish that (c) the press was informed to realize that bike lanes ARE traffic calming measures.  That infuriating feeling that drivers get “Arggghhh, nightmares about a bikelane,” is a goal.  Slow down in neighborhoods.  Wouldn’t we all love to be able to zip around the city in matter of seconds. 

    My money is on (a). 

  • Ozone Parker

    It doesn’t matter if you love or hate bike lanes and traffic calming.  It’s simply not acceptable for a City Council Member to tell a voter to get a life. 

  • Albert

    Since when is it harassment for a citizen to tell an elected official how they feel about an issue?  Oh, since now.  I see.

  • Black is white. White is black. Ulrich’s disgusting and completely heartless comment is is nothing, but a citizen voicing concern about a probably preventable traffic fatality beyond the pale.

    This is why I’ve given up on electoral politics.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. It’s like when politicians say, “Let’ not use this latest mass-murder/shooting to talk about gun control.”

    Azi Paybarah from the Observer, then quoted Ulrich that he responded this way, because the constituent was “harassing” him. Did Paybarah ask what form the harassment took, or bother to contact the woman? Of course not.

    I tweeted him:

    “That’s what your idea of “reporting” is? Next time you’re at zoo, check out the parrot exhibit.”

    Peter
    http://inklake.typepad.com

  • Azi does great work and is incredibly prolific. He’s doing us all a service by getting people like Ulrich on the record with their clumsy, poorly thought-out remarks.

  • Man do I hate twitter. I hate this asshat republican from Queens too, of course. But I mostly hate twitter.

  • I agree with Ben.  Azi deserves credit for shining a light on Ulrich’s statements propelling them into the larger arena of political blogs.

  • I don’t really get twitter. If I want to post random crap I go to facebook. If I want to read random crap, I either check facebook or check out a blog I’m interested in. What’s the point of twitter, anyway?

  • Anonymous

    Looking at Ulrich’s tweet again, it’s truly a marvel of synergy. A string of non-sequiturs that when put together, are stupider than any individual one. E pluribus, socordia.

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