Monday, October 29, 2007

It was a bad news day. "Jr." and various tax activists did a protest at the river; we did our action; the congressional transit and Olympics hearing was held; Madigan had his own conference about casinos.

That's our own Pat Baxter complaining to U.S. Cong. Bobby Rush that we need things fixed now, not for the Olympics. "No bus, no Olympics!" was one of the chants we shouted going from our rally at Federal Plaza to Daley Plaza.

View the Tribune CLTV video

We did end up making a lot of noise. We disrupted the congressional hearing for about 15 minutes, then we had a well-attended rally and press conference; whereas I was very concerned that the media wouldn't even notice, we had made such a stink in the Federal Building that they sent the cameras down after us for a while. We marched to Daley Plaza and I caught word of the Madigan conference and I think they tried to go there and attend to that.

Tribune: Transit neglect is linked to Chicago's Olympic hopes
Sun-Times: Is CTA running on fumes?

We feel that HB572 may be necessary. However, we are far more interested in seeing how the service bureaus can stop wasting the money they already have. The money is available in this city. The city's annual tax revenues have more than doubled in the last 18 years. But Mayor Daley keeps siphoning things off on TIFs, squandering money on things like Millennium Park and Block 37 for his "legacy," protecting massive lucrative clout deals, and so on.

As just one among numerous examples of this kind of misappropriation, the CTA board recently passed $30 million right under our noses for more CAD/AVL technology that is absolutely unnecessary and does nothing to solve problems like bus bunching. Yet when they cut, they cut where it hurts us most. Little to no middle management, systems, administration are cut. It's always bus and train service, drivers, staff health benefits.

Most importantly, we have not had a voice at the table. After all of the editing of the busy news today, what the public mostly saw was just a bunch of suits and ties around tables; the media did not really listen to what real riders and drivers need. Even Bobby Rush was telling us that he'd be glad to talk to us "after everything else is over." I read that as "when the important stuff is dealt with." Things we pawns couldn't possibly comprehend.

We will still be discontented after Nov. 4, no matter what happens.

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