The vision of the anointed

Dateline: Wed 20 Mar 2013

The Indiana Senate is set to vote today on a bill that would allow a voter referendum for mass transit in Hamilton and Marion Counties, but it now appears support for even that tepid a measure is eroding.

The latest breakdowns are reported in the Indianapolis Business Journal (March 19) and today's Indianapolis Star: first, the powerful and thoughtful Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) is withdrawing his name from sponsorship of the bill (thanks to Gary Welsh at Advanc Indiana for writing about this, too); secondly, the tea party has come out squarely against the bill.


Too much, too soon? Too rah-rah an approach, without much (or any) analysis? More public relations campaign than thoughtful strategy? To say nothing of the cost ($1.3 billion).

All the above.

My evolving view is based in part on the fact that some of us Catholics are getting bombarded with mass transit as the issue du jour. Petitions float around for us to sign before or after Mass, and we are urged to attend meetings of IndyCAN (Congregation Action Network, with its umbrella group based in California ---- yeah, go figure).

Then there's what happened this past weekend at mine very own St. Thomas Aquinas: a young lawyer got up towards the end of the Sunday mid-morning Mass and exonerated us for 10 minutes or so to call Sen. Scott Schneider, who represents our district, and tell hm to get on board and support the bill (the Carmel Republican has refused to meet with proponents about the issue. Obviously, he's opposed).

The lawyer, who incidentally formerly lived in California, is a member of IndyCAN, which pushes both immigration and mass transit issues. That's all fine and good, but some of us like to do our own research before hopping on the latest, fastest-moving bandwagon. A little space, please, and reason.

After the lawyer's emotional appeal, the priest later explained to me that the lawyer's talk was appropriate because the Catholic Conference (lobbying group) and Indiana bishops are backing the bill. Hmm. But the lawyer never explained that, although it's good to know the bishops are gung-ho; now, maybe they'll be willing to fork over the $1.3 billion it will cost to mount this baby. No, wait, that would be the government and the taxpayers. The church is too busy paying other bills.

The bishops, (some) Catholics in the pews and other people of faith are aboard this train because, as two of my friends explained in knee-jerk response, "It's for the's a social justice issue."

OK, an improved bus system may indeed benefit the lower income and poor in our community, but some of us are still trying to figure out how light rail from Carmel or Noblesville is going to make life better. And as for the bus system, it's already highly subsidized. 

Incidentally, the Indianapolis Star has been the biggest whore in town -- much bigger than the church -- in its blow-job mentality towards this issue. There were months when columnist Erika Smith could write of nothing else; the paper made a total fool of itself. But my personal fave was Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who yesterday came out grandstanding in favor of mass transit because he says it will cut down on crime. Yeah, dude should ride the Northside buses when the rowdy teens get on and terrorize the old folks, or when somebody leaves a big pool of urine on one of the seats. Mass transit may actually increase crime: herd all the sheep into one car, and let the wolves loose.

Maybe we can all agree these are complicated issues with lots of nuance, room for debate, etc. 

And perhaps the whole issue would have had a better shot if the cheerleaders had backed the hell off.

Thanks to Thomas Sowell for "the vision of the anointed" line. 



varangianguard [unverified] said:


Expatiate, perhaps?

2013-03-20 13:36:00

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

As someone who is physically disabled and unable to drive in Indianapolis, I certainly would like to see vastly improved mass transit in all of Central Indiana. And there are a lot of people like me who can't drive due to physical challenges.

Ruth, I do agree that The Star has done way too much heavy breathing over this idea - turning a lot of people off.

2013-03-20 14:15:12

Duke [unverified] said:

More needs to be done to improve transportation, but we should slow down and give this more thought. Whatever happened to the articulated buses that were supposed to increase efficiency?

2013-03-20 14:51:39

hendy [Member] said:

In the long term you'd dilute the segregation that has become a part of many areas of the donut counties and Indianapolis. The current IndyGo system has been starved for years, and was once THE way for people lacking cars to get around. Bike paths are one thing, but a healthy urban area lives on public transportation.

Look to Chicago, St Louis, Cincinatti, and any city of a major size in the US and you'll see it thrives on public transit. Scared of the teenagers? User your cellphone. Call the cops. Legal and moral to do. Yes, it slows down the journey and yes, it enforces civility.

But people need this. The high faluten Carmelites zooming down Meridian in their BMWs and los amigos Mexicano de Nuevo Augusta. We need it because building new freeways is plainly stupid. Look at how many times I465 has been rebuilt, and it's going to need it again unless pressure is taken off autos as a primary transit method.

2013-03-20 15:18:34

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Yes, we upper crust in Hamilton County need a way for "the help'' to get up to serve us.

Goodness knows those people, those illegals, can't drive in the snow.

Those savages nearly wrinkled the wing of my 7-Series last snow fall and gave me the vapors.

2013-03-20 18:04:03

John M [unverified] said:

"Too much, too soon?" It's been obvious for years, even decades, that Indy's mass transit system is woefully limited and small for a city of our size. This bill was debated in the General Assembly last year, too, before failing. This is hardly something that is being rammed through without consideration. It's been discussed for years.

"Yeah, dude should ride the Northside buses when the rowdy teens get on and terrorize the old folks, or when somebody leaves a big pool of urine on one of the seats. Mass transit may actually increase crime: herd all the sheep into one car, and let the wolves loose."

Fess up, Ruth: when's the last time you set foot on any IndyGo bus, if ever? I ride pretty regularly (5-10 days a month, as a rough estimate) between downtown and Irvington, and I have for the past five years. In all of the hundreds of trips I have made on IndyGo, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had any degree of discomfort, and such problems generally have been dealt with quickly. I can't say that what you describe has never happened, but it certainly isn't the typical IndyGo experience any more than being maimed in a car accident is typical of getting behind the wheel.

2013-03-21 11:02:20

hendy [Member] said:

I go to NYC, Boston, Providence, DC, Atlanta, SF, Portlandia, Seattle, and do fine. Add: anywhere in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Turkey, wherever, there's a good transportation system.

Even little old Bloomington got an award for best public transportation for a city of its size in 2011. There are some unwashed masses, and there are also strange but behaved people like me. Indy has gone far too long without decent public transportation. Stories I could tell about how plenty of people make a bundle on its misfortune.

So break open the wallet, let the moths fly out, and pay a few extra nickels so that everyone has a reasonable chance at getting some place. Don't get me started on sidewalks.

2013-03-21 15:11:51

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:


Sometimes spellcheck is not your friend and you end up with a word that was not attended.

2013-03-21 15:41:08

Jake [unverified] said:

I wondered if you had been reading Sowell. Put Murray Rothbard on your reading list.

2013-03-21 15:53:08

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