Saturday, June 28, 2008

Divine Justice

You just gotta laugh sometimes. About ten years ago as Mayor I was working my self to death in trying to pass a transportation tax that would fund street improvements in older parts of the city and expand the bus system. My biggest opponents were the right wing city councilors, like Greg Payne and Mike McEntee. They and the republican party did everything could to defeat the proposition at the polls by saying putting any money into bus infrastructure was a waste. We passed the 1/4 cent tax by 750 votes and I took a political beating. The tax, thanks to Greg Payne, was to sunset in 10 years.

Flash forward ten years. Bad Boy Greg Payne was hired by Marty Chavez to run the transit system. Now he is out seeking support to continue the tax because of the great things it has done for transit in this city. (He and Marty take all the credit for that.) I have thought Payne has done an okay job, much to my surprise.

In the meantime, Marty dropped a 1/8 cent tax in times of trouble for city finances so he could look good to the right wingers prior to running for Senate. We all know it didn't do him any good as he was humiliated in the first opinion polls on the race and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee told him to get lost in favor of Tom Udall.

I do feel this tax needs to be extended and a larger portion of it put into transit services. Currently only 20% of the tax goes for transit. We had wanted that share to increase every year until in reached 50%. The republican councilors back then, think Payne again, put 80% of it into roads, much of it siphoned off I suspect to new construction for developers. No one in the media seems willing to look into how the money was really spent. Still, the tax has had a positive effect on our city's transportation infrastructure needs.

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