Thursday, July 2, 2009

Psephophobia

Psephophobia is the irrational fear of voting. This anxiety disorder is spreading locally under the guise of "progress." Symptoms include a self-righteous condescending attitude that citizens are too stupid to decide for themselves whether they need a horrendously expensive streetcar or not. Paranoia leads them to project fears of ballot failure onto future transit projects that aren't even on the table yet. Afflicted persons view the simple act of voting on major public policy as a dangerous, apocalyptic, cataclysmic apostasy which will bring about the total destruction of life as we know it.

Think we're exaggerating? Here are some of their recent rantings against the Pro-Vote Charter Amendment:
"The alleged “choices” built into this ballot are not good choices—like death by strangling and drowning are both bad choices."
"Voter choice is a meaningless concept when the design of the choices are inherently undesirable."
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Cincinnati Beacon

"
The amendment would roadblock the C-C-C link, paid for almost completely with our federal transportation dollars. It would also block other projects like the "eastern corridor" rail link..."
"An electoral roadblock will take Cincinnati off the funding list on the first cut.
"
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Don Mooney, Enquirer Op-Ed

"...the last thing we need in making our case is a provision that prohibits the City of Cincinnati from being part of it without a later vote."
"...such an anti-rail poison pill in the City charter would clearly put our entire region at the bottom of the totem pole."
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David Pepper, Hamilton County Commissioner

"While other cities are preparing to move forward into the 21st century by building needed infrastructure and transportation improvements, this dangerous proposal would hold Cincinnati back by costing us jobs and causing our tax dollars to be spent elsewhere."
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Cincinnatians for Progress

"...it prohibits any improvement or investment in passenger rail in Cincinnati without an expensive and time consuming public referendum—including delays and stoppages to the proposed 3C rail in Ohio, the Eastern Corridor and the high speed inter-city rail being proposed by The President. It creates a significant barrier to progress that will handcuff our City government, send jobs and economic development to other cities and stifle transportation alternatives."
"The anti-progress Charter Amendment is another dangerous amendment to the city’s charter, the city’s Constitution, and will eventually lead to proposition style government, which has failed miserably in California."
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Somewhere Over the Rhine

"The COAST/NAACP anti-streetcar petition crew is causing all sorts of debauchery and grabbing headlines for its attempt to garner support for a sweeping, all-inclusive anti-rail ballot initiative. And it is exhausting."
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CityBeat
"Roadblock," "handcuff," "poison pill," "debauchery," "death by strangling and drowning?" We knew the ballot box was powerful, but this is downright delusional. All that fearfulness from a simple up/down vote. These folks need some therapy and a prescription; hopefully they'll feel better after their meds kick in.

21 comments:

  1. #1: This is a REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY. That means we elect people to make most of the decisions. Government by referendum is not what our founding fathers had in mind. So, in effect, yes I am afraid of this system of government that NAACP and COAST have seemingly been advocating.

    #2: The City Charter is a highly inappropriate place to place your proposed amendment. The City Charter is the closest thing the city has to a constitution. It is supposed to be where we broadly lay out how how the government shall be organized and who shall have which powers.

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  2. Are you suggesting that the charter amendment will not adversely affect, delay, or cause Cincinnati to miss out on federal funding for the 3C, Eastern Corridor, or other rail projects?

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  3. Anonymous,

    Does this passage sound familiar?

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    I'll give you a hint. It was written by our founding fathers, and it was an amendment to our constitution.

    Like it or not, the founders included petition-power as the second last recourse of the citizenry when government ignores its people. It is also the ONLY means available under the City Charter to challenge rogue actions of city leaders before it's too late. It is altogether fitting and proper to use it here.

    Council, Mayor and City Manager have conspired to force a streetcar upon the taxpayers which they neither need nor want. Voters have responded with a Charter Amendment that removes their approval powers on matters of passenger rail transportation, instead vesting that authority with the people.

    The voters are not doing this for light or transitory reasons. City administrations past and present have saddled us with a subway boondoggle, a Union Terminal* boondoggle, a Riverfront Transit Center boondoggle, and now a streetcar boondoggle.

    Nobody is saying we can't do rail transit, only that city leaders are going to have to start asking us before they commit us to big-buck projects. A dismal track record spanning nearly a century merits the extra scrutiny.

    *(Hamilton County transformed Union Terminal into a museum center which is now a tremendous asset to our community. But back when it was under city control as a passenger rail transportation center, it was an enormous boonoggle.)

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  4. The voters of Cincinnati are too stupid to make these decisions for themselves. They are not capable of determining the level of passenger rail tranist that they want.

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  5. Love how you guys, especially Jason Gloyd will stop at nothing to check facts or even think twice about flat out lying to a citizen's face. What kind of special interest joke are you guys?

    http://thephonyconey.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-lies-from-jason-gloyd-coast.html

    How many more lies must Gloyd tell?

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  6. Queen City Discovery said - "What kind of special interest joke are you guys?"

    COAST's financial contributors are all a matter of public record. Thanks for the empty, and unsupported accusations though. They carry no weight.

    The better question is - Who is the special interest behind the pro-streetcar movement?

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  7. COAST is a lying and ignorant mob. They were out in force at the Northside 4th of July parade lying once again to people saying "sign the streetcar petition", acting pro-streetcar just to get names on this awful ballot initiative. Why can't you guys see that most people want the streetcar, you are the minority, and let progress move forward?

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  8. Anonymous - What are you afraid of? If most people want the streetcar, as you claim, then you should feel pretty confident that you'll win handily at the ballot box.

    I personally think you're peeing your pants at the prospect of facing the voters. According to State Senator Eric Kearney, spring polling shows the electorate opposed to the streetcar 65%-35%.

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  11. Deleted my previous comment because it was a bit rude. However, I originally found a lot of interest in C.O.A.S.T. with the tea party. Then the teaming up with the likes of someone like Chris Smittherman and the blatant exaggerations and lies perpetuated on the radio by Mr. Gloyd such as calling the streetcar a "coal, powered trolley," make me question the respect I once had for this organization.

    The upcoming charter amendment is incredibly harmful to this city, blocking any and all future rail progress and the ways of which C.O.A.S.T. has gone about promoting it feature some of the worst political spin I've ever heard. It really is a shame the great lengths that have been taken to exaggerate, twist and word the issue.

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  12. The streetcar is a coal-powered trolley. It is run on electricity. We get electricity in this State from the conversion of fossil fuels into energy. The fossil fuel used is COAL.

    Travis or Randy Simes will respond that maybe some magical, fantasy power source other than Duke Energy could be used in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....

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  13. How is it relevant that the streetcar uses coal power? Are you suggesting that driving solo in your automobile on roads funded by our tax dollars (all from the same pot remember!) is a better alternative?

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  14. So Bris is your house a coal powered house? Considering most of your power comes from coal energy sources, why aren't you guys fighting against this awful waste of energy in your own homes?

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  15. UC Student - It's relevant because the proponents of the coal powered trolley try to pass this off as a green initiative, and it is not.

    Ronny - Yes, my house is powered by coal just like the proposed streetcar would be. You're very perceptive. The big difference is that I'm not telling the taxpayers to subsidize my coal-powered home energy consumption to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (and millions in operating losses per year).

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  16. "UC Student - It's relevant because the proponents of the coal powered trolley try to pass this off as a green initiative, and it is not."

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Are you saying a "coal powered" streetcar wouldn't have lower emissions than had those same riders driven automobiles? Considering you can fit what, 4 adults in a car compared to how many in a streetcar, I think you're a little off base. I'd venture to say that even a diesel powered bus creates more emissions per rider than a streetcar. If you think that your argument is a reasonable one to make, perhaps you should find some supporting evidence rather than uneducated speculation. Until that time, I'd say logic will take precedence over fantasy.

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  17. UC Student - SORTA's 6 brand new hybrid buses are much more environmentally friendly than the proposed coal powered streetcar.

    How many hybrid buses could $200 million buy? How many more could be bought with the millions of dollars in anticipated operating losses per year?

    Unfortunately, elitist YP snobs won't lower themselves to riding the bus. If it's green you want then push for more hybrid bus purchases. According to SORTA, "The hybrids reduce soot and hydrocarbon emissions by more than 90% and fuel use by up to 30%." Is that enough supporting evidence for you or just more uneducated speculation? GET ON THE BUS!!!

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  18. So your position is that we should increase spending by buying all new hybrid buses, and somehow this will also result in increased ridership?? Emissions per rider will be much lower on the streetcar than any other mode of transportation.

    "If it's green you want "

    Actually I believe this is the argument that you continually make because you think you have some fact, some smidgeon of information that somehow diminished from the magnitude of the entire project. Get a grip. Perhaps you should debate the issue on its merits and not on anecdotes.

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  19. "Emissions per rider will be much lower on the streetcar than any other mode of transportation."

    Based on which ridership projections? Is this a fact or merely your anecdotal fantasy observation based on a smidgeon or no information at all?


    "Perhaps you should debate the issue on its merits and not on anecdotes."

    Perhaps the proper forum is at the ballot box. Let the people decide for themselves. Why are you afraid of the people having a voice?

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  20. Cincinnatians for ProgressJuly 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Look, we were all in favor of the city's referendum process when our kind were using it. But now that African-Americans and COASTers are using it, we don't like it anymore. Those people should not be allowed to put things on the ballot, period.

    All good things must come to an end. We don't support anymore of these referendums (unless we're the ones behind them).

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  21. There are multiple problems with this ballot item that the people at COAST are smart enough to understand. The issue is that they don't want to fess up publicly and ruin their appearance of being a public watchdog when in fact they are a conservative special interest group.

    The language includes all passenger rail and your continued actions of only selling this as a streetcar item are disingenuous at best. The language could have been written in a way to deal with this specific issue, but by doing a Charter amendment that says "passenger rail" it will be sure to have an impact on any future rail project within city limits. The real intent here is to prevent Cincinnati from having any kind of rail transportation system. It's relatively easy for well-connected and funded special interest groups like COAST to defeat single issue items at the ballot box.

    This is what's being done here as COAST flexes its special interest muscle once again and pits neighborhood against neighborhood as they try to get people in Westwood upset at those in OTR, or people Downtown upset at those in Price Hill. This is an unhealthy way of doing business and the fact is that COAST knows this...they just don't care because they would love nothing more than to see the city fail.

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