Just when you think Republican candidates can't say anything more buffoonish along comes Dan Maes, a Tea Party candidate running in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Colorado, who told a crowd of 50 Tea Party loons at a July 26th rally in Centennial, Colorado that a bike-sharing program advocated by John Hickenlooper, the current Mayor of Denver and the Democratic candidate for Governor, would lead to United Nations control of Denver and that such a program threatens the freedom of Americans.
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told the lunatic fringe. “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms."
"These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor," Maes added as his audience foamed at the mouth. "These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
The UN program to which Maes is referring is the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an association with more than 1,200 cities as members, half of which are in the United States. Denver became a member in 1992. The ICLEI helps communities design and implement sustainable living practices such as Denver's bike sharing program.
The B-Cycle biking sharing program places a network of about 400 red bikes for rent at stations around the city. It is funded by private donors, such as the HMO Kaiser Permanente, and from grants. Additional revenue comes from memberships and transaction fees. The program was launched in April and it is the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing program.
World-wide more than 50 cities have biking sharing programs. In North America, both Montreal and Mexico City have had successful biking-sharing programs up and running for over a year. And just last week Chicago started up its program which is modeled after the Paris program. Each bike comes with a lock, lights and brakes. The first hour is free and each additional half-hour is $2.50 for members, $10 for nonmembers. So far, there are 100 bikes and six locations. Minneapolis and Philadelphia are other cities with bike-sharing programs.
The Denver Post followed up with more extended interview in which Dan Maes, now the front-running candidate in the GOP primary, doubled down on his John Birch Society views.
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty," Maes said.
He said he's worried for Denver because "Mayor Hickenlooper is one of the greatest fans of this program."
"Some would argue this document that mayors have signed is contradictory to our own Constitution," Maes said.
I'd like to think that lunacy that now reigns supreme in the GOP is unsustainable but I suspect before long another of these paranoid, conspiratorial-minded Tea Party loons will open his or her mouth and offer something even more outlandish and buffoonish.