Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is Joe Seconder, Self-Proclaimed Founder of, A Thief??

Back in February 2007, there was little dust up in Cobb County over an ordinance being introduced by Joe Thompson that was effectively trying to ban cycling on a public road. I got involved. I was a cyclist and was against any type of restriction, plus I live on the road. I had no intention of letting a bunch of pinhead politicians tell me I cannot cycle in my neighborhood. I attended commission meetings, I posted all over the damn internet, I had heated discussions with homeowners and other cyclists. I also decided to document all that was going on with a blog- Bike Cobb. A permanent record of what was transpiring. I put a lot of work into it. I had many cyclists tell me they were reading it, sending links to friends and gave me thanks for the effort to keep everybody up-to-date. I also worked the press as much as I could, shooting emails to writers at the AJC and MDJ. I sent them contact information from homeowners. I did everything I could to fight this.

After the “compromise” proposal, that was no compromise (and I told all the cyclists who participated in that with Commissioner Joe Thompson that they were going to get worked over- and they did), I kept track of what was going on. Were police out? What were they doing? What was the effect? I posted pictures. I told of license checks. I did what I could. As winter approached nothing was happening, so no posting went on. I was waiting for the elections, because as I screamed from day 1, we had a chance to primary Joe Thompson.

During the winter, some guy moves to town- Joe Seconder. He was not involved in the Columns issue, sat in no commission meetings, did no battle over this contentious issue. He decided to start a bike advocacy group. Good for him. He originally registered “Cobb Cycling” on Yahoo Groups and started communicating. He sent me a few emails through my blog, Bike Cobb, but I didn’t respond, or even read the second one, because I was busy with my own thing and was not interested in working with him. Well Cobb Cycling got some people involved and they ended up setting up a website. Did they call it Cobb Cycling, after his Yahoo Group? No, Joe Seconder stole the name Bike Cobb. I guess he liked it more.

Let me point out, this is why people do not like to get involved in advocacy. You end up with unethical people doing unethical things, and just making people miserable. It was spring or summer before I read Joe Seconder's second email and realized Joe had stole the name of my blog for his advocacy group. Hell, Cobb Cycling sounded good to me. I really was a bit dumbfounded. I could not believe this guy had done this. How unethical was he? He had no respect for me, my blog, or all the effort I put in to the Columns issue and my blog. He just up and decided he liked the name so he would steal it. He stole from me.

Now he has a few excuses, as he has written and told me. Number 1: He felt he could take the name because I did not respond to his emails. Number 2: He felt he could take my name because we were both working on bicycle advocacy. I guess if he saw your bike at Columns and he asked if he could have it and you failed to respond, he would take it. Maybe, maybe not. He did do this to me however. He stole from me.

I was really unsure about how to pursue this. I didn’t want to seem petty, but I was pissed. I don’t like people taking things from me. And it has caused me trouble. I have had to explain to people, including a candidate for office, that I was the starter of Bike Cobb, but no ”maybe not the one you are thinking about.“ Plus, it really put me off my game on stuff I wanted to do for the election- like contacting candidates. The confusion and explanations were a bit much. Plus, I realized a few things about Joe Seconder’s Yahoo Group, which I did join to post election stuff, like I was doing on a bunch of other groups. What I recognized was that he deletes stuff he does not like. After he posted a glowing and completely bullshit post about Sam Olens being progressive on cycling/transportation issues, I called him on it and posted my experience with Olens. I do have experience with him from the “Columns commission meetings” and have kept track of him since then. Since I did not agree with Joe’s thoughts, he deleted the post. I posted on Woody Thompson’s background and friendships with the people who got Joe Thompson to introduce the Columns ordinance. He deleted that, along with another poster’s agreement. I can not say for sure how many posts he has removed, but removing any because you do not agree with them is pretty bad for an advocacy group.

Since I am all about pressuring politicians through exposure of facts, and Joe Seconder seems to be more about kissing up to them, I realized it would be best if any confusion between the two websites was removed. The best way for that to happen is for Joe Seconder to replace the name he stole with another one- like his original name Cobb Cycling. I asked him to do this. It would be very inexpensive. Domain registration for a year is only $15. Name changes on the website would be minor. He has not yet incorporated as a 501-c-3 group. All his flyers and stuff appear to be electronic so can be easily changed. He could keep the old domain and redirect to the new site so nobody would get lost or left out. His group is only 6 months old, so it is not like they have a long track record. His only response had been “Let’s have coffee.” I certainly will not do that since there may be future litigation. All communication should be in writing. Plus, I would feel the need to keep my hand on my wallet and eye on my car.

While I certainly have the legal right to the name Bike Cobb, I also have the moral right to it. I started using it a year before Joe stole it. I put a lot of effort into my website and advocacy with the commission. Why would somebody just come along and assume they can use it because they like it better than the name they were using? Is this an ethical person? Is this the kind of person you want to associate with for bike advocacy in Cobb County? Isn’t any group’s ethics or reputation only as good as the person running it?

So what about you Joe Seconder? You have admitted you decided to start using the name even though you knew I was using it for my blog, for cycling advocacy. Do you want to stand up, be a man, admit you made a mistake and correct it? Do you want to do what is right? Or do you want to try and keep using a name you stole? This is going to speak a lot about what type of man you are and what type of organization you are going to run. Do you want people to be able to trust you? Or do you want people worried about what you might take from them? You can end this whole thing by doing the right thing. Think about it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bike Cobb

(Updated below)

Wow, some people...

In February of 2007 I started this blog, Bike Cobb, to document and archive information on the Cobb Commissions actions on the Columns Drive ordinance. At the time I was involved with other cyclists fighting this, attending commission meetings and spreading the word. Many people were involved and we won a partial victory and a partial loss- as a single file ordinance that is unenforceable by state law was passed. I immediately advocated trying to primary the commissioners supporting and voting for this- which was all of them, including Joe Thompson who introduced and championed the ordinance as well as Sam Olens the chairman.

Last night we primaried Joe Thompson and gave him more time to spend with his family, as Bob Ott won the Republican runoff for the District 3 Commission seat. This is great for cyclists. We have a voice and should use it. Annette Kesting who voted for the ordinance was defeated in her primary runoff, but that had more to do with shooting herself in the foot than it did with any cyclist.

So back to the past. A year after I started this blog and spent a lot of time fighting the Columns issue, I get an email to the Bike Cobb email address from Joe Seconder. It reads:

Hi there,

are you available to chat?

I've started


Joe Seconder

Now I am thinking, this guy just sent an email to Bike Cobb, surely he is not stupid enough to name his advocacy group "Bike Cobb." He knows this blog exists, is named Bike Cobb, existed a year prior to this, and the efforts made to fight the Columns ordinance? I really did not give it a thought. Well, he was stupid enough, as I realized a few months later. At the time, I decided not to make any decision on it yet.

Well, during the last month of primaries, many people were posting on various triathlon yahoo groups, cycling yahoo groups and Joe's little yahoo group "Cobb Cycling," which he at least did not name Bike Cobb. As it turns out, Joe Seconder will delete your posts if he does not like the content. I posted about how Kesting and Thompson were outed, but Sam Olens wasn't and added that he was probably untouchable. Joe posted back how much he liked Olens and thought he was "open-minded in working with progressive ideas." This is the Sam Olens that voted yeah on the Columns ordinance. (And at the same time pushed through an ordinance that still allowed private and commercial burning in residential areas.) I thought that was odd, but remember Joe also posts on his bike advocacy about the Columns issue: "I Wasn't Around. Single Focus Effort. In the Past." He does not seem to concerned about it. I posted back that Sam is not concerned with cycling or cyclists, and I did not think he was progressive. I cannot give you the post verbatim, because the post was deleted by Joe. He also deleted another post:

Woody Thompson defeated Annette Kesting in the District 4 Commission seat Democratic primary. He may not be a cyclist supporter.

During the Columns fiasco at a commission meeting, I talked with Paul McNulty, president of one of the townhouse associations on Columns. He was one of the people speaking for the anti-cycling ordinance. Even back then he spoke about how Woody Thompson was going to challenge Kesting for the District 4 seat, maybe changing parties to do so. He said he was friends with him and seemed to be a big supporter. So Woody may not be our friend.

Hopefully Woody will stay away from anything anti-cycling, but I doubt he is somebody we can count on. Like Joe Thompson, he seems to be from the old boys club in Cobb County. He does have to face Republican candidate Barbara Hickey in the general. This may be another race cyclists may want to get and give feedback on.

He sent me back an email, which I assume covers both posts, which read:

I don't mind some personal opinions on this message board, but let's keep the banter to a minimum.

I've met with Sam. He's the chairman and I'm not going to get into the negative speech here. Feel free to keep the negative stuff to your old message board, please.

nuff said.

This is the message board he named "Cobb Cycling - Bike Cobb," the same name my blog was named a year prior. (BTW- I am opening a new store to sell all kinds of stuff. It is called Target!)

So what do you do? I hate to see somebody running a group using a name I originally used for a blog a year prior, who seems to have an agenda other than cycling issues? I hate to see that person using that name censor a group's posts because they do not match his beliefs or opinions. If somebody is going to have a non-profit for cyclists, opinions should at least be open for discussion. Kingdoms usually suck. Kingdoms with stupid and tyrannical kings suck more.

In any case, I am glad for the change at the commission. Two of the five commissioners who voted for the Columns Ordinance are gone. We have a shot at replacing two more in two year. Cyclists have a little muscle to flex now.


Well Joe Seconder decided to post his version of events leading up to his use of a name for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County that was already being used:

Hi All,

I'd like to set the record straight and provide full disclosure on a situation that has arisen.

I originally moved to Cobb County in 1984. I left the Atlanta area in 2001 and lived in Europe until the end of 2006. When I was in Europe, I regained my love of bicycling. Instead of just talking between friends about how the bicycling scene is inadequate in the Atlanta area, I wanted to get some advocacy initiatives started. I was really impressed with BikeRoswell, and how they collaborate with their elected representatives and government officials. I felt it was all about networking and getting a broad-based coalition going for the long haul.

I wanted to find a Cobb County version of the BikeRoswell group and get involved. I came across the in January. I saw there hadn't been a posting since September, 2007. On the homepage, there is an owner email account, so I sent an email. It went unanswered so I started the Yahoo group. Then I registered a couple of Websites (at my own expense). Then, between a few initial folks, it was mutually agreed upon that the name "BikeCobb" would be most appropriate. So we stuck with that, and used On June 2nd, the bikecobb.blogspot owner requested to join this Yahoo group and was approved. This was the first communication the group had with this person, and there was never any discussions regarding infringement, names, etc.

To make a long story short, I believe in life that "you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar".

Today, on the BikeCobb blog, the owner has posted a VERY shortened version of my original email from January. He also posted another personal I sent directly to him. This blog owner then emailed me today with what I consider inappropriate language between fellow bicycle advocates. I will not share his message publicly.

FYI, below is my full UNEDITED email I sent (unanswered) to the owner of the bikecobb blog.

You can read that here.

First off, full disclosure means telling you what he wants you to know. He does not mention deleting posts with opinions on candidates or elected officials he does not agree with. Two of my posts and at least one other were deleted. There was nothing profane, actionable or in bad taste in any of these. Somebody else called Kesting a slob, but that was the worst, and I don't think anybody would disagree with that.

Second, the email I posted from him was verbatim. I received it in March. The one he posted was received in January, which just illustrates that he decided to name his website for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County, GA, in February, "Bike Cobb" knowing another website using the same name for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County already existed. Not real smart. Just because I receive emails for coffee and talk does not mean I have to accept or even respond. I certainly do not give up any rights by doing neither.

My not posting while nothing newsworthy was going on certainly does not release any rights or the name of my website. I have no obligation to post a certain number of items a month. The website stayed active and did have traffic, including Joe Seconder. For him to choose to use that name knowing somebody else was using it for the same purpose in the same county and state was just poor judgment.

As far as "inappropriate language?" I called him a dick for deleting posts and I said he was an idiot for thinking Olens was "progressive." Believe me, for my general manner of speaking, that was mild. I am all about inappropriate language!

I asked to join "Cobb Cycling" on Yahoo groups as he said to post information on elections and to read what was going on with "Bike Cobb." I had still not decided how to pursue the matter, or if I wanted to. After seeing how Joe was deleting posts that did not jive with his opinion, I decided that it would be better to demand Joe change the name of his advocacy group so it did not reflect upon my blog and efforts. I have notified him of my intent and will send an official cease and desist letter shortly. Seeing how inexpensively he can change the name and domain, keeping the old domain to redirect to the new one, I hope he takes this avenue to avoid any litigation. Surely he accepted this risk when he chose tho use a name already in use.

It is sad that this has all happened on a day when we should be celebrating a victory, but Joe assumed this risk by using a name already in use and deleting people's posts that he did not agree with. I am not going to shirk away from my rights on any day, however.

Nah, nah, nah, nah... Nah, nah, nah, nah...

Hey, hey, hey... Goodbye!

Bob Ott defeated Joe Thompson in the Cobb County Commissioner Republican primary race in District 2, by an almost 2 to 1 margin. I know the cycling community pushed hard with a get out the vote effort against Thompson, who was the commissioner who introduced the Columns Drive anti-cycling measure. While many other groups were happy to be rid of Thompson, I am very happy the cycling community was able to flex it muscles and show that it is a group of people to be considered.

Annette Kesting, the Democratic Commissioner from District 4 was defeated in the Democratic primary by Woody Thompson, a former 2-term Republican commissioner from District 4 who changed parties to challenge Kesting, who beat him 4 years ago in the general election. (Thompson was also formerly a Democrat who changed to Republican to... hey, whatever he has to do to get himself elected...) While Kesting did not introduce the anti-cycling ordinance, she did happily vote for it, so it is nice to see her ousted. I wish the cycling community could take some credit for that, but Kesting shot herself in the foot repeatedly and pretty much insured who own defeat.

Commission Chair Sam Olens, also voting for the anti-cycling ordinance, was not challenged. He seems to be the GOP's fair haired boy right now, and is probably untouchable.

The Commission may net out on Thompson's. We lose anti-cycling Joe Thompson and may gain Woody Thompson. I cannot say for sure how Woody Thompson will vote on cycling issues, but I do know that Paul McNulty, townhome owner on Columns, and one of the people pushing the anti-cycling ordinance, seemed to be a very big Woody Thompson supporter when I talked to him during a Cobb Commission meeting. Hopefully he has seen what can happen to commissioners who propose anti-cycling ordinances. He does have to face Republican Barbara Hickey in the general. This may be another race cyclists may want to get feedback on.

Barbara Hickey is an Smyrna etiquette school owner. Her website is here. She seems to be very active in the community, but not with any cycling organizations.

Congrats to Bob Ott and good luck in the general election!

Story in AJC.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Runoff Advanced/Absentee Voting

You can vote in advance for the Republican Primary Runoff in Cobb County this week. This includes the Joe Thompson and Bob Ott District 2 Cobb Commissioner runoff. You do not to give a reason to vote in advance. Voting is open Monday thru Friday. You need to vote in person at one of the following locations at the listed times:

Elections and Registrations Office
736 Whitlock Avenue
Marietta, GA 30064
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

South Cobb Service Center
4700 AUstell Road
Austell, GA 30106
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

East Cobb Service Center
4400 Lower Roswell Road
Marietta, GA 30068
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

North Cobb Senior Center (Kenworth Park)
3900 Highway 293 (Old Hwy 41)
Acworth, GA 30101
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

West Cobb Parks & Recreation District Office
(Lost Mountain Park)
4845 Dallas Highway
Powder Springs, GA 30127
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Regular voting will be Tuesday August 5.

Again, you do not need to give a reason to vote early. If it is easier, do it. Any registered voter who voted in the GOP Primary or who did not vote at all in the primary is eligible to vote. Only those who voted in the Democratic Party primary are ineligible.

For those of you who do not remember, Joe Thompson is the commissioner who introduced the anti-cycling ordinances in an attempt to ban many cyclists from Columns Drive, a very bad precedent for all cyclists. (A history can be found at:

Bob Ott seems to be more interested in traffic solutions which include access for cyclists.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bob Ott Signs Vandalized

Bob Ott has forced anti-cycling Commissioner Joe Thompson into a runoff for the Republican nomination in Cobb County's District 2 Commissioner race. Thompson received 45% of the vote while Ott received 40%. This is a great chance for cyclists to show support for officials with balanced transportation plans that support cycling, and to help show that we will work against those without. Story on the primary here. The winner of the GOP primary in District 2 will win the election.

During the primary and now leading up to the runoff, there have been reports of Ott's large signs being vandalized, including one on Johnson Ferry near Columns Drive, which has been destroyed repeatedly. Hopefully awareness will help stop this.

For your own signs, and to help support a pro-cycling candidate, visit Bob Ott's website.

Joe Thompson is the commissioner who introduced the anti-cycling Columns ordinances. Supporting his opponent will show that cyclists take such behavior seriously. The runoff is August 5, and any registered voter in District 2 who did not vote in the primary or who voted on the GOP ballot During the primary is eligible to vote. Only those who voted in the Democratic primary is excluded from the GOP runoff election.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Election on July 15th!

Answers to questions you may have about the election on July 15 for the evil Cobb County Commission.


Every single incumbent voted against the Column's issue and none spoke favorably on cycling during the two contentious hearings. I would say they are all anti-cycling.

Concerning District 2, Bob Ott has done triathlons in the past and has done loops on Columns. I do not know if Ron Sifen cycles. Bob has a much better graphics designer. I do not know who designed Sifen's signs, but they really blow. You almost have to get out of the car and walk over to see what they say.

Vote for either and hope we can hold Thompson under 50% so we get a run off. Then vote for whoever is not Thompson during the run off.

Remember, to vote you will need a picture ID now. When you arrive at your polling place, you will be asked which primary ballot you want. You can take either a Republican or Democratic ballot. In Georgia you do not declare your party when you vote- although your choice in the primary binds you in case there are any runoff election. Thompson, Ott and Sifen are on the Republican ballot. If you wish to vote against Thompson, it is advisable to take the Republican ballot. Some guy is running for District 2 on the Dem ballot, but he will never win in Cobb County District 2, and to my knowledge, the Dem has not even campaigned. (Nothing partisan implied, just the facts.)

Basic Map:

FAQs on voting here:

Sample Ballots:

Vote, and get everybody you know to vote. If cyclists can help take out one incumbent, other politicians will be much more likely to listen to us.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hyde Farm Saved!

According to the AJC, a deal has been reached to save Hyde Farm. This could be very significant to cyclists in Cobb County, and Roswell, if we act. Now that Hyde Farm becomes a public park, bike trails could connect many current cycling areas. A little over 1 mile of trail could connect Johnson Ferry to Hyde Road, which connects with Lower Roswell. And with a few miles of bike lanes, which some East Cobb residents have sadly been fighting, we could connect Northside Drive at 285 to Azalea/Riverside Drive in Roswell.

Think of being able to cycle from Northside Drive, through Cochran Shoals, up Columns, through Hyde Park, up Hyde Road, turning onto Lower Roswell Road, onto Willeo Road, right onto Azalea, which turns into Riverside, past Martin's Landing all the way to Eves Road. This would be almost 15 miles of paths and bike lanes, many very family friendly and safe. This would not only increase property values in the area, but most like decrease the bike traffic on Columns- I think many folks would rather have a longer ride than doing repeats in the same area. Map of possible route.

Naturally, there would be some resistance to such a bike path by non-cyclists. However, I think pointing out the benefits to families, the possibility of less cyclists on streets without bike lanes and paths, and the possibility of increased property values, can remove a lot of the resistance.

I think this is a great idea to push to Cobb County and The Trust for Public Land.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Commissioner Thompson Gets Challengers!

Remember the big Columns Drive Flap when Cobb District 2 Commissioner Joe Lee Thompson tried to restrict, if not ban, cycling on Columns? Remember how he basically refused to listen to cyclists and ended up getting a bill rammed through the commission that is probably unenforceable and certainly at odds with state law?

Well, Thompson has two Republican challengers for the District 2 election, Bob Ott and Ron Sifren and one Democrat, James Royal.

Bob Ott is a former president of the East Cobb Civic Association, was a member of the Cobb County Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Appeals through the first of this year,is president/owner of DBO software and is a Delta Airlines Pilot. More information can be found at his website,, which sadly has music playing when you go there. (He has a picture of his children on bicycles during a slide show- perhaps he would be interested in family friendly bike paths?)

Ron Sifen is a former president of the Vinings Homeowners Association and the Cobb County Civic Coalition. I can find no website for his campaign. Update: Ron Sifen's website is, sadly it resizes some browsers. He has been corresponding with cyclists on the Cobb Cycling Yahoo Group. He was against the Columns ordinance.

I can find no information at all on James Royal, other than he has filed and is running.

There was a candidate forum for the 3 Republican candidates Friday evening- it looks like James Royal was not invited. Joe Thompson declined to participate, and Bob Ott and Ron Sifen squared off on Development along Johnson Ferry Road. Article here.

If you are interested in sending a message to Commissioner Thompson, perhaps you should support one of these other candidates. Bob Ott seems to have the best chance against Thompson. Cobb County tends to keep incumbents in office and Republican party does not take kindly to people challenging its old guard, but this is a chance to send a message.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Great Article On Who Pays For Roads

David Neiwart writing in the Seattle PI:

Indeed, most bicyclists in fact also own cars, so they're also paying the licensing fees and gas taxes as well. But by using their bikes in place of cars, the wear and tear (and subsequent maintenance costs) they inflict is exponentially less than that caused by cars and trucks.

A 1995 study titled "Whose Roads?" by cycling advocate Todd Litman laid all this out in detail. The study estimated that automobile users pay an average of 2.3 cents per mile in user fees, including fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, while they actually impose 6.5 cents per mile in road service costs. Who pays the difference? It's picked up by general taxes and property assessments. So while bicyclists pay an equal share of those taxes, they impose costs averaging only 0.2 cents per mile in road service costs.

The amount bicyclists overpay leaps out when you look at the costs of local roads, the roads cyclists use most. Litman found that only a third of the funds for their construction and maintenance comes from vehicle user charges; local property, income and sales taxes pay the rest. Automobile user fees contribute only about 1 cent per mile toward the costs of local roads but simultaneously impose costs more than six times that amount.

Read the entire article! Some great information to use against those folks who feel that cyclists don't belong on the road because they do not pay for them.

Only a third of construction and maintenance costs of local roads come from "vehicle user charges." Only a third!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Assault on Columns

From Sadlebred (Southeastern Cycling) and the Cobb County Police:

Columns Dr. From the Cobb County Police: "PENS Alert Aggravated Assault (05/17/07 @ 1130 hours in Zone 3) The Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit is investigating an aggravated assault on Columns Drive in Marietta, Georgia.

According to investigators, the white male victim was jogging along Columns Drive when he got into a short verbal dispute with the black male suspect. The victim continued on his way and was later confronted by the suspect in a blue/green pick up truck. The suspect got out of his vehicle and ordered the man to apologize. The suspect then produced a handgun and fired a shot at the victim as he ran away. As the victim got the tag number off the truck, the suspect tried to run him over. The suspect fled the area before responding officers arrived. Suspect: Black male, light complexion, 6’00”- 6’03” tall, muscular build, close cropped hair, and armed with a stainless steel semi-automatic handgun.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit at (770) 499-3945."