Letters to the Editor

Bad ideology

August 7, 2008

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To the editor:

The City Commission majority is on track to abolish both T and T-lift with a clever triple whammy while deflecting ostensible responsibility onto voters. First, the T was singled out for a do-or-die sales tax referendum during a recession. Second, even if the referendum passes there won't be enough money to maintain the system next year. Third, the uncertainty will prevent the planned association with KU on Wheels.

While I dislike both the goal and the approach, it's within traditional standards for American hardball politics. Yet the rest of the country is responding to gasoline prices and global warming by ramping up public transit. A poll in March reported a majority of Lawrencians supporting the T. The interesting question is, why are these commissioners being so retrograde?

There is the matter of personal experience. No commissioner who opposes the T is poor or handicapped or underaged or otherwise dependent on the T. But that's hardly a complete explanation. A majority of Lawrencians support the T without using it. Ideological motives must be at stake.

For example, the commission majority was elected while accepting substantial funds from real estate development interests - funds presumably donated because the commissioners' ideologies supported those interests. Lawrence developers make most of their money by building sprawling auto-dependent suburban landscapes that resist mass transit. Developers are a natural enemy of transit.

I'm not attacking the commissioners for accepting ideologically charged money. That's basic to American politics. I'm attacking them for having a bad ideology.

(Disclosure of interest: I sometimes ride the T-lift.)

David Burress,

Lawrence

Comments

cato_the_elder 6 years, 10 months ago

There's something about this letter writer's style that is familiar.

mom_of_three 6 years, 10 months ago

Because some of those who use the T aren't old enough to vote. While their parents may vote to keep it, their vote or two votes will not represent the number of teenagers in the house who use it responsibly to get around Lawrence. I have never rode the T, but my kids use it all the time for the library and to school. It's a great service which wouldn't be missed by some until they needed it.

BigPrune 6 years, 10 months ago

If Lawrence voters pass the sales tax then Lawrence wants the T.By the way LTE writer, Lawrence has been in a recession going on 7 years now. Don't blame the national economy on our local woes because of the self centered policies of our City government that started with the PLC commissioners.

not_dolph 6 years, 10 months ago

Is Metta just a new identity for Cool / Spiderman? You be the judge. Multiple posts. Youtube links. OCD. See - http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jul/31/firm_pays_fine_lack_certificate/#comments

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

BP you are right, Lawrence has been in a downward spiral for a while now. I am a lifelong Lawrencian and have seen many, many things get all mucked up. Moocher you are right, people have their priorities that are different from other people's (regarding the girlfriend remark and you are probably right). Growing up poor guess I just want to see people that are trying not to get knocked down and quit trying. Luckily my mom was/is an extremely strong woman and instilled that in her kids and we all came out o.k. and much better off than our childhood.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

I am not quite sure why you don't get my point... I only want to help those that are working, not the bums, not the lazy, not the drunken druggies. I want to help people that are working at jobs. Maybe their car broke down and can't afford to fix it, whatever reason they need to take the bus. As long as they are going to a job or shoot let's get wild and say they are even job hunting after being laid off as millions of Americans are these days. It's all good though, we will all vote how we want. Maybe it will pass, maybe it won't. My hope is that we can find a resolution that works for all without everyone going broke.

jonas 6 years, 10 months ago

Anonymous userLarry_The_Moocher (Anonymous) says:"Solve the problem: quit supporting those who dont support themselves: Things will then get kinda easy!"What happens when those people turn to theft and violent coercion to not starve? Do you feel that they will just die peacefully if we explain to them that they've done nothing to support themselves?"If they dont want to work: then we might consider providing another city the opportunity to pay their bills? What a novel idea. Any questions?"Sure, how is it going to be practically implemented?

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

O.k. bowhunter so say it doesn't pass, then people aren't going to get to work, then you can complain because our tax money is paying for them to sit at home and be nonproductive citizens. Great resolution. Still waiting...

dandelion 6 years, 10 months ago

Ragingbear (Anonymous) says:You know, alot of poor people are going to be affected by this. I wonder what the ACLU would have to say:I'm not sure the ACLU would have much to say about this, unless there was a violation of their constitutional rights. That is the purpose of the ACLU (see link below). Of course an argument could be made that without the T, poor people's rights to make a living had been violated, but it would probably be a stretch. A lot of people don't understand the purpose of the ACLU at all.http://www.aclu.org/about/index.html

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

Dan Boyle, Boyle and Associates had conducted a comprehensive analysis of the "T" route and the "KU on Wheels" route in terms of ridership and productivity. They constructed a public outreach effort to be transparent and talk to as many groups as they could to get input and to make sure everyone knew what everyone else was saying. He said they held a series of meetings and met with City Staff, KU Staff, the students who operated KU on Wheels system, the Vice Provost and Provost at KU, bus operators and a group of riders, and heard an awful lot. He said their job was to try and tie it all that information together. He said they also conducted surveys of "T" and "KU on Wheels" riders. He said in analyzing the "T" rider survey, one of the questions asked was, "Why are you using the bus today?" He said 47% were going to work using the "T"; 18% were going to school, some probably to KU, but most to the junior and senior high schools in the city. He said that was almost 2/3 of the riders using the "T" either to get to work or school which was important information to know. He said they also asked people to rate various elements of service and the overall rating for the "T" on a scale of 1 5 was 4.22. He said he had done surveys around the country and had not seen a rating that high. The riders were clearly pleased with the service. The items rated highest were operator courtesy, safety on the busses, and safety at the bus stops.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

" I don't believe in censorship."Except for Sven, right, svengalli?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

"then you can complain because our tax money is paying for them to sit at home and be nonproductive citizens."No, he'll complain that he doesn't like having to pay for (one of the many) new homeless shelters in his neighborhood.

sdinges 6 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I support the T in principal, but will be voting no to a new sales tax. I suspect many people who "support" but don't rely on the T will do the same.The city commission hasn't done anything to demonstrate that they're going to suddenly start managing the T in a responsible way. Their first response to any problem is "Oh well, more taxes will fix it."They did not offer a new tax in conjunction with trimming or adjusting routes, raising the fare, or a plan to make it accessible and convenient for new users. There's some vague idea that maybe it'll merge with KU's system, and students will ride for free (does this involve a new student fee to help subsidize it?).Thanks, but no thanks.I'll be sorry to see the T go, but I'm not interested in excusing bad planning with new taxes.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Another thought, what about Eagle Bend, we the taxpayers subsidize that, yet only a few, very few people use that facility. I don't hear much arguement about supporting that total waste of money and water resources. Oh and still waiting....

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Logicsound your name absolutely fits! Great post!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

Larry the Moocher-- your posts are really pretty disgusting. Don't like the "T?" No problem-- do just like Larry and disparage every person who might use it, or need to use it, with every negative talking point you've memorized from the wingnut echo chamber.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 10 months ago

"Bad ideology"Hey, if it weren't for bad ideology, I'd have no ideology at all.

JayCat_67 6 years, 10 months ago

The problem with people like you, Agnostick, is that you're just not entertaining enough. You see, the best posts here are those that go..."Blah, blah, blah LIBERAL SOCIALIST MARXIST blah, blah...blah, blah blah!"followed by."Oh yeah!? well blah blah blah blah you RIGHT-WING FASCIST NAZI BIGOT! blah blah blah!"See how much more exciting that is? And you can apply it anywhere. Maybe we should try it out on that clown story.Seriously though, (to everyone now) obviously, the issue is up for a vote, so if you're eligible and you care about it one way or the other, get off your butt and vote; otherwise, quitcher [complaining].

Tony Kisner 6 years, 10 months ago

LTE - "A poll in March reported a majority of Lawrencians supporting the T."No problem when those same Lawrencians go to the polls to vote they can vote yes for the tax. Is there a problem with people choosing if they want a service and how they are to pay for it?

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh and I am still waiting on alternative solutions to the T...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

This is really pretty simple-- The "T" was originally approved by a Chambercrat-dominated City Commission. They didn't really want it, but there was a very effective campaign by grassroots organizers who made it difficult to say no.So they approve it, thinking that at worst, it'd be a bone thrown to the rabble rousers that'd keep them quiet for awhile, and it'd make it easier for a few of the many poorly paid workers of Lawrence to get to their sh*tty jobs. Of course, they weren't really concerned with whether it'd be an effective system or not, so they just did it on the cheap, with predictable results.So here we are, eight years later. The city made a half-assed attempt at creating a workable public transit system, and we got a half-assed public transit system. Duh!! The only solution to that is to fund it adequately so that it can be done right. That means spending a few more pennies a day per resident-- not much, really. But in tight economic times, competition for those few pennies gets fierce, and this commission has a whole list of corporate welfare they want to fund. But they want to be "democratic" about it, so the "T," unlike any other city expenditure, gets put up for a vote before they give it the axe. And if the sales tax passes, public transit will still be underfunded, it'll still be inadequate to the task, so they'll have plenty of ammo to kill it off completely in another couple of years.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

What I would like to hear from the detractors of the T, what solution do you have for the people that use the T to get to work? You complain about people using welfare and your tax money for free, so they get a job. They barely can pay rent and survive, cannot afford a car, most of the poor live on the east side, but the jobs out east at the industrial park, or say they get the Mickey D's job and that can be as far as 31st and Iowa or 6th and Wak or 6th and Maine or 23rd street. Seriously, you want the T cut, but give us a solution to get these people to work, the doctor, hell even to the grocery store. Waiting....

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey northtown if I remember correctly you don't even pay taxes here any more and were so happy you moved. If I have you mixed up someone else, please disregard my first statement. Before the bus some of these people didn't work and still sucked tax money out of us. At least there is an option now and less of an excuse of not getting a job. I would rather help someone trying to help themselves than have them sitting at home doing nothing and I certainly don't like supporting a golf course so that a few people can play golf or developers continue to build housing that no one is going to live in.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

There are all kinds of city services that could be put up to a vote come November, but interestingly, only the "T" is getting that treatment, in an economy that is not favorable to tax initiatives of any sort. It likely doesn't matter if the infrastructure tax passes-- anything on that list that is "developer friendly" will likely get funded, anyway, probably with the money that used to go to public transit.How convenient.

Ragingbear 6 years, 10 months ago

Cheap Used car: $1500 after mechanics, taxes, etc. Insurance: $150yrWeek's supply of gas for that car :$45Income of somebody on a fixed income like Social Security:$600Interesting math. I guess if one gave up food, they could afford a car. But that would only be used to drive down to LINK several times a week.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

But Barry at least the ones that are working are trying to take care of themselves. I haven't had to use the police, EMS, or fire, yet I pay for that so that others can use them, nor do I use any of the Art Center stuff, yet I help pay for that, plus I help subsidize a golf course that a few people use. I would rather pay for a bus system that is helping people actually work than subsidize a few people's entertainment.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Well remember too Moocher it is not my problem that your house/car is on fire or you need a policeman for help, but taxes help pay for those services. And remember when you go out to eat and there is no one to give you service you voted to cut the T and so no one could get to work.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

Even if they vote yes the tax designated still will not be enough money to keep it going indefinitely. David Burress is right to believe this is a tool to make it appear that the citizens do not want or see a need for the T.If the T does not pay for itself why should developers ever receive another dime of assistance aka economic pollution from taxpayers considering a good deal of their projects are resulting in economic displacement due to over loading the retail market. In other words their projects which have been approved by city and county governmentare not generating enough tax revenue to pay their way which results in annual tax increases. Tax increases come in a variety of forms. Inflated propertyvalues,mil levy increases,increased user fees,tax abatements,tax rebates,Tax Increment Financing, subsidizing growth with water and sewer lines,expensive traffic intersections,repairing water main breaks and ignoring older streets/infrastructure which adds up sooner or later.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Moocher yeah another great resolution. It costs money to move and in this town it is about $1200, then you have higher rent to move closer to the central/south/or west side if they are working the mickey D job. If they work in the east industrial park, can't move any closer than Harper. And Mooch if they are working, they are paying their own bills, but if they can't get to work we are footing all their bills. So try again...At least some people are using their brains and coming up with some legitimate solutions. Changing routes, etc, what ever happened to KU and the T combining?

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Mooch that is my whole point, these people are working for crying out loud. If that is the only job they can get so what, they need to be able to get to work just like you and I. Or what if your car breaks down, you can get on the bus. I am not saying raising the sales tax is the answer, honestly I am torn about that as taxes are high enough, however the complainers sure aren't coming up with alternatives to help get people to their jobs. Again if they are not working, you are footing their total living expenses, at least if they are working you are only footing their transportation.

jonas 6 years, 10 months ago

northtown: My wife's in the same boat as yours, for the same cause. Shifts at LMH are ghastly. Larry: "They give free ticket to the vagrents so they can provide ridership for the tax payers to see thru tinted glass. These people also ride to the western part of the city and commit crimes."Lord, when you say things like this how are we supposed to take anything else you say seriously. How, pray tell, do you know this?

jonas 6 years, 10 months ago

"Do what we have to do to make the T more successful-raise rates to cover a larger percentage of operating costs, etc"A total revamp of the current route system and service would be much more effective at reducing costs. Keep the 6s, the 7 and the 8, make a better switchover to the 5, and you could cut probably make both 1/4s and 2/3s operate on one bus for each. Not much can be done with the paralift, I don't think, but if they were separate issues I imagine the votes for and against would change somewhat..

jonas 6 years, 10 months ago

Larry_The_Moocher (Anonymous) says:Jonas:"Ask anyone that knows anything about the drop in: The someone gives the vagrents free T tickets. I have been told this by two different homeless people"The someone? Before you made it sound like the company giving them away, and I know that's not true. This at least sounds more plausible. Now, I assume those homeless also told you that they go west to commit crimes? Did they say which crimes? I only ask because for breaking and entering or the like its really best to have dark, and the T stops at 8 so they'd have to plan ahead during at least half of the year. Awfully pro-active for the average drop-in person.

twaldaisy 6 years, 10 months ago

Okie dokie Mooch, but when you are complaining about homelessness and joblessness and these people need to get a job, I will be sure to remind you of this blog. I would like to state, even though we don't agree on everything said, that I have enjoyed actually discussing these things with you and it staying civil by both of us. ThanksP.S. I agree about the entitlements I just don't agree that riding the T to a job is an entitlement. Drunken druggies getting free rides...not so much.

paavopetie 6 years, 10 months ago

Even with gas prices the way they are, buying a cheap used car and minimum insurance is within the budget of most Lawrencians. The T doesn't make sense to anyone except a few who happen to live on direct routes. I'm sorry, but nobody, not even "poor" people, have time to ride all of the way around town for an hour to get to their destination when they can drive and be there in less than 15 minutes.The only consistent destination I've seen is the employer just east of town off of K-10.

Ragingbear 6 years, 10 months ago

You know, alot of poor people are going to be affected by this. I wonder what the ACLU would have to say...

monkeyhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Larry, how politically incorrect of you .... and refreshing. Thanks for telling it like it is. I think that is the only way to get it through thick, entitled skulls. Keep on keeping on.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

It is the voters who are poised to make the decision on the future of the T. This is a wonderful opportunity for our voices to be heard, despite the protests of the usual suspects. "Yet the rest of the country is responding to gasoline prices and global warming by ramping up public transit."I have heard reports that some cities are actually cutting routes in response to prices:"In US, gas prices mean more riders, fewer buses"http://www.kansascity.com/440/story/732743.htmlBut, in Lawrence we have fewer riders and they want more buses!"A majority of Lawrencians support the T without using it."If the LTE writer really believes that, why is he afraid of a vote??

Ragingbear 6 years, 9 months ago

We could do that free public bike thing that Denver does... But they would all end up at Yellow House.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

The "T" system needs to be designed differently - it should be run on a "grid" system, arranged so that one could take a bus along 9th St, for example, then switch to one on Iowa.We live near 9th and Iowa, and my wife works near 31st and Iowa - there is not even a bus that goes along Iowa for her to use.In order to use the bus system, she'd have to spend about 45 minutes instead of 10, and go away from her destination, wait 20 minutes for a transfer dowtown, then proceed.This makes no sense at all, from either an environmental or a time-management point of view.If the city were discussing a better design of the system, I'd be more inclined to support a tax increase, although I tend to think the $12million/month budget should be enough to cover basic city services.

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 9 months ago

My take on it, is that like most local government officials the city and county commissioners are idiots. Thank you, Lynn

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"Seriously, does walking or Biking count?"The answer is, "that depends." No one is capable of walking any and everywhere they need to go. Not even the ablest of people."Lawrence is really not that big, you could be anywhere in the 1.5 hour that it takes to get across town on the T just using your own two feet."So how often do you eschew your car in favor of a 1 1/2 hour hike across town (keeping in mind that that would require traversing large sections that are decidedly not pedestrian-friendly, possibly through intensely bad and even dangerous weather conditions?) And l as I stated above, not everyone is capable of walking those distances. Even if they were, the reason for a bus system is that most people can't spend 3 hours a day walking back and forth across town to meet every need they have. That's why we need a good bus system, which would mean it wouldn't take any more than 45 minutes one way for even the longest routes.Sure, it'd be great if everyone in the city could drive their own private car. But the ironic part of that wish is that those who wish it the most are by and large the staunchest proponents of laissez-faire capitalism, which pretty much ensures that a substantial percentage of the population will never be able to afford that. Seems like you'd want the lowest paid cogs in your machine to at least survive well enough to get to their sh*tty jobs every day so they could maintain your (dreams of?) wealth.

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 9 months ago

That may change soon for the county! Thank you, Lynn

trollpatrol 6 years, 9 months ago

Unlike most of the MT-headed T opponents, JAFS raised an valid question that deserves to be answered.The T definitely does not provide rapid and direct connections everywhere you might want to go. It is not laid out with an efficient grid system like what you see in New York City and elsewhere. That's because a grid system with any reasonable frequency of service would cost several times what the T costs.The T system routes can certainly be tweaked, but the routes are in fact well designed to meet the goals the T aims at, and at a reasonable price (a bit over 1% of the city budget).The goal is to provide transportation from nearly all residential districts of the city to and from all major business and commercial centers, with relatively better service in the areas with the most riders.If you want to get where you are going noticeably faster, and with less walking at each end, the city would need to up the ante to 2% of its budget.

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