...my communication with my City Council Representative:
In retrospect, reading it again, I am somewhat flummoxed as to how I missed that this seems like it is, at least in part, a way to force the bus drivers to take a pay cut. They are going to be faced with the proposition of either working fewer hours, or taking a cut in pay. They are also looking at this as a potential justification for raising bus fares without making the politicians look as though they are gouging the general population. That last bit I don't really have a problem with - I do think the bus system should be as self supporting as possible.
The problem I am having an increasing issue with however is that the bus drivers are going to be put between a rock and a hard place. Either they work fewer hours and lose benefits because they don't make 40 hours a week anymore, or they take a cut in pay.
That is fucked up.
Blaming/justifying/passing the buck for this onto the folks that pay property taxes who don't want to be paying *more* property tax is also fucked up: If you can't afford the taxes on your house, why did you fucking buy it in the first place, jackass? Either move to a house you can actually afford, or shut the fuck up!
A city that can't wrap its head around the fact that it *RUNS* on the backs and brows of people who *NEED* public transportation... who are either paying property tax directly, or as a renter, are paying higher rents to cover the landlord's property taxes... and to make a choice not to support them ends up cutting the throat of the working class.
Further, to be willing to dump BILLIONS of dollars on making the roads wider (as well as billions more to keep the snow off of them and keep them maintained and landscaped) as a way of dealing with road congestion, but being unwilling to spend MILLIONS on a decent public transportation system which could accomplish the exact same thing, while reducing pollution and making Lincoln a more livable city just doesn't make one damn bit of sense. I get that they don't get it... but that just means that it is time to go down there with our pitchforks and torches and take our government back from the assholes who are fucking us over (but in a bad way)
If you can go to the Council meeting on Monday, please do. I am trying to get someone to cover my shift at work, but have been unable to do so thus far. Since calling in sick when I am not really sick would be a termination-worthy offense (and what better proof of my not being sick than being on record as being arrested at a city council meeting for telling it like it is) I am not sure that I will be able to be there myself. If I can, I will be: This is important... that said, so is making my child support obligation, which wouldn't be something I could manage without an actual job. If I would have known about this with two weeks worth of lead time, I could have actually taken vacation time for it... but with less than two weeks notice I am pretty much SOL.
Anywho, without further ado, my e-mail conversation with my City Council representative - Doug Emery, as well as my responses to the version of my last post that I sent to him (the one that was posted was actually the version I had modified to be sent to the Mayor). I offer that e-mail exchange without further comment, save to say that if you are in the "business" of politics, you need to be able to use and spell political terms correctly, and when you don't you open yourself up for simple textual criticism, because it makes you look like a fucking moron:
--- On Mon, 8/4/08, dougemerypm wrote:
>>> Mr Langeaux,
>>> Thank you for your thoughts. I am concerned
>>> about cuts to the bus service but I am concerned
>>> about many of the cuts we make. The bottom
>>> line is that we can only do so much in Lincoln
>>> on 14 cents (THAT IS THE CITY'S PORTION OF
>>> EACH TAX DOLLAR) I will be offering an amendment
>>> that calls for raising fares, Ride for 5 prices
>>> and monthly bus passes. This will raise ABOUT
>>> 200 K. I have asked the drivers to look for
>>> 200 K in service adjustments off hours and I
>>> will ask the mayor for 200K out of one time
>>> money. That would get us through this year.
>>> Money will NOT allow for "24 hour service" and
>>> there is NO way the Republican's will ever go
>>> for that. I want to try and stop the cuts."
>>> If you want to discuss this you can call
>>> me anytime at XXX-XXXX
>>> Doug Emery
>> --- On Mon, 8/4/08, Algor_Langeaux wrote:
>> You are still dealing with this as a short term
>> issue. It isn't. Fixing it "this year" doesn't
>> really "fix it" at all.
>> You say that money won't allow for 24 hour service
>> - but money apparently however *will* allow for
>> outrageously huge major new roadway development
>> and widening of roads to make way for anticipated
>> increases in traffic, such as the barrel of pork
>> that is Antelope Creek, et al.
>> Getting more people using public transportation
>> makes much more sense on way more levels than
>> investing more in making roads wider. If there
>> are fewer cars on the road, there will be less
>> traffic, and absolutely no need for wider roads.
>> It is all in how you look at the problem, and
>> how far in the box one has one's head.
>> The thing that is the problem is that the public
>> transportation system most directly impacts people
>> that have no political voice and who - though
>> potentially a majority - don't contribute enough
>> to political campaigns to be deemed worthy of
>> This isn't a political issue. This is what is in
>> the long term best interest of the community, and
>> anyone that can't see that needs to be voted out
>> of office and replaced with someone that does.
>> As I noted before, I will be watching how EVERYONE
>> behaves regarding this issue... and I have a VERY
>> big mouth.
>> (Also, the plural form of "Republican" is
> --- On Mon, 8/4/08, dougemerypm wrote:
> Mr Langeaux,
> I was telling you the face of reality today. It IS
> political when the majority of 4 says:"WE WILL NOT
> RAISE PROPERTY TAXES." That means you have a finite
> amount of money to work with and we have more bills
> than we have money. While you may be 100% correct
> in you assessment of publictransportation, I see
> NO great support for 24 hour service in Lincoln.
> While I try to answer all emails, I do not appreciate
> implied threats or grammar corrections. I thought
> the gist of what you wanted was my comments on
> the bus service in this budget. I will do what I can,
> inside of the current parameters, for the constituents
> of NE Lincoln. Being "voted out of office" is
> really only a concern if you intend to run again or if
> you "need" to be in office. I have retired once and it
> is no problem to do so again
> Once again IF you would like to discuss this please feel
> free to contact me
> at XXX-XXXX.
> Doug Emery
--- On Mon, 8/4/08, algor_langeaux wrote:
...and I am telling you that you are out of touch with
the face of reality today. I am sure that for the people
that you deal with in your circles think more about
property taxes than public transportation.
The reason for that is that the people paying property
taxes are generally not the same people that need
public transportation. THAT is the disconnect you seem
to be missing.
How many apartments in Lincoln vs. Private homes? How
many people being forced to move back to apartments
because they moved into housing they couldn't afford
in the long term? We are making choices for the whole,
based only on what is in the best interests of that
percentage of the whole that pays property taxes?
OF COURSE they aren't going to think much about
public transportation... THEY DON'T USE IT. The people
that don't worry about paying buckets in property taxes
because they don't MAKE buckets in the first place need
to have a voice and need to be REPRESENTED.
If the people with the big expensive houses who pay such
exorbitant property taxes get all bent out of shape over
the possibility of paying more, I am sure that if they are
presented with the facts about how this doesn't make any
sense in the long term, and that they will end up paying
WAY more to fix the problem in the future than biting the
bullet now and doing the right thing, that anyone concerned
enough with the fiscal reality of higher property taxes to
ask them not to be raised would be able to see the fiscal
reality that deferring maintenance will always cost more
in the end than dealing with the problem while it is
As to threats, I wasn't making any, I was merely suggesting
that both you and your brother professional politicians
need to be aware that some of us choose to be informed
about those that we vote for, and vote for those that
actually represent our views. When they cease to
represent our views in the name of being politically
expedient, those of us that actually pay attention,
tend to vote accordingly.
The fact is that you seem to be thinking of your political
service as a job you are doing. Fine. As a voter, I am
merely asking that you do the job I asked you to do when
I voted for you, and represent me. You cannot do this in
a vacuum, so I wrote to let you know *how* I wanted to
represent me. I recognize that I am one of many of your
"bosses" and you may get conflicting suggestions about
how they would like to be represented.
I will vote for whomever best looks out for the long term
future of the city of Lincoln, and will suggest that others
do the same.
This is not a threat, merely a reminder that some of us
could care less what political party one chooses to
affiliate with, and vote on a candidates actual RECORD and
stated attitudes. Again... I am not alone in this, and it
can either work for you or against you... so it isn't a
threat, merely something that is apparently easy for
politicians to forget when they are in the trenches "doing
Again, it wasn't my intention to DISCUSS this, I merely
wished you to know how one that you represent thinks and
wishes you to vote.