That’s pretty much what our inquiries into longtime advocacy director David Hiller’s future at Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club have yielded.
Does Chuck Ayers’ abruptly announced departure affect Hiller?
In press statements, Ayers made several pointed references to advocacy and grass-roots activism, hinting that the “new” Cascade would back off its roll-up-the-shirtsleeves approach to political organizing.
Club board members vehemently deny that’s the case. At the same time, they make it clear that the club will be taking a more professional, corporate approach to cycling issues in political, financial and civic circles.
Hiller did not respond to an email inquiry. A board member told us, “We just can’t get into that.”
When you ask a simple yes-or-no question and the room goes dark, you have to suspect something’s up.
Hiller’s departure, or even shift to a different position, would mark a giant change for Cascade. Moreso than Ayers, Hiller is the face of Cascade to the community at large.
A tireless lobbyist, Hiller has worked hard the past two years to get vulnerable-user (cyclist and pedestrian) legislation passed. Last year he was a key figure in the successful election campaign of now Mayor Mike McGinn.
Hiller has been in the forefront of Burke-Gilman Trail, bike lane and “road diet” campaigns. He’s the first person the press turns to for a quote on bike issues. And for good reason — we can’t recall him ever saying “no comment.” Till now, at least.
If Hiller were to leave Cascade, we doubt he would fade into the woodwork. It may be that David will join McGinn’s staff or find a lobbying position with a different bike organization. In any case, we suspect the name David Hiller will remain synonymous with bike advocacy for some time to come.