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Highway Autocrats Try To Wreck Houston Light Rail

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  • Mike Harrington
    What we have here is the highway lobby, republican representatives Tom DeLay and John Culberson and former mayor Lanier trying to counter recent polls that say
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 5, 2003
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      What we have here is the highway lobby, republican representatives Tom DeLay
      and John Culberson and former mayor Lanier trying to counter recent polls
      that say Houston light rail will win on November 4. This editorial is still
      on Houston Chronicle's website, until the highway autocrats pull it, too:

      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/2136459

      This one got removed:

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: ed_b_pes
      Houston Chronicle's website but subsequently removed. The original memo
      appeared at http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/1671002, which
      now says "no such article" exists. The following is what did exist.]

      A Houston odyssey: DeLay, Lanier and light rail
      Next November, voters in the city and across the Metropolitan Transit
      Authority service area will cast a truly important vote: They will decide
      whether Metro should be permitted to expand our rail rail system beyond the
      7-mile South Main line.
      There isn't a more critical issue on the horizon. I propose a series of
      editorials, editorial cartoons and Sounding Board columns leading up to the
      rail referendum, with this specific objective: Continuing our long standing
      efforts to make rail a permanent part of the transit mix here.
      The timing, language and approach of the paper's editorials would, of
      course, be the decision of the Editorial Board. But I suggest that they
      could be built upon and informed by a news-feature package with an equally
      specific focus: Telling the story of rail here by examining the long term
      relationship of the two key players in the local transit wars -- Rep. Tom
      DeLay and former Mayor Bob Lanier. For better or worse, (mostly worse, I
      would argue) no two have had a more significant impact on transit decisions
      here. Our readers deserve to know how they've operated to fund and promote
      an anti-rail agenda for the past two decades. This would be vital
      information for voters as they come to their decision on rail. It would also
      be highly entertaining read.
      We in Houston have our own version of the "Chinatown" story of the early
      20th century Los Angeles, when the currency of power was water: Who
      controlled it; who received it; where it came from; and where it went at
      what price. Since World War II, Houston's currency has bee concrete--
      millions of cubic yards poured for freeways.
      DeLay and Lanier have been the two central characters in our local drama.
      This urban-suburban, Republican-Democrat odd couple is bound by the belief
      highways and poured concrete are the path to a profitable future for this
      area, and its converse--the belief that mass transit must be stopped in its
      tracks.
      The broad elements of the news/features package could include:
      . The story of how the Lanier-DeLay relationship began (in the early 1980's
      when Lanier was chairman of the state Hiway Commission and DeLay was a young
      congressman)
      . Lanier the land man: Through his privately held Landar Corp., Lanier has
      long shown his prescience in purchasing land where roads would ultimately
      go. Where are his holdings? Specifically , where are his holdings along the
      Grand Parkway? How has he benefitted by the building of roads.
      . DeLay's steady rise to power in Congress. How it come about and, more
      importantly, how it was funded (by the highway lobby).
      . Lanier's rise to political power. His rift with former Mayor Kathy
      Whitmire that turned into a determination to run her off (he did and she was
      never heard from again); his controversial shifting of transit funds into
      the city budget in the much discussed "Metro transfer."
      . Bob Lanier, public kingmaker. For almost a decade, the path to public
      office in Houston has wound through Lanier's den. Mayoral and City Council
      hopefuls, congressional candidates, would-be Texas Texas legislators and
      county commissioners--all come to kiss the great man's ring and bid for his
      approval. What is protocol? Who makes introductions? What is the
      quid-pro-quo? And, the $64 question: How has Lanier managed to promote
      himself as the patron saint of inner city Houston while working with DeLay
      to promote a relentlessly suburban/freeway/anti-rail funding agenda at all
      levels of government?
      . Ground zero for November: The campaign led by DeLay and Lenier to defeat
      rail expansion. Who is doing the funding? What is the history of the San
      Antonio-based think tank doing the the research to discredit rail?
      Any number of sidebar topics also come to mind:
      . The Fort Bend mayors who are bucking DeLay and Lanier to bring commuter
      rail to the thousands of Fort Bend residents who work in the Medical Center.
      . Laniers involvement in the lawsuit brought by former Houston Councilman
      Robb Todd to hold up the South Main light rail project.
      . Elyse Lanier: From jewelry salesperson to Houston political insider.
      . The Greater Houston Partnership and the clean-air saga. When the
      Environmental Protection Agency put clean-air deadlines on the Houston
      region in the early 1990's, the Partnership resisted mightily. The thinking
      was: We have the political connections in Washington--from George Bush and
      Bill Archer to DeLay and Lloyd Bentson-- to stall and stonewall until this
      all goes away. What went wrong? What was the Chronicle's role in supporting
      this approach?
      . A primer on highway building, Houston style: Why the Southwest Freeway
      turned south and west rather than continuing due west (developer Frank Sharp
      had a hand in this).
      . Why Texas highways have frontage roads (a key to economic development) in
      the first place. Sam Rayburn added them to the language in President
      Eisenhower's landmark legislation creating the Interstate Highway System in
      the 1950's. At whose bidding?
      This is a story in urgent need of telling, and an editorial position of
      equal urgency. Voters deserve to know the history of how Houston came to be
      a city of freeways well before they decide about rail's future next
      November. They need to know who has wielded the power to pour concrete, who
      still wields it and to what lengths the concrete pourers will go in order to
      stop rail.
    • Kittyn Boi
      Here in Floirda there was an initiative to build a bullet train between Tamp and Miami, but I believe Jeb Bush and some of his people tried to gut that as
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 5, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Here in Floirda there was an initiative to build a bullet train between Tamp
        and Miami, but I believe Jeb Bush and some of his people tried to gut that
        as well. Although I think it's fate is still up inthe air.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 4:31 PM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Highway Autocrats Try To Wreck Houston Light Rail


        > What we have here is the highway lobby, republican representatives Tom
        DeLay
        > and John Culberson and former mayor Lanier trying to counter recent polls
        > that say Houston light rail will win on November 4. This editorial is
        still
        > on Houston Chronicle's website, until the highway autocrats pull it, too:
        >
        > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/2136459
        >
        > This one got removed:
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: ed_b_pes
        > Houston Chronicle's website but subsequently removed. The original memo
        > appeared at http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/1671002, which
        > now says "no such article" exists. The following is what did exist.]
        >
        > A Houston odyssey: DeLay, Lanier and light rail
        > Next November, voters in the city and across the Metropolitan Transit
        > Authority service area will cast a truly important vote: They will decide
        > whether Metro should be permitted to expand our rail rail system beyond
        the
        > 7-mile South Main line.
        > There isn't a more critical issue on the horizon. I propose a series of
        > editorials, editorial cartoons and Sounding Board columns leading up to
        the
        > rail referendum, with this specific objective: Continuing our long
        standing
        > efforts to make rail a permanent part of the transit mix here.
        > The timing, language and approach of the paper's editorials would, of
        > course, be the decision of the Editorial Board. But I suggest that they
        > could be built upon and informed by a news-feature package with an equally
        > specific focus: Telling the story of rail here by examining the long term
        > relationship of the two key players in the local transit wars -- Rep. Tom
        > DeLay and former Mayor Bob Lanier. For better or worse, (mostly worse, I
        > would argue) no two have had a more significant impact on transit
        decisions
        > here. Our readers deserve to know how they've operated to fund and promote
        > an anti-rail agenda for the past two decades. This would be vital
        > information for voters as they come to their decision on rail. It would
        also
        > be highly entertaining read.
        > We in Houston have our own version of the "Chinatown" story of the early
        > 20th century Los Angeles, when the currency of power was water: Who
        > controlled it; who received it; where it came from; and where it went at
        > what price. Since World War II, Houston's currency has bee concrete--
        > millions of cubic yards poured for freeways.
        > DeLay and Lanier have been the two central characters in our local drama.
        > This urban-suburban, Republican-Democrat odd couple is bound by the belief
        > highways and poured concrete are the path to a profitable future for this
        > area, and its converse--the belief that mass transit must be stopped in
        its
        > tracks.
        > The broad elements of the news/features package could include:
        > . The story of how the Lanier-DeLay relationship began (in the early
        1980's
        > when Lanier was chairman of the state Hiway Commission and DeLay was a
        young
        > congressman)
        > . Lanier the land man: Through his privately held Landar Corp., Lanier has
        > long shown his prescience in purchasing land where roads would ultimately
        > go. Where are his holdings? Specifically , where are his holdings along
        the
        > Grand Parkway? How has he benefitted by the building of roads.
        > . DeLay's steady rise to power in Congress. How it come about and, more
        > importantly, how it was funded (by the highway lobby).
        > . Lanier's rise to political power. His rift with former Mayor Kathy
        > Whitmire that turned into a determination to run her off (he did and she
        was
        > never heard from again); his controversial shifting of transit funds into
        > the city budget in the much discussed "Metro transfer."
        > . Bob Lanier, public kingmaker. For almost a decade, the path to public
        > office in Houston has wound through Lanier's den. Mayoral and City Council
        > hopefuls, congressional candidates, would-be Texas Texas legislators and
        > county commissioners--all come to kiss the great man's ring and bid for
        his
        > approval. What is protocol? Who makes introductions? What is the
        > quid-pro-quo? And, the $64 question: How has Lanier managed to promote
        > himself as the patron saint of inner city Houston while working with DeLay
        > to promote a relentlessly suburban/freeway/anti-rail funding agenda at all
        > levels of government?
        > . Ground zero for November: The campaign led by DeLay and Lenier to defeat
        > rail expansion. Who is doing the funding? What is the history of the San
        > Antonio-based think tank doing the the research to discredit rail?
        > Any number of sidebar topics also come to mind:
        > . The Fort Bend mayors who are bucking DeLay and Lanier to bring commuter
        > rail to the thousands of Fort Bend residents who work in the Medical
        Center.
        > . Laniers involvement in the lawsuit brought by former Houston Councilman
        > Robb Todd to hold up the South Main light rail project.
        > . Elyse Lanier: From jewelry salesperson to Houston political insider.
        > . The Greater Houston Partnership and the clean-air saga. When the
        > Environmental Protection Agency put clean-air deadlines on the Houston
        > region in the early 1990's, the Partnership resisted mightily. The
        thinking
        > was: We have the political connections in Washington--from George Bush and
        > Bill Archer to DeLay and Lloyd Bentson-- to stall and stonewall until this
        > all goes away. What went wrong? What was the Chronicle's role in
        supporting
        > this approach?
        > . A primer on highway building, Houston style: Why the Southwest Freeway
        > turned south and west rather than continuing due west (developer Frank
        Sharp
        > had a hand in this).
        > . Why Texas highways have frontage roads (a key to economic development)
        in
        > the first place. Sam Rayburn added them to the language in President
        > Eisenhower's landmark legislation creating the Interstate Highway System
        in
        > the 1950's. At whose bidding?
        > This is a story in urgent need of telling, and an editorial position of
        > equal urgency. Voters deserve to know the history of how Houston came to
        be
        > a city of freeways well before they decide about rail's future next
        > November. They need to know who has wielded the power to pour concrete,
        who
        > still wields it and to what lengths the concrete pourers will go in order
        to
        > stop rail.
        >
        >
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        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
      • Mike Harrington
        Tom DeLay, one of Dubya s good buddies in Congress, got DeeCee to pass a law forbidding federal rail funding for the Harris County Metropolitan Transit
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 5, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          Tom DeLay, one of Dubya's good buddies in Congress, got DeeCee to pass a law
          forbidding federal rail funding for the Harris County Metropolitan Transit
          Authority. Now, a man who also frequently reminds us what a truly wonderful
          and squeaky clean Christian he is, John Culberson republican Rep TX 7th, has
          resorted to dirty tricks as DeLay's and Shrub's front man to stop the
          Houston light rail referendum. Culberson is one of the principal sponsors
          of the Katy Freeway expansion project, last year touted as $1 billion, now
          projected at $1.7 billion because of all the land they have to acquire to
          build it. Of course, no referendum was needed on that or any other freeway
          in Houston, since it's what all freedom-loving, smirking, spoiled rich kids
          like Dubya want. There's nothing these madmen will stop at to prevent the
          paving over of Houston and the rest of North America. Nobody's town
          anywhere in the USA or anywhere else is safe as long as these sickos are in
          power. The highway cabal see the polls aren't going their way, and they
          resort to shock and awe, at your expense, of course. Wrapping themselves in
          the flag, the "freedom" they harangue everyone about is their freedom to
          bombard that population 24/7 with their never-ending string of lies. Rupert
          Murdock and godfather Dick Cheney ought to be proud of them, along with
          Joseph Goebbels. After all, they're the ones getting rich from this
          continued rape of America's cities and working class.

          Here's my website for the day:

          http://www.dubyaspeak.com/



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Kittyn Boi" <jbarker@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 3:45 PM
          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Highway Autocrats Try To Wreck Houston Light
          Rail


          > Here in Floirda there was an initiative to build a bullet train between
          Tamp
          > and Miami, but I believe Jeb Bush and some of his people tried to gut that
          > as well. Although I think it's fate is still up inthe air.
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