Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Propagandist lets loose with Cheney-like aim

The 2nd Podcar City Conference -- this time in Ithaca, New York -- has just concluded, which can mean only one thing: a Surge of anti-PRT propaganda from Kenthorpe Thermidor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist.

If you get Google Alerts on PRT you've no doubt laffed at Kennel Ration's frantic, scattershot antics in the LA Times, Treehugger and the Cornell Sun. Therefore I won't do a detailed recitation here of his lame smears. Instead, I'll interpret (term from my museum NGO days) some of his Talking Points where they touch on broad PRT-related issues.

Hints of Dark Forces
"Who are the 'generous sponsors' funding this Podcar Conference?" he asks, linking to a page with no sponsor names at the website of conference organizer Podcar.org, the Institute of Sustainable Transportation (IST). In another example of his habitual or intentionally poor research, the list of sponsors is on a different page. The names on the list is further evidence of how PRT's support does not come from Dark Forces. The non-PRT sponsors are:

  • SIKA, a think tank under the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications
  • Visit Ithaca, a tourism organization
  • Cornell University
  • Ithaca College Sustainability Program
  • Eco Village at Ithaca
  • Apricon, a Swedish project management firm
  • Chemung Canal Trust of Elmira NY
  • WNYY 1470AM Progressive Talk Radio
  • NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • Sustainable Tompkins
  • Alternatives credit union
  • C&S, a construction company with offices in seven states (four offices in New York)
  • Ithaca Carshare
  • Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, the Ithaca-area transit agency and a nonprofit company
Look at the number of progressive and/or environmental state and local organizations on the list! This is homegrown interest in PRT, not some outsider, top-down conspiracy -- which Kenwood claims when he alleges a shadowy "they" (unspecified) "were here in Minnesota four years ago." But IST was not in Minnesota in 2004; and Vectus PRT was not even on the map yet (POSCO didn't start it until 2005).

Rodiva also asks "Why are traditional transit organizations and professionals not participating?" -- well isn't TCAT, the Ithaca transit agency, 'traditional' enough for him?

Notice what group was not at the conference: the Discovery Institute. Fact: Discovery is trying to get Diesel Mobil Unit rail on King County's Eastside, which is a conventional rail technology!

"Ithaca Podcar Conference Charging Students $60," reads another Kenweed headline. Ignoring that it's a professional conference renting the Historic State Theater, so costs must be recouped. And it must have been OK since Cornell is a sponsor (see above); the $60 student price was a $30 discount.

Implications of corruption
Kenmore has had this in his toolbox for a while. He trial-ballooned it when he tried to tie Ed Anderson to a conman in the Cabintaxi era, and later tried to make PRT part of the Zimmermann bribery case, though PRT was never part of the case. This time he has locked onto progressive sustainability activist Jake Roberts. Roberts is the host of the Podcar Conference, and because he recently had to step down as executive director of the Ithaca Festival, Kenwood hinted there must be some PRT responsibility. Except that was a cheap and empty smear: I found out (by reading Ithaca news for 5 minutes) that PRT had nothing to do with the Festival's fiscal problems, and corruption isn't even at issue. The organization was simply overextended.

Selective attention"Debbie Cook does not appear at the Ithaca Podcar Conference," screams the headline at the Dump Mark Olson blog (motto: No one posts comments since I banned Mr_Grant and A Transportation Enthusiast). "Congressional candidate Debbie Cook will not appear at the Podcar Conference as the Podcar website claimed," writes the Louella Parsons of the Luddites, trying to claim the Conference is "a bust." While it is mildly disappointing Cook chose to appear by video, I am encouraged that she chose to stay home to campaign against Dana Rohrbacher and have a presence in Ithaca. It's the New Millennium -- Cook telecommuted.

And like we did above with the list of organizations, let's look at the prominent individuals who were at the conference:
  • Councilman Gus Ayer, California (D)
  • Councilman Ed Porter, California (GP)
  • Mayor Carolyn Peterson, Ithaca (D)
  • U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, New York (D-22)

Liberals! Progressives! They were all there, and one can only assume that Amnesidor simply forgot to mention Rep. Hinchey (who only sits on Appropriations). Because their participation is more evidence PRT is not a right wing plot -- that Talking Point is effectively dead*: Peterson is well-known as an environmentalist, and even declared a Grateful Dead Day for god sake.

Add to the list officials who are participating in PRT in some way, such as John Garamendi (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) -- the last two enthusiastic about Masdar -- and we can say that PRT-friendly liberals not only outnumber Michele Bachmann and Mark Olson (neither of whom were in attendance in Ithaca)...

We can also say the liberals are
more effective about PRT. When was the last time Bachmann or Olson did anything effective for PRT? Or even attend a PRT conference? Hinchey speaks of a new federal transportation bill that includes PRT -- why hasn't Bachmann done that? Why didn't the Resmuglicans propose PRT bills in all the years they controlled Congress?

Supporters are the ones who do things. Progressives, environmentalists and community-based groups are the ones who are organizing behind PRT, who are doing.

*Although that doesn't mean it won't rise again, zombie-like

Tick-tock, Ken Avidor. Tick-tock.


eflink said...

Any clue to when the proceedings of the conference might make it up onto the web? Last year's business was very enlightening.

Mr_Grant said...

They were very quick with the proceedings of the first conference. Keep checking podcar.org/ithacaconference/index.htm