The New York Times has a long profile today of Cato’s Randal O’Toole, scourge of urban planners.
But O’Toole doesn’t fit the portrait of a corporate advocate. On visits to Capitol Hill, he blends in as a middle‐aged, middle‐height man in a dark suit — but his beard gives him away, its shaggy twists seemingly fitting for a forest dweller. He wears a string tie that most Americans would only recognize on Colonel Sanders. His lapel doesn’t carry the standard‐issue flag pin but a bronze bust of his dog, Chip. The Belgian tervuren won it in a dog show.
O’Toole routinely hikes and bikes dozens of miles, and he proudly announces that he has never driven a car to work. Far from living on a luxurious Virginia manor, he left his last Oregon town when it added a third stoplight.
Now, from his home computer in Camp Sherman, Ore., population 300, O’Toole rails against smart‐growth policies as money sponges that never calm traffic, fill seats on trains, or help the environment.
The story ends with Randal on his way to a conference in Las Vegas, which I also attended. There in the 80‐degree early morning heat, he biked 50 miles each morning, on a folding bicycle that he could fit into a suitcase — and still got back to the hotel in time to fix my Powerpoint before my speech. He’s a Renaissance man.