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Point/not-quite-counterpoint on rail

I don’t know for sure, but I presume that when the Sunday Chron runs two op-eds on more or less the same subject from opposing perspectives it was planned, as in they invited the two point/counterpointers to submit the pieces in question. Sometimes these things work better than other times, but usually it’s a decent enough way to try and give equal time in a debate.

Unfortunately, one of the times when it doesn’t work so well is when one participant argues for a specific point, which the other person doesn’t address. Such as yesterday’s examples, in which Rep. John Culberson gave his usual talking points on the Universities rail route, while Ed Wulfe wrote this feel-good executive summary of the whole plan. It fails as a point/counterpoint (if it was planned as such – maybe it was just coincidence that these two pieces shared the Opinion section yesterday) because Wulfe only mentioned the Richmond/Westpark issue in passing, while Culberson made it his central thesis. Well, and because Wulfe didn’t really say anything remotely objectionable. If Wulfe intended his piece as an argument, it wasn’t Culberson he was arguing against; at least, not the 2007 post-referendum Culberson.

And I feel a little cheated by that, because I think there should have been a forceful pro-Richmond statement to accompany Culberson’s piece and counter his misleading spin regarding the election results. Again, assuming this was a deliberate setup, either Wulfe got the wrong instructions or he was the wrong person for the job. Either way, it’s a shame. There’s no shortage of pro-Richmond rail supporters. They deserve to have their voices heard.

Like I said, maybe it was just a coincidence that these two pieces appeared simultaneously. If so, then maybe there’ll be a followup by someone who was also expecting something else and was disappointed with what we got. That would be nice, since you can’t have a debate if the two people involved are not talking about the same thing.

UPDATE: This is what I’m talking about. That’s a genuine counterpoint to the Culberson piece. If I were to boil it down to a soundbite, it’d be something like “What do you want Metro to serve: the people of Houston, or ballot language as interpreted by the people who lost the referendum?”

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  1. Dennis says:

    Talk about a meaningless statistic. Culberson claimed that 97% of the callers to his office objected to the Richmond line. Well, duhhhhh. His mind was already made up, so why would pro-Richmond supporters call him? It’s an argument only a politician would make.

  2. Pro Richmond Rail says:

    It was no coincidence that the two pieces ran on the same day.