Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Cincinnati Streetcar Controversy

This afternoon John Deatrick, project manager of the Cincinnati streetcar project will lay out the cost of halting the project in it's tracks (sorry).
The problem is, economics isn't the issue. Streetcar opponents haven't had a valid argument in years. This is a political game and a last gasp of an old guard to hang onto power. This is primarily the old 60s Democrats vs. the younger Democrats. Do the old Democrats care if they waste money? Do the establishment Republicans who backed Cranley & some council candidates with fairly clear mental problems?
nope - it's not their money
This is all about power. What did the streetcar supporters argue the streetcar would produce?
  • bring new people to Cincinnati
  • retain young people in Cincinnati
  • re-populate the inner city
  • offer opportunity to entrepreneurs
  • revitalize the inner city
And what's wrong with that? Shouldn't we be forward looking? Shouldn't we "think about the children"?
Not if you're trying to hang onto power. This kind of talk scares the shit out of some people. These things would all change the political dynamic - the social demographic of the city. These young people and outsiders have no fealty to people like Tim Burke, David Mann or the Luken & Reece dynasties. These 60s Democrats want their welfare state, their minority set asides, affirmative action - Their Great Society. They want their handouts so they can curry favor with voters. They don't want to offer opportunity.
The split in endorsements in factions of the local Democratic party were telling. Party stalwarts, Thomas & Mann were omitted by the Hamilton County Young Democrats in favor of the more progressive Moroski. The younger Democrats don't give a crap about these old guys and the old guys know it. It's easier for them to cater to obstructionist Republicans than to accept the evolution of their own party.
Killing the streetcar isn't about economics or the future of the city - it's about local power and ego.

Cost to stop the streetcar