‘Bright’ doesn’t make ‘right' on TSPLOST
May 01, 2012 12:00 AM | 1780 views | 14 14 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

An almost constant drumbeat of negative opinion regarding a proposal to alleviate transportation congestion in metro Atlanta, while enhancing much-needed economic progress for the area, continues to be disappointing to those in favor of marching forward to take advantage of this opportunity, sooner than later. Advocates of a “YES” vote on the TSPLOST referendum in July understand there may not be a “later” opportunity of this scale. It took years for the Georgia General Assembly and other leaders to even put the issue on the table. And the admittedly imperfect resulting legislation seems to have happened only after Georgia’s transportation problems were obviously proving a detriment to the quality of life and growth of the state.

Now we learn that the “drumbeat” that had characterized the efforts of the “nay-sayers” to defeat this proposition for months needs more “grass roots” support, more community organizing, more letters to the editor, more activists, etc., to overcome the investments of business, along with some forward-thinking political leaders throughout metro Atlanta, to tell the story of the need for passage of TSPLOST or TIA. It’s not as though the opponents of a favorable vote have not had their voices and opinions front and center. That is a tribute to Cobb County’s influential daily newspaper, which has given plentiful news coverage to these “anti” views of some elected legislators and would-be officials — most backed by editorials, columnists and letter writers, several of whom are respected friends.

As has been advanced previously by some of us who applaud the action called for by the TSPLOST referendum, presentation of the facts regarding the transportation problem facing the metro community, including Cobb, is the best way to achieve success. Taking advantage of voter lack of knowledge, conveying misinformation, name-calling, opposition to any taxpayer support of transit — a necessary public service to thoughtful moderate conservatives — are among some of opposition reasons set forth to win over the “undecided.“ And some may work, but expression of contrary views — and facts — should not be out of order in this debate.

Such issues as the TSPLOST proposal often lead to citizen involvement in the affairs of the “republic” that many folks prefer to keep to themselves until they enter the voting booth. This letter writer generally is in the “private” category, except with family and close friends. He regrets the fact that often the U.S., as a “republic” (a democratic republic), is not well understood by many citizens, including school children, politicians, news media staff members and educators. Too many think most changes in government policy and leadership should be made “on the streets,“ frequently egged on by “community organizers” and populated by ill-informed “activists.“ More often than not, this lack of understanding by those who should know better can lead to “mobocracy” taking the place of “democracy” which seems to have replaced the understanding of “representative” government. This situation prompts questions about the quoted plan to create a “grass roots” campaign to sink TSPLOST. However, it’s obvious most anything goes these days.

In concluding this commentary, this writer would point out that a recent survey by the leading organizational proponent of automobile travel in the U.S. shows that due to various factors, the average cost of driving in the U.S. has risen to nearly 60 cents a mile. As one who has had advocacy roles, professionally and avocationally, for more than half a century involving automobiles, airlines, passenger rail, ship building, and ports, my ecumenical transportation experience these days is focused on passenger rail, the least politically and financially supported transportation mode in the U.S. Light rail transit may or may not be appropriate for Cobb now, but to decry it, as many do, is evidence of not being well informed. The Cobb antipathy for MARTA, which contributed much to this metro area’s world ranking, is also hard to understand, but that matter is for another time.

A parting thought: Most, if not all, opponents of TSPLOST are obviously “bright” individuals. But history has shown on more than one occasion that being “bright” does not necessarily lead to being “right.”

Dick Hodges

East Cobb
Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 17, 2012
I, too, love rail transportation. Getting around in New York City is a breeze because of it. But, I don't think the Atlanta region has the population density to support the cost of building it. My biggest objection to the proposed Cobb County to Arts Center line is that Cobb pays for all of it when most of it runs through Atlanta/Fulton County. It just won't do much to help Cobb.

But my biggest objection to making any decision right now is that we don't know enough. An important study is due out later this year, after the vote, that will tell us more. We should not committ to a ten year spending "plan" when we don't know what is or should be IN the plan.

I am hugely disappointed in our state legislature and will not vote for a single incumbent, I don't care how stupid the opponent.
May 17, 2012
"The Cobb antipathy for MARTA, which contributed much to this metro area’s world ranking, is also hard to understand..."

Wow, Mr. Hodges is definitely not in the "bright" category.
Kennesaw Voter
May 16, 2012
The TSPLOST is the WRONG financial vehicle to build a rail line to Cobb County and that is the biggest reason people are against it. The County to vote to join the MARTA system and then pay the tax and get MARTA. The TSPLOST is clearly a back door way to circumvent the will of the people and that is not right.

BTW, Mr. Hodges, your letter is verbose and in need of some serious editing in order to make it more clear; that comment is me using my emperical knowledge regarding the written word.
May 16, 2012
One question MDJ

Why did you post Mr. Hodges letter again?

For some much needed comic relief on this TSPLOST issue?

It didn't work.

The first time I read his poor attempt to "educate" the ignorant masses in Cobb County based on his ecumenical transportation experience was pitifully comical, but this time it just irritates me.
anyone in Cobb
May 03, 2012
who votes for TSPLOST is a complete fool
May 02, 2012
Having lived near areas that have "light rail", I cannot tell you how eagerly I await the tracks, which are usually followed by above street towers supporting those tracks. I know that is not the vision of those who propose light rail. They envision scenic plazas with tourists waiting for the vehicles in an artist concept that reflects beauty and suburban serenity. Got to the Loop in Chi, the Bronx in NY, many areas of the MTA in Boston.

I have and I see ugliness, not beauty. Rail or to be frank, any transportation system, usually illustrates the expression --unexpected consequences. 16454.
Mike Sims
May 01, 2012
I'm always amazed by those who would decry freedom of speech under the banner of "others know what is best for us". To me it is apparent Mr Hodges prefers speech control over freedom.

May 01, 2012
Unfortunately the grass roots opposition that you so arrogantly object to and ridicule does not have access to the multi millions of $ in donations that have been pumped into the advertising coffers of the pro-TSPLOST propaganda machines.

Your comment about "most anything goes these days" is correct and it is exemplified by the misinformation, half truths and outright lies being spread by MAVEN and other like minded TSPLOST proponents.

Thanks to the MDJ and other objective sources there are at least a few remaining forums that informed citizens can utilize to express their views on this issue.

But don't worry Mr. Hodges, the ethically compromised politicians, self interested business leaders, transportation related special interest groups and greedy developers that will unfairly profit from this transportation debacle are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

As much as I hate to admit it they are probably going to be successful in hoodwinking enough of the gullible and uniformed voters in the Atlanta Metro area into voting for this disgraceful non solution to pass it.

May 01, 2012
--RE:"The Cobb antipathy for MARTA, which contributed much to this metro area’s world ranking, is also hard to understand, but that matter is for another time."--

Yes. As I have traveled around the world over the past quarter century, everyone I meet always tells me of all the great things they have heard about MARTA. If I had a dollar for every time the Japanese, French, German, Swiss and Swedish people I have met raved on about how MARTA has made Atlanta the envy of their world, I would...not even have a dollar.

Mr. Hodges, lay off the goof gas, dude.

PS - Did Sam Kelly write this for you?
May 01, 2012

Thank you for your informative, although somewhat pompous, lecture Mr. Hodges.

I now see the error of my ignorant redneck ways.

It seems that my common sense analysis of the TSPLOST is obviously flawed.

Based solely on your "ecumenical" transportation experience and knowledge I am definitely going to vote for the TSPLOST even though I haven't been able to make sense of it.

Obviously I am just not smart enough or experienced and knowledgable enough to come to my own conclusions.

I thought that we were trying to resolve our regional transportation issues, but based on your learned analysis it seems that I am totally off target and stupid.

From now on I am going to believe every bit of information, no matter how unbelievable, force fed to me by MAVEN and the all knowing proponents of the TSPLOST and march to the voting booth like a mind numbed zombie and cast my vote for the referendum.

What choice do I have now that you so graciously have enlightened me!!

Boot Tim Lee
May 01, 2012
Since when is it right for the commission chairman to promise not to raise property taxes if the SPLOST is approved; then vote raise property taxes after the SPLOST taxes are approved? Not only is my NO vote on the regional tax a protest of being lied to, I hope to BOOT TIM LEE out on election day for LYING to us all. County citizens are not impressed with Tim Lee trying to bring MARTA right through the Marietta Square.
Boot yourself
May 01, 2012
Boot Tim, AKA his election opponent, I have heard enough to know I will not be voting for you. All you do is whine about nonsense. Your opposition to MARTA shows your true colors.
Mad As Zell
May 01, 2012
"The Cobb antipathy for MARTA, which contributed much to this metro area’s world ranking, is also hard to understand, but that matter is for another time."

The Cobb "antipathy", as Mr. Hodges puts it, is actually VERY easy to understand as any community with half-a-brain would resist the conduit for crime, corruption and mismanagement that MARTA is for this region.

Too bad that Mr. Hodges does not seem to understand that Conservative Cobb taxpayers and most American citizens do not want their hard-earned income going to support a corrupt and crime-ridden welfare state in Atlanta and we certainly don't want to pay to help that corrupt welfare state grow to swallow Cobb County by paying for the communist government malfeasance that is MARTA, the City of Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb Counties.

And, also, Mr. Hodges, I took the liberty of fixing the last line of your letter for you:

"A parting thought: Not many, if any, PROPONENTS of TSPLOST are obviously “bright” individuals. But history has shown on more than one occasion that not being all that “bright” does not lead to being “right.”"

Mr. Hodges, if you love the corruption and incompetence that is MARTA as much as you seem to love it, then it is strongly suggested that you move into Atlanta with all of the other whiney socialist pinkos so that you enjoy the crime-ridden inner-city slumlife up close and personal as your far-left wing moonbat fantasy of MARTA and trains will NEVER be a reality in Cobb County.

As long as there is a Cobb County, I and the people of Cobb County will never pay our hard-earned tax dollars to support the debacle that is the corrupt welfare state that is Atlanta.

Cobb for Life
May 01, 2012
Mad As Zell,

Your comments to Mr. Hodges are so right on, there is really no need for me to add much except this...

Mr. Hodges, if you want to win voters to your side, ranting and demeaning them for 6 long paragraphs, with extremely wordy sentences is not the approach to take. The folks with CID are probably calling you names now.
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