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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Luddite Veto

Something I've had a chance to write a lot about lately is the subject of transit as a public good -- meaning it's a service delivered by the public, not private, sector of the economy.1 2

The public is highly familiar with the effects transit lines and stations have on land use and the community fabric. It is this public interest that has made transit a public good that is very much controlled at the local level.  Elected representatives and the agencies who work for them are responsible for planning, operating and maintaining our transit systems for all.

Transit is a highly visible and much discussed subject in our cities; transit attracts as much community attention as public safety, schools and property taxes.

Yet Ken Avidor does not respect the decisions that come out of these local processes. Correction -- he only respects local decisionmaking when it decides against personal rapid transit.

Such has been the central part of Ken Avidor's (possibly) decades-long anti-PRT strategy: meddle in other communities' affairs.3 This is the action of someone who doesn't respect or trust citizens' abilities to make their own decisions -- Ken Avidor, the world's worst 'expert' at anything, wants veto power over your transit decisions.

Tragic Waste of Taxpayers' Dollars on Gadgetbahn in Richmond, California

...The latest suckers to fall for the gadgetbahn flim-flam is Richmond, California:
The City Council will spend $20,000 to lobby for a federal transportation grant to help light-rail company CyberTran develop 13 ultralight rail stations throughout the city — a transit system, in the words of city leaders and CyberTran’s CEO, that would be clean, efficient, and create 20,000 jobs in the next decade.
And where is the $$$ going?
[City Councilman Dr. Jeff] Ritterman went to Washington D.C. with CyberTran’s team this July to lobby for the federal transportation funding. The $20,000 approved by the city Tuesday will go to the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which will seek infrastructure funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Surface Transportation Program.
See, when a city says Yes to PRT it's because their local planners and democratically elected leaders are suckers!

Three things here:

1. How does Ken think you get federal funds? I know, he doesn't know: he doesn't even know the difference between grants and earmarks. One of the ways you do it is you hire a firm with federal expertise; a partner in Manatt Phelps is Mickey Kantor (D) -- you know, Bill Clinton's (D) Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor. This makes Richmond's proposal stronger, and Ken hates that.

2. In the cosmic scheme of things, nothing is further from "tragic" than a city investment of $20,000 in an attempt to get 20,000 jobs. A reason Richmond is working with CyberTran (a frequent target of Avidor wrath) is that it is a local Richmond business. Ken, on the other hand, is a couple thousand miles away in Minnesota.

3. And who are the people Ken is calling "suckers"? Well, the bio of Councilman Jeff Ritterman (D) says, among other things, that he's a cardiologist, was a VISTA volunteer, and has organized and delivered medical supplies to victims of apartheid in South Africa and to refugees in Central America and Iraq. Ritterman is the one who introduced Richmond's resolution of solidarity with Wisconsin public employees. Wow Ken, you found a real villain lurking behind PRT!

Another example of a civic-minded progressive -- and a Democrat4 -- working for PRT. Ken Avidor keeps linking Michele Bachmann to PRT as though she invented it; but she has done zero for PRT in Congress. The last Republican to do anything federal for PRT was that liberal Nixon.

3. The other part of his strategy is Shaming Liberal Opinionmakers Who Dare Support or Report Favorably On PRT, like Debbie Cook (D). Recent examples include Josh Marshall, Al Gore's Current TV, and 350.org

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