Posts about Tom Coburn
announced his intention to move the team to Prince George's County, though he has no firm deal yet. Owner Victor McFarlane wanted DC to pay 75% of the cost of the new stadium, the Post writes, potentially costing DC up to $225 million in public money. McFarlane also offered to "let" DC use some of the tax revenue from ticket and concession sales (which it ought to get anyway) to the construction, Yet according to WTOP, the team will pay the full cost of a Maryland stadium.
Vélib not dying: The operator of Paris's extremely successful Vélib bike sharing program is claiming high rates of theft and vandalism. Streetsblog explains that it's a negotiating tactic by private operator JCDecaux to get more money from the city. Don't be surprised if Clear Channel pulls something similar one day regarding SmartBike.
Greenbelt wants zoning control: Prince George's state delegates can't agree on whether to let municipalities make their own land use decisions. Doing so could enable towns to force better quality developments in their borders, but could also start a race to the bottom where towns try to attract big auto-dependent malls right at the edges of town, raising tax revenue while pushing undesirable traffic effects off on the neighboring jurisdiction.
Et tu, Schume? New York's arts organizations are upset with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for voting for Tom Coburn's amendment prohibiting spending stimulus money on casinos, zoos, swimming pools, parks, museums, theaters, art centers, highway beautification projects, and more. Schumer says he didn't read the amendment before voting for it, and though it only applied to casinos and golf courses.
Cleveland Park anti-walkability association: The Cleveland Park Citizens Association is meeting Sunday to consider a resolution on the proposed Wisconsin Giant. Giant supporters point out that CPCA has already filed to be a party in opposition at next Thursday's Zoning Commission hearing, prior to letting members vote on the association's position. Supporters encourage CPCA members to show up and vote against the opposition resolution.
Sorry, Alexandria: There will be no Metro service at or through Pentagon this weekend. Shuttle buses will connect Pentagon City, Pentagon, and L'Enfant Plaza. Track Twenty-Nine has a handy map and more information.
And: GOOD compares the fuel usage of various modes of transportation over the same distances. Bikes win, buses come in second. ... Casey Trees is running a workshop for homeowners to learn how to plant their own trees. Attendees get a free tree. Tip: Lynda. ... Another DC (area) to NYC bus is starting up. This one, TripperBus, will stop in Rosslyn, Bethesda, and midtown Manhattan. Will it take Wisconsin Avenue between the two? If so, might a stop in Georgetown draw a lot of riders?
Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are leading a small group of centrist Senators which, reportedly, is trying to cut the stimulus by about $100 billion. Supposedly, they feel the stimulus is too large. But according to a memo obtained by The Plum Line, they're also adding in some items as well.
According to the memo, they hope to cut $3.4 billion from public transit, but at the same time, are adding in more money for "additional transportation funding." Presumably, if they're cutting transit, that additional funding would go to roads. (It might be airports, I suppose, but I doubt it.)
They're also cutting such items as Head Start, food stamps, child nutrition, firefighters, COPS hiring, NASA, and the CDC, while adding funding for defense operations and procurement.
The Senators reportedly in the room are Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Tester (D-MT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Jim Webb (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Udall (D-CO), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and George Voinovich (R-OH). We don't know if all of them support these cuts or not (Carper is a big rail advocate, for example).
This group seemed to be trying to take the mantle of the "responsible" people limiting the stimulus' excess. Of course, many economists think the stimulus is, if anything, not large enough. If it is to shrink, we should cut those items that won't spend the money right away. Those of you in defense can correct me if I'm wrong, but any new defense spending would end up going to projects pretty far down the road. Meanwhile, giving poor families food stamps and hiring more police can be spent right away.
Few people actually believed Collins, Nelson, and the rest of this "gang" were trying to actually be responsible spenders. It's clear, now, that they aren't even trying to make it look that way.
Update: The Senate just approved an amendment from Tom Coburn (R-OK) that prohibits using any stimulus money on any "any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project." How, exactly, does Coburn know that spending on a zoo, park, theater or highway beautification doesn't stimulate the economy, while all the other crap in the bill does?
Tom Coburn comes off looking a lot like Congressman William Huston Natcher, the closest thing to a villain in the book. Natcher held up Metro funding for years because DC refused to build freeways like the Three Sisters Bridge (which would have generally conencted the Whitehurst to the Spout Run Parkway).
Schrag's answer was less satisfying when an anti-Purple Line caller (starting at 18:58) claimed that the line would "exacerbate class differences" and "wipe out small communities." Schrag claimed that's unavoidable in a "capitalist system", but missed a chance to discuss (perhaps because this is outside his field) how public investment in roads has created much greater class differences by causing disinvestment in cities or forcing working-class people to live far from their jobs. Maybe Kojo can get Christopher Leinberger on the show next; in the meantime, I encourage everyone to read The Option of Urbanism.
I won't be able to post much the rest of the week. But here are some links to keep you entertained:
Pope also doesn't cause the end of the world: The "Metro handling crowds fine" stories continue as the Pope's visit creates "crowded but calm" conditions on Metro.
NYC building 34th Street transitway: 34th Street will be redesigned for BRT service and, eventually, a full transitway with no private auto traffic between 5th and 6th Avenues. This should speed up one of the borough's slowest crosstown buses, which averaged only 3.4 MPH in 2005.
News flash: Coburn a complete nutcase: Senator Tom Coburn thinks it's "steal[ing] opportunity from our children" for the Federal government to chip in for a Metro system half of whose riders are employees of said government. Building highways, of course, is still just dandy though.
- Latest Metro map drafts add Anacostia parks and other tweaks
- Bikeshare is a gateway to private biking, not competition
- Short-term Washingtonians deserve a voice, too
- DC Council makes major policy changes overnight
- Public land deals have both benefits and pitfalls
- Judge denies injunction against closing schools
- Parklets give every block a little park