May 25, 2009
Anti-Metro amendment removed
I'm pleased to report that the anti-Metro amendment that was in SB1263 has been removed. I am told that Rep. Ellen Cohen discussed the matter with Rep. Pickett, who agreed to remove the Houston-specific language. This is great news, not just for the fate of the Universities line, but as Christof notes, for the rest of the system:
Item (1) [of the original amendment] does not actually apply to the University Line, since there was no route set for the University Line before the referendum. But it does apply to the North Line (which was shifted from Irvington to Fulton at the request of neighborhood groups) and the Southeast Line (which was shifted from Scott to MLK, again at neighborhood request.)
Item (2) applies to every single one of the lines. METRO's ballot named lines and described end points; it did not call out every street a line would run on. It was not required to, and METRO had not yet done studies on all of the lines.
So this legislation would [have stopped] all property acquisition on all 5 new lines immediately.
Fortunately, that is no longer the case, and for that I thank Rep. Cohen for taking the lead and to Rep. Pickett for listening to reason. (The text of SB1263
has not been updated on the Texas Legislature Online site, but I have been assured that the offending will be removed.) What this shows to me - again! - is that there's never been a difference between the anti-rail-on-Richmond forces and the opposition to the 2003 referendum. The only constituency that could credibly claim to be anti-Richmond-but-pro-Westpark, and only interested in that, were the people in Afton Oaks, and they got what they wanted. Everyone else involved in this has been dedicated to doing whatever it takes to stop rail in Houston. The will of the people doesn't matter to them. Clearly, we can't rest easy till everything has been built.
Anyway. Even without Rep. Pickett's change of stance, it's possible this bill won't make it onto the calendar before tomorrow's deadline for the House to approve Senate bills, so one way or another this crisis will be averted. I'd still like to know who it was that got to Rep. Pickett and filled him full of lies, but I suppose we never will learn their identities. I do plan to hold this incident up as a shining example of the anti-Metro forces' hypocrisy the next time I see someone complain about the agency acting in a secretive manner. I'm sure it won't be long before that happens.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2009 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
I would disagree that only the residents of Afton Oaks were opposed - they simply had a voice because they had the money to command a voice particularly with John Culberson. But quite a few business owners not to mention homeowners in Montrose and Midtown and 3rd Ward aren't exactly happy and haven't been. There is an old railroad easement along the south side of 59 that most assumed would be where the rail would run. But once again the voices of Southampton and Boulevard Oaks and Broad Acres prevailed.
Ten years from now everyone will be complaining about how Metro made a disaster of mass transit. And ten years from now quite a few people will say "told you so."
As for Ellen Cohen, just another reason not to support her for another term.
I guess it's very obvious that Baby Snooks is a long-time resident of the Repugnant Party's alternative universe. Those "homeowners in Montrose and Midtown and 3rd Ward" weren't able to carry their precincts -- they lost badly, in fact. It's time to accept the election results. Three cheers for Ellen Cohen.
I guess it's very obvious that Baby Snooks is a long-time resident of the Repugnant Party's alternative universe. Those "homeowners in Montrose and Midtown and 3rd Ward" weren't able to carry their precincts -- they lost badly, in fact. It's time to accept the election results.
Actually I am not in Ellen Cohen's district. But I know a lot of people who are. I an in John Culberson's district, however, although I voted for Michael Skelly. And for Barbara Radnofsky. I tend to vote Democrat. Just not blindly. Certainly not Democrats whose chiefs-of- staff don't return phone calls as Ellen Cohen's didn't in 2006. She returned my phone call and referred me to him. He never returned mine. Neither of them.
As for Metro, I do have to wonder how many of its "proponents" actually use Metro. Most who do really don't have very nice things to say about it.
Baby Snooks, I would not return your phone calls either. Is there anyone in this world that you actually like? Or that likes you? Just go away. BTW, Ellen Cohen ROCKS!
As an historical matter, it is not true that the only people who were anti-Richmond, pro-Westpark are the Afton Oaks residents. Years ago, in the 80s, many famous city planners and clean air activists such as the late Barry Zimmelman and the late Robert Silverman, named plaintiff in the KCC lawsuit and both founders of CART, actively supported a Westpark alignment for light rail or commuter rail because the there was already trackage and/or ROW along Westpark and environmental and condemnation clearances would be easier and the project less expensive.
Ellen didn't have a Chief of Staff in 2006.
She had a campaign manager, his name was Bill Kelly, and he has served as her Chief of Staff since 2007.
He returns every call.
As an historical matter, it is not true that the only people who were anti-Richmond, pro-Westpark are the Afton Oaks residents.
He returns every call.
Whatever your title was/is, you did not return two phone calls.