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RE: [carfree_cities] Re: "America's Epidemic of Youth Obesity"-- NYT article

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  • Baddeley, Simon
    Many of those wolves have cubs. Not all mature in their parents mould. Thomas Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions (surely one of the books of
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 6, 2002
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      Many of those wolves have cubs. Not all mature in their parents' mould.

      Thomas Kuhn in his "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" (surely one of the
      books of the 20thC) says new paradigms only replace the old when those who
      believe in and maintain the old one die. They will never be convinced by the
      arguments or polemic of an emerging paradigm - which did not mean such
      arguments and the research and interpretation that accompanies them should
      not be pursued. The old paradigm provides the rigorous structure against
      which proponents of the new must direct and most critically hone and
      strengthen their understanding of a new version pf reality. (Yes it is
      another version of thesis, antitheses and synthesis and rationale for
      dialect .. but I prefer Kuhn to Kant or Marx).

      Regards

      Simon



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Richard Risemberg [mailto:rickrise@...]
      Sent: 06 December 2002 15:56
      To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: "America's Epidemic of Youth
      Obesity"--NYT article


      J.H. Crawford wrote:


      > I'm no fan of Wendell Cox, but his positions are more nuanced than
      > most people think.
      I had many long personal exchanges with Wendell Cox several years ago,
      and I find he is an intelligent man who told me he simply doesn't
      believe Americans will ever choose to do anything other than drive
      personal automobiles, even given a choice,....... That no one is
      independent
      is beside the point; they want to feel like one wolves standing
      silhouetted on a crag against a wild sunset even though the mirror would
      show a bunch of pigs shouldering each other aside at the trough fo
      publoic welfare. Note corporate welfare, after all.
    • Patrick McDonough
      I have traded a few emails with Cox on his transport-policy listserv. It s funny, being on this list and his. I find that Cox actually has some interesting
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 6, 2002
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        I have traded a few emails with Cox on his transport-policy listserv. It's
        funny, being on this list and his. I find that Cox actually has some
        interesting things to say, but the way in which he pursues his agenda with
        bombast, misleading figures and pseudo-science obscures the important points
        that should legitimately be advanced in discussion.

        For example, Cox makes the valid point that many rail systems are often
        pitched as "Congestion relief" when at best, they are merely mitigating
        influences. Traffic is never going away in America until road pricing is
        corrected and land use changes, and public officials that promote transit to
        solve congestion are being duplicitous when they say this, because it is
        just not true. Nevertheless, rather than sticking on this point, Cox makes
        his "We could buy every new light rail rider a Lexus" arguments instead. In
        the end, all of his appointments and experience have stemmed from the
        strength of his partisanship, not his scholarship, which is lacking.

        Cox's true colors shine through in the housing policy debate, where he is
        constantly decrying the Portland UGB and how it is horrible for
        affordability, often stating that it is unfair to minorities. However, one
        never finds Cox or any of his pals (Randall O'Toole et al) speak up for the
        location-efficient mortgage (LEM), a private sector solution to qualifying
        people for mortgages that gives credit to those living near transit, for the
        fact that they spend less on transport, and ergo can afford a higher monthly
        payment. Most traditional mortgages solely count income to qualify
        borrowers. Even if we never build another Smart Growth development, plenty
        of minorities in existing city neighborhoods might move from renting to
        owning under the LEM, and begin to accumlate more wealth that could be
        reinvested in their communities. It is my belief that since this idea comes
        from a pro smart-growth group in Chicago (Center for Neighborhood
        Technology), they term it "social engineering" rather than what it is- a
        market-based solution to the un-entrepreneurial lending industry which has
        forgotten how to manage all but the most common (read: suburban housing
        development mortgage lending based on income and credit report alone) types
        of loans. If Cox et al were really interested in affordability, they'd
        pursue large-lot zoning and LEM's with the same zeal. But they don't. I
        called him on this on a Planetizen Op-Ed several months back, and while he
        mocked several people who disagreed with him in his response, he did not
        bother to address this at all.

        Also, Cox will not disclose funding sources for his personal consultancy.
        If he did, we would probably get an even clearer picture of where his
        predictable conclusions about transit come from. More on this below.

        This is an email I sent to my classmates awhile back, detailing how to track
        the relationship between corporate interest and libertarian "research."
        Enjoy--
        -------------------------------
        Generally, these articles by Cox, Randall O'Toole, and others are published
        by a variety of "think tanks" or public policy groups around the country.
        Many of them are highly libertarian and ideological in their bent (John
        Locke Foundation), trying to dismantle as much government as humanly
        possible, while others are more pro-business and of a traditionally
        conservative bent (Reason Public Policy Foundation).

        At first glance, it is easy to say, "well, these are simply the people who
        believe very strongly in unlimited free property rights, or small
        government." If it were only that simple. Where do these think tanks get
        their money? Take a look at the Reason Foundation Annual Report, and you
        will get a better idea.
        http://www.reason.org/report.pdf

        According to this public document, published by Reason, they received $5.3
        million in income last year. Of that, 20% (or $1,060,000) came from
        corporate donations. On page 30 of the report, you will find a list of the
        95 corporate contributors who chose to be identified. Divide the total
        amount of corporate money by the 95 donors, and you get an average of
        $11,160. Multiply that by the 12 companies listed above, and you get at
        least $133,920 a year devoted to paying someone to do nothing but
        anti-transit research.

        The list includes:
        American Airlines
        American Petroleum Institute
        Chevron Corporation
        Continential Airlines
        DaimlerChrysler Corp
        Delta Airlines
        ENRON
        ExxonMobil
        Ford Motor Company
        General Motors Corporation
        National Air Transportation Association
        Shell Oil Co.

        All of these companies have a vested interest in road-building and the
        continued subsidy of cheap oil from the Middle East, or the continued
        weakening of investment in high-speed rail in the 100-500 mile distance
        range. Notice that you do not see Southwest or JetBlue on here- the
        discount carrier air strategy does not focus on hub and spoke operations to
        move people distances that are in the 100-500 mile range. More than
        anything, the airlines fear high-speed intercity rail that drops passengers
        off in convenient locations in cities, not at airports on the fringe.

        As you read reports by Wendell Cox and the various public policy groups he
        purports to be a member of- note that the articles are usually decrying rail
        investment, giving the top ten reasons to destroy Amtrak, and either
        advocating further road investment or bus rapid transit. Is this a
        coincidence? You decide.

        There are other more involved arguments about why their interpretation of
        Census data is woefully inadequate. As you guys learn about the dangers of
        aggregate data with Asad and public goods theory with Feser and Meenu, you
        will see how these factors are largely ignored in Cox's writings.

        In conclusion, as planners, it's important to confront arguments like these
        and refute them. For better or worse, Wendell Cox is considered an expert
        in transportation in this country, despite no formal training whatsoever in
        his educational background. It is our responsibility to sit with those who
        may be receptive to a critique of his claims and patiently and logically
        explain why Cox is not interested solely in community welfare.

        Final Exhibit: Cox's speaking brochure
        http://www.publicpurpose.com/pp-wcher.htm
        -----------------------------

        --
        Patrick J. McDonough
        Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Richard Risemberg [mailto:rickrise@...]
        > Sent: 06 December 2002 15:56
        > To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: "America's Epidemic of Youth
        > Obesity"--NYT article
        >
        >
        > J.H. Crawford wrote:
        >
        >
        > > I'm no fan of Wendell Cox, but his positions are more nuanced than
        > > most people think.
        > I had many long personal exchanges with Wendell Cox several years ago,
        > and I find he is an intelligent man who told me he simply doesn't
        > believe Americans will ever choose to do anything other than drive
        > personal automobiles, even given a choice,....... That no one is
        > independent
        > is beside the point; they want to feel like one wolves standing
        > silhouetted on a crag against a wild sunset even though the mirror would
        > show a bunch of pigs shouldering each other aside at the trough fo
        > publoic welfare. Note corporate welfare, after all.
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