WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
July 2nd, 2009 By Jaleen Francois | News | Posted In: Public Transit, NAACP, 2009 Election

'Choo-Choo Trains' and Hidden Motives

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The COAST/NAACP anti-streetcar petition crew is causing all sorts of debauchery and grabbing headlines for its attempt to garner support for a sweeping, all-inclusive anti-rail ballot initiative. And it is exhausting.

My favorite comments on the issue have already been posted on the Cincinnatians for Progress blog and re-posted at least once (at CincinnatiBeacon.com), but I think it’s so significant that I’d like to put it here at CityBeat, too. This is an excerpt from the unabridged Enquirer editorial by Dan Mooney with Cincinnatians for Progress:

“One thing particularly dangerous about a ‘referendum,’ as opposed to a race for mayor or City Council, is the amount and source of cash that can be spent to persuade the public to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Candidates for council or mayor have strict contribution limits, and can only accept money from individual contributors or duly registered political action committees.

“But if Cincinnatians vote on whether to joint the (Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland) high-speed connection, corporate power brokers can write unlimited checks. Watch what happens this November when proponents and opponents of casino gambling start buying millions of dollars of television time. The ‘message’ voters hear is not always what motivates these big donors. Casino ‘opponents’ will warn about the potential harm of gambling to our community’s social fabric, in ads paid for by casino operators from across the Indiana border who just don’t want more competition. The same motives will drive any passenger rail referendum in Cincinnati. Would oil companies or car manufacturers write big checks to prevent Cincinnatians from leaving their cars at home and take a train to work, Columbus or Chicago? Would Delta want to keep people flying rather than taking a train to Chicago or Cleveland? You betcha.”

This is so critical to understand as this petition storm kicks up and the players seem so conspicuously strange.

Why is the NAACP so invested in this petition? What does blocking rail-centered transportation alternatives have to do with the “Advancement of Colored People?” Who really are the people behind COAST, and what things do they own that they need to protect against rail transportation?

The answers, of course, may be benign and entirely non-scandalous — but it's warranted (and good form, really) to inquire about such things.

The rhetoric swirling around this petition and the streetcar debate is pretty ridiculous.

The other day, COAST pointed out that the proposed streetcar route goes through census tract No. 16, or “The Worst Neighborhood in the Country." They then go on to explain, “Sheriff Leis even went out of his way to send special patrols there to augment city forces two years ago. Those patrols were widely praised at the time for a significant reduction in crime. The study range, incidently (sic), encompasses the patrol period, which leaves one wondering how much worse it was beforehand. But then again, it's hard to beat No. 1. Clearly we have a long way to go.”

Heaps of academic research and real-life case studies in other cities show us that more traffic and life on a street leads to a reduction in crime, and streetcars are redevelopment projects as much as they are transportation projects that will encourage fixing up and investing in the real estate there.

So, I’m pretty sure this explanation doesn’t accurately articulate their objection. And if Christopher Smitherman calls the streetcar project a “choo-choo train” one more time, I’m going to freak out.

What’s really going on?

 
 
07.02.2009 at 02:23 Reply
http://thephonyconey.blogspot.com/2009/05/dude-wheres-my-streetcar.html

 

07.03.2009 at 12:18 Reply
Referendums aren’t “dangerous”, it is used in places like Switzerland. And OTR isn’t as dangerous as that report claims. It’s a shame to see fear tactics being used by both sides. Can CFP and Mr. Mooney please provide an example of the oil companies, car manufacturers and Delta opposing a streetcar ever or rail in the past 30 years? There aren’t “strict limits” on contributions for Mayoral and council candidates. David Pepper received $1.2 million in his bid for Mayor. Party’s can give a candidate $10,000, PACs can give $2,700 and Individuals can give to as many PACS as one chooses. The corporate power brokers tend to have all the politicians on their side because they are the political donor class that makes or breaks political careers. They spent over $1 million to push the jail tax and were beat by a grass root campaign that spent a couple of thousand dollars. Chaos and danger did not ensue.

 

07.05.2009 at 03:41 Reply
Much is implied about the NAACP's support of putting the choo choo train issue on the ballot. This article asks for an explanation and I will offer what I see as the most obvious: Consider siblings who will enjoy the benefits of a family inheritance and one of the siblings is dipping into the inheritance to fund hair-brained get-rich schemes. The other siblings will often join to stop the drain. This is not unlike the situation in Cincinnati, which had limited funds available. If the city throws its resources away on a silly project , it will have less to fund needed social projects, which disproportionally serve the poor. The NAACP is doing as they should be by serving the poor, who are disproportionally colored people. Is that so hard to understand?

 

 
 
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