Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Grumpy about local elections Part 1

I'm growing increasingly grumpy about our local Austin elections. For starters, the Capital Metro referendum on so-called "commuter rail" counts as another crappy, ridiculous boondoggle. As always, it's shoved down the community's throat by saying we have no choice or the reactionaries will keep us from having ANY public transportation at all.

That's our "green" city council's standard modus operandi on nearly everything. We have to sell out control of the public hospital to the Catholic church or we'll have to raise taxes. We have to subsidize sprawl and build roads over the aquifer or they'll sue under novel legal theories and make us do it. Basically, we can't have a backbone or someone might break it.

I remember Danny Dollinger at the famous June 7, 1990 Barton Springs uprising criticizing the untenable position city council let special interests put us in. He said he had a dream where Jim Bob Moffett threatened a golden-cheeked warbler (a local endangered species for you non-Austinites) , declaring, "Let me pee in the pool or I'll kill the bird." That's the kind of choice we get on every major local issue.

Why do city officials always agree to do something bad to keep something worse from happening? Just for once, why can't Austin local government do something because it'd be a good thing to do and the community supports it?

Sometimes these threats and supposed dangers are outright ridiculous: We have to gut civilian oversight of police or the union won't agree to accept pay hikes we promised them in exchange for campaign support!!! Well, who gives a shit?!

This go-round we're being asked to accept a public transportation system that goes nowhere near any major destinations or employers, but we're told that if it's not approved we'll never get public transport at all. That's no damn choice -- transportation nobody will use, or nothing.

I'm one of the few Austinites who actually lives within a few blocks of a proposed stop, but for the life of me I can't find anywhere on the proposed map I'd like to go.

Kerry's lame and I'm voting for him, but that's the only half a loaf I'm accepting this election cycle. I'm voting no on the Capital Metro referendum.

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