On Tuesday, June 9, the City Council passed their budget for next year. The City Manager, with the support of only Mayor Rothschild and Councilman Kozachik, tried to balance their budget with $1.1 million in cuts to nine bus routes.
Longtime transit champion Councilwoman Karen Uhlich, wise to the games they play but not wise enough, got the council to approve the budget with agreement that any cuts to bus routes would happen only after the completion of a Transit Envisioning Process led by planner Jarret Walker and input from the City’s Transit Task Force.
It is a fact that the Jarret Walker process is not yet finished.
It is a fact that on Monday, June 8, the Task Force voted unanimously to oppose the $1.1 million route cuts as a budget balancing measure and instead evaluate all proposed changes in the near future using the Jarret Walker process as a guideline.
It is also a fact that if you get on a bus today, there will be signs informing you of the nine route cuts that will take effect on August 2.
Apparently the bureaucrats can do anything they damn well please, no matter how they are directed by Council.
Because the Bus Riders Union is starting to breathe fire about this, the city bureaucrats are scurrying to and fro, needing to manipulate the process and figure out how to put a happy face on their abandonment of the agreed upon approach to funding and maintaining transit.
It is expected that the bureaucrats will call an emergency meeting of the Transit Task Force sometime next week. The aim will be to get my fellow task force members and I to reverse our position and vote for hardship and pain for the bus-riding public.
Why? Because the City staff is not happy with how their task force voted. They are expected to demand another vote a mere two weeks after the first vote. This is saying that the Transit Task Force (and all other City Citizen Committees) are nothing more than rubber stampers. The message is: “If you don’t vote the way we want, we will coerce you into voting again in two weeks.”
This is fake democracy.
The City bureaucrats have no respect for process.
They have no respect for their own Citizen Committees.
And they have no respect for their bosses, the members of the City Council.
What can you do?
Join the Bus Riders Union at the special Task Force meeting next week. Speak at the Call to the Audience.
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