Will the real George W. Bush please stand up?
Several of the key points in President Bush’s nationally televised speech last night are being widely welcomed this morning: his vow to rebuild the Gulf Coast; his increasingly direct acknowledgment that there were serious government lapses after Hurricane Katrina; his admission that Americans can and should expect a more effective response to catastrophes in the post 9/11 era.
But the guts of the speech…has led to considerable skepticism, if not outright puzzlement, on both sides of the political divide.
Consider two of the more extreme possibilities:
* Either Bush is being entirely forthright, in which case he’s talking about something reminiscent of the biggest liberal government programs of the 20th century. That scares some conservatives, certainly fiscal conservatives, to death.
* Or maybe it’s just a plan to transform the Gulf Coast into a big test bed for conservative social policy, where tax breaks flow to big business and tax money flows to Halliburton, churches and private schools. That utterly terrifies liberals
Click here for link.
Metro has finally decided it will allow a Riders Advisory Council. The Council, which Metro expects to be established before the end of the year, will be comprised of 21 regular riders of the subway, Metro bus or MetroAccess, the service for disabled people. There will be 18 members from Maryland, Viriginia and DC (six for each); two at-large members; and one seat for the head of Metro’s Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee.
With no stable source of longterm funding, mismanagement of more than a billion dollars on train and infrastructure repairs, and a projected spending gap of at least $10 million in the next fiscal year, one wonders how the Riders Advisory Council will fare (fairly bad pun intended). Is the creation of this Council just window-dressing? Empowering riders and increasing their input is a good thing, but how can the average rider be expected to address the system’s precarious situation?
I agree, in part, with Jack Corbett who was quoted in the Post about the necessity of not stopping with creation of the Council but also having rider representaton on the Metro Board of Directors. Corbett is a founder of MetroRiders.org, which represents 1,500 registered users who want Metro improvements.
Corbett was quoted in the Washington Post this week:
“We’re pleased as far as it goes,” Corbett said. “But we’re going to put a push on the Davis bill to get an amendment added for a nonvoting riders’ representative added to the board, similar to what exists in New York City. Having someone who can talk to board members 10 minutes before a vote and who can raise consumer issues is far more valuable than a riders advisory council that meets for three hours once a month.”
Why nonvoting? Why one rider’s representative? It seems to me that there should be THREE, VOTING representatives (one from MD, VA and DC) and perhaps those voting members could be selected by and from the Rider’s Advisory Committee.
The Post reports that applications can be found in rail stations or buses and on the seats of MetroAccess vehicles starting September 26th. Applications can also be requested by calling 202-962-1034 or by searching online at http://www.metroopensdoors.com. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. October 17th.