10 June 2011

Things are Bad

Here's a link. I can't seem to get the image to download.

Go ahead, look now. They call it a "Special Operations Response Unit", but I call it a SWAT team. For the City of Houston Bus Service.

Lemme give you some background. I'm blind in one eye. I could drive, but it wouldn't be fair to all you victims of my lack of depth perception. My license to drive has not been revoked, but rather declined. This has led to lots of problems. Not the least of these is getting clerks to recognize a US Passport as valid photo ID.

But just getting around is the worst. I bicycle and use Houston's transit system. I've got a really nice bike - actually 3 of them. The Transit system, on the other hand, sucks.

I went to a "community workshop" thingie at Trinity Church this evening. Cunningly timed for 6p to 8p, Count 1 for Metro.

lt disenfranchised most Metro riders, who couldn't get the bus/train/horsedrawn trolley in time to get there after work. In a space usually used for wedding receptions, and big enough for a bandstand for, say, the Ramones, and space for perhaps 400 headbangers, Metro set up 30 easels with professional graphics (all of which were misleading, and many of which were demonstrably false), 1 interactive station, and one LCD projector for the mandatory Power Point presentation.

When the presentation started, I made a count of 16 citizens and 28 Metro employees. There was no question and answer period. Instead, the "meeting" was broken up into "discussion groups" (note that 2:1 ratio of paid flacks to citizens).

I had shown up (as a citizen/journalist, with the mandatory fedora and a list of questions in a little notebook, as well as a much larger notebook in which to write down responses. Well these fuckers cut ME off at the knees. No question and answer. No "with the history that Metro has of disregarding voter response dating back to 1983, and the flagrant moving of the proposed rail line from the voter-sanctioned Richmond Avenue route to the proposed Westpark route, do you have any reason to \expect the voters and taxpayers to trust you with their lunch money?"

Well, you can raise the question in the focus groups, which consist of you and 2 Metro flacks pulling down time-and-a-half for being there.

Here's another question: since the City charter dictates that agencies cannot use their own funds for advocacy, how do you justify something on the order of a million dollars per year on advertising in favor of rail bonds? (crickets chirp).

Here's another one: What about the cost overruns? The initial cost estimate for the piddling little Lionel train set from the Astrodome (where no-one lives or works) to Downtown (where no-one lives), and which stops running at 11 pm leaving the enhanced downtown workers stranded, was 300 million dollars, and came in under budget at roughly half a billion?

How about, how did y'all disregard carefully worded ballot resolution declaring that the newest rail line was to be run down Richmond and move it over by a mile or so to Westpark?"

A killer here: Why does the bus service have a SWAT team?

And last but not least, which one of you cocksuckers called in that damn Metro Police Nazi to follow me around? Don't deny it . I asked him. He told me that I was "an object of suspicion". Whatever that means.

So, in summary. Metro spent about 3800 bucks on bad signs, 15k in overtime, call the PP another grand, plus misc. In my mind it adds up to about $300 per person attending this Potemkin "Town Meeting"

No comments: