Mass transit and Sen. Delph: another bump

Dateline: Tue 02 Apr 2013

Thanks to those of you who chimed in on the subject of mass transit re: the post "Vision of the Anointed."

Thanks to varangianguard and Tom Greenacres for serving as editors and trying to help me find the right word to describe the tone of the lawyer who addressed St. Thomas Aquinas parish members during a recent 10:30 a.m. Mass on the subject of mass transit. 

I incorrectly used the word "exonerate," which is neither here nor there -- "to relieve of responsibility" was not what I meant. Excoriate is closer to what I was going for, but in truth it's too strong: "to tear or wear the flesh off. To abrade."

Let's say we were exhorted -- "urged, advised" and in fact "admonished" to support mass transit, or risk the label of being socially unjust.

In keeping with this theme, please read Paul Ogden (Ogden on Politics) today; he attended last night's meeting of IndyCAN with state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, at Pilgrim Lutheran Church of Carmel, 3650 W. 106th St.

Here is the link to Ogden's blog:

http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/

Ogden reports that Delph, who has been "a skeptic of mass transit," nevertheless attended in good faith; as a Christian, he is open to "IndyCAN's message that religious faith is a reason to support the mass transit expansion. 

"(But) What Senator Delph may have learned tonight is that there are people out there who are more than willing to misuse their religious faith and their leadership positions in churches to advance their pet political causes by falsely claiming those causes have to do with 'social justice.'"

More from Ogden:

"Senator Delph was led to believe that the meeting with IndyCAN would be an informational meeting, an opportunity to learn each other's positions.  IndyCAN clearly had no intention of being involved in that type of meeting.  It packed the hall with its supporters and invited the media.  Then it proceeded with a tightly scripted agenda to make sure only one side of the issue was presented."

And:

"Pastor Ronald Covington of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church said the Delph meeting was about having a 'conversation' on mass transit. What would soon become clear was that the last thing IndyCAN wanted at the meeting was a conversation in which both sides would be heard. 

"Pastor Covington's prayer prominently featured a plea that God support mass transit.  I actually expected he would pray that God convince Senator Delph to support the mass transit bill."

Delph, in effect, was given 5 minutes to speak and then subjected to canned questions from the audience. Here's Ogden's conclusion:

"This dry accounting of the meeting doesn't begin to capture what it was actually like.  The conduct of many of the IndyCAN members was utterly reprehensible and very unchristian.  They were bullies who were not in the slightest bit interested in an honest exchange of ideas.  Those who put on the meeting were especially at fault for the dishonest way in which they ran it.  They weren't interested in a meeting in which both sides got heard. They had put on the meeting to set up Senator Delph, to put him in a position, in front of a room full of people with the media present in which he would feel so much pressure he'd pledge to support the mass transit bill.  What a thoroughly disgusting tactic.  Members of IndyCAN should be ashamed of what people on behalf of their organization tried to pull Monday night.

"While the IndyCAN representatives embarrassed themselves with their conduct, Senator Delph proved himself to be a class individual.  He handled the unfortunate situation he was placed in with grace, dignity, and tolerance, the very embodiment of the Christian qualities that so many members of IndyCAN obviously lack."

Also, to answer blog reader John M's legitimate concerns about how much I actually ride the IndyGo bus: not often. I used to, when I worked, and lived off Hoover Road, but standing 45 minutes in a cold spring rain waiting for a bus that never came pretty much did me in. Guy (husband) rides the bus sometimes when he grades test papers at McGraw Hill on the Northwestside. He has to take the bus downtown and transfer there to come back up north to Butler-Tarkington. What is a 20 minute or less ride in the car takes more than an hour on the bus. It is also Guy who experienced urine on the seat of the bus, but that was an isolated incident. 

I agree that this city needs and deserves a better, expanded, more efficient bus system. I'd love for the community to have a conversation about that. Unfortunately, the transit zealots have hijacked this issue, with light rail thrown in, and the result is a lot of rhetoric and shameless rah-rah in the Indianapolis Star, and not just on the editorial pages. It is embarrassing. 

Finally, check out Anderson Cooper's CNN report on the boondoggle that mass transit has become in other states, with thanks to Gary Welsh/Advance Indiana for first publishing this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBm0jg6QM90

Comments

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Unfortunately, the current trend is being/becoming a great city is to check off as many "bucket list" items made up by some for-profit urban "experts". For example, if you want to be a great city you must have a pro sports franchise (and hold onto it at all costs).

In this case, the bucket list entry is mass transit, which isn't some monolithic concept in reality.

For some cities, density and rights-of-way might allow for a successful deployment of some kind of fixed rail system (might). For other cities, like Indy, flexibility and distance might infer a need to stick to non-fixed transit assets, especially when such assets might need to be redeployed upon short notice in response to changing demand or demographics.

For my part, the discussion in Indy isn't even addressing the right questions. We should be using transit to make travel available between domicile and employment nodes for those who have difficulty with more traditional modes of travel (automobile), or for those who like living in the city and want to be able to choose alternative forms of transportation. We don't need to make it easier for people in Noblesville to ride downtown just because a rail right-of-way exists between those points. What we need to encourage is how to make it possible, reliable and dependable to get from east to west, and north to south within the densest parts of the city, with a minimum of time-wasting hub-and-spoke routes.
Nobody wants to stand out in the rain, just to have the single hourly bus a no-show. Nobody needs to be able to ride downtown from Hamilton County. If anything, the discussion should be on how to get potential employees from the central city out to where the market might actually have employment for them. The whole thing is backwards.

Until the discussion gets beyond pie-in-the-sky ideals, or "how to let my political supporters take the most monies from the public till", transit is doomed to mediocrity in Indy. And, I'm not holding my breath for it to change.

2013-04-02 11:06:22

hendy [Member] said:

You guys may have gotten your wish: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130402/NEWS05/304020036/Central-Indiana-mass-transit-bill-finds-roadblock-Senate-committee as it looks like the bill is being derailed.

FWIW, the earnest thoughts of present company notwithstanding, Indy needs this bill, needs a meteoric increase in public transportation, and needs you to become freed as the slaves of the oil companies, the car companies, and get some effing exercise in the process.

2013-04-02 11:40:42

Paul K. Ogden [unverified] said:

Varan writes one of the best things I've ever seen on Indianapolis mass transit.

As far as Hendy goes, I wasn't aware that riding a bus is "exercise."

2013-04-02 12:00:49

hendy [Member] said:

More exercise than getting into your car. You have to walk more then ten paces to get somewhere.

I double dog dare you to just give up your car for a week-- seven days-- and live like those that need public transportation.

Enjoy. You'll have saved a lot of fuel and your calves will look sexier.

2013-04-02 16:41:05

indykent [unverified] said:

I too am in agreement with Varan. I was very much in favor of mass transit especially the light-rail as I would benefit due to the old Nickel Plate tracks literally two blocks from my house. Love the State Fair train every August, but I digress.

I have come to realize that this should be a buses only deal. And I am still not sure that extra buses will succeed.

I have also been quite "put off" by all of the "cheerleading" done by the Indy Star. Indianapolis is just not that "dense" enough to validate the extra expense. It is still way to easy to get downtown or across town. And the general public has yet to have a reason to give up their cars.

2013-04-02 19:48:31

indykent [unverified] said:

I too am in agreement with Varan. I was very much in favor of mass transit especially the light-rail as I would benefit due to the old Nickel Plate tracks literally two blocks from my house. Love the State Fair train every August, but I digress.

I have come to realize that this should be a buses only deal. And I am still not sure that extra buses will succeed.

I have also been quite "put off" by all of the "cheerleading" done by the Indy Star. Indianapolis is just not that "dense" enough to validate the extra expense. It is still way to easy to get downtown or across town. And the general public has yet to have a reason to give up their cars.

2013-04-02 19:48:31

jerry [unverified] said:

I am a former resident of the Indianapolis area and was once involved in state and local government and politics. I am a recovering Republican, but am still interested greatly in the public affairs of the area, Like many of the commenters, I am very disappointed in the PR campaign that has been launched by the powers that be, as well as by the pathetic cheerleading efforts of the Star. Clearly both institutions have lost their way. I do hope that some expansion of the bus system regionally does take place, but the current proposal with the light rail will be a fiscal boondoggle for decades and decades. When you can still park downtown for $2.00 in the heart of the city (circle center) as I did on a recent trip, there is no way that area residents will abandon their cars.

As to the so called religious leaders and their behavior towards Mike Delph, that too is disappointing. But I have to ask myself if part of their behavior is due to Delph himself (as well as what the GOP has become) -- racist, sexist, anti science, and just plain awful. I wonder if Delph's stupid immigration circus show (now overturned by the courts twice) and his moral side show (and that of most of the GOP these days) has reached critical mass. I too would be rude to Mike Delph (and most of the idiot Republicans that are in the legislature these days.....yes it appears to be rudness on the part of the clergy, but Delph needs to look in the mirror. It is not a pretty picture.

2013-04-02 21:35:33

Paul K. Ogden [unverified] said:

Hendy, you just assume that people who are against this mass transit boondoggle must think our our bus system isadequate. Obviously it's not. It's poorly designed to say the least Varan points that out in detail.

The problem is that your proof doesn't justify the "solution" of raising local taxes by 19% for a massive expansion of mass transit including very expensive light rail. We're talking a "solution" that includes an unelected, unaccountable board making decisions about how millions of our tax dollars will be spent.

Wouldn't it make more sense to figure out how to make the system work in a city, a city with the challenge of very light population density, instead of just throwing a bunch of money at the problem? You know that money will just end up in the pocket of the pay-to-play crowd that feasts on corporate welfare.

2013-04-02 23:35:42

hendy [Member] said:

I'm not a fan of the sponsors. I have no love of either the Indpls Newspapers or of the bill's sponsor. It seems to have been derailed for now.

But Hoosiers have become a bunch of pikers, unwilling to invest in infrastructure. The fixed-incomers all look at their meager retirement paychecks and NYET anything that doesn't seem to suit them in the form of tax increases of any kind.

This miserly, not-my-problem thinking permeates and perpetuates a long-term problem: economic slavery to energy sources, inability to achieve real economic growth-- ahead of the nearby competition that's been investing in public transportation all-along, not just playing catch-up. Like the sewers in this city, the bills are coming due for decades of low taxes.

You can also analogize the "clean coal" you're burning at IPL. IPL's KW/hr rates are inexpensive, and envious, until you look at how the eastern half of Kentucky is getting a significant portion of its hillsides raped for their coal, then burned by the generators in Petersburg, Martinsville, etc., in a nice and healthy contribution to the global weather change mess-- not to mention Advantis' steam generation pollution problems.

Just look away. The problem will go away. Your wallet will be safe. Carry on. It can become someone else's problem. Except that civics and civility that form stable governments require every citizen's responsible participation, not just long term denial that problems exist.

2013-04-03 06:38:56

Gene [unverified] said:

I've seen this idea in multiple places recently, and consider it to be well-coordinated BS:

"But Hoosiers have become a bunch of pikers, unwilling to invest in infrastructure. The fixed-incomers all look at their meager retirement paychecks and NYET anything that doesn't seem to suit them in the form of tax increases of any kind."

Hoosiers in Indy approved an income tax increase that was supposed to put cops on the streets, but there's fewer cops now than before because the City gave all their money to the Simons and to real estate developers. Hoosiers in central Indiana approved a tax increase to build the Colts a new stadium. A generation ago the sales tax was 2%, now it's 7%.

Every new tax increase has been blown on some idiotic crony/statist bushwa. Thus the skepticism. But you realize this.

I'd be happy to subsidize travel for poor people to get to work. I don't want to pay more taxes to build rail service from downtown to the wealthy white enclave of Zionsville, which is one of the 4 rail systems the transit fans plan to create. I don't want to pay so bus drivers can average $65,000 a year in salaries and benefits, like Metro drivers do now.

I'm willing to pay so the poor, who are mostly people of color inside 465, can get to work and the doctor, and this somehow makes me racist. That's ironic b*llsh*t.

2013-04-03 15:07:09

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I live in a donut county that is paying taxes for Jim Irsay Memorial Football Stadium. I pay them, too.

But I can't go to JIMFS unless someone drives me because I am extremely physically disabled. Not many people are interested in doing this.

So, how do I get to Indianapolis? Used to be a bus that went from here to downtown Indy. I used to ride it a lot back in the '70s. But it's long gone.

If someone could get me to Indy by light rail or heavy rail or carrier pigeon, that would be a good thing for me.

I am just a poor man though my story's seldom told.

2013-04-03 20:25:02

hendy [Member] said:

Gene, nothing coordinates my BS. I'm a free BS thinker. Today I'm in Chicagoland, which is connected from Gary to almost Wisconsin by various transportation systems that are well known, and populated by actual white people. The freeways are really clogged here, too, and people actually battle traffic as in warfare.

I know some bus drivers that want the job you describe. There are the IndyGo people that help the handicapped around the city, and they are saints. My brother takes some of those buses, along with others.

I don't think you're a racist at all. I think that you can't think outside of your own box, and consider the bigger picture of how you go each week to the gas pump. Then you pay the lease or payment on your car. Then the insurance. Then the plates. Then the maintenance, and you are a lucky man. There are those that can't afford it, for one reason and another. There are those that can afford it, but shouldn't.

This area, Central Indiana, was a great mass transportation center in the 20s-50s. Then it was designed around the auto. Turns out, it was bait. After the trolleys and interurbans went, the Pullman cars, it all became car or air. A few interurban buses still operate. We have freeways that are taxpayer subsidized so that those very same taxpayers can pay the above-described expenses to go on those freeways they paid for, burning fuel, paying the expenses.

If we don't lay the infrastructure now, it'll be like the over-paid costs for the southern extension of I-69 all over again. And in 2113, we'll repeat the same stupid problem all over again. We need the investment. We don't need Pence rebating stuff to become "popular". Cutting taxes appeals to the most banal complaint about civics and governance: it's cost. Ayn Rand wasn't a saint: she was a sociopath, IMHO.

2013-04-04 22:55:11

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