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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

An old letter to the editor of Liberty Magazine

Digging around my old files directory, I came across this letter to the editor of Liberty Magazine that I penned in May, 2002. The letter was never published, but it seems to have some connection to the current debate over the Cowboy's stadium:
There is hope yet...

On May 3, 2002, Arlington, Texas, voters rebuked their political "leaders" and overwhelming turned down a one-quarter cent sales tax increase to fund a public transit plan. The politicians felt confident going into the vote - thousands of public dollars had been spent for local opinion polls that revealed overwhelming support for busses (yet another example of getting what you pay for). The proposed mass transit plan would have subsidized each one-dollar ride with more than five dollars from public funds. Amazingly, the plan also set aside one million dollars per year to study the feasibility of light rail (how long it would take to determine feasibility was left unmentioned).

The embarrassment of the politicians was especially sweet for those of us who voted NO. Proponents outspent opponents by more than 10 to 1, including $10,000 donated by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who hints that Arlington should pony up $500 million to build him a new stadium - yet proponents could only garner 42% of the vote. Perhaps there is still hope. However, a confounding factor was that the Tarrant County tax appraisal office sent out reappraisals the week before the vote. The fact that my tax increased some $600 did not put me in a better mood concerning mass transit; I suppose it didn't help anyone else.

Arlington is locally lambasted as being the largest city in the country without a mass transit system - a badge of dishonor that many cities with failing bus systems may relish. Perhaps being the biggest city in the country with the guts to stand up against the legacy-building, can't-keep-their-mitts-off-our-money political interests is a more appropriate badge of honor...Oh yeah, we are also home to the Texas Rangers.

Oh how things never seem to change...

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