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.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
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
> 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
> on Houston Chronicle's website, until the highway autocrats pull it, too:
> 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
> 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
> rail referendum, with this specific objective: Continuing our long
> 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
> 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
> 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
> The broad elements of the news/features package could include:
> . The story of how the Lanier-DeLay relationship began (in the early
> when Lanier was chairman of the state Hiway Commission and DeLay was a
> . 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> . 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
> 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
> this approach?
> . A primer on highway building, Houston style: Why the Southwest Freeway
> turned south and west rather than continuing due west (developer Frank
> had a hand in this).
> . Why Texas highways have frontage roads (a key to economic development)
> the first place. Sam Rayburn added them to the language in President
> Eisenhower's landmark legislation creating the Interstate Highway System
> 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
> 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,
> still wields it and to what lengths the concrete pourers will go in order
> stop rail.
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- 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:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kittyn Boi" <jbarker@...>
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 3:45 PM
Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Highway Autocrats Try To Wreck Houston Light
> Here in Floirda there was an initiative to build a bullet train between
> 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.