Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gazing Into Lake Tandy Thinking About Moving Back To Washington Where Voters Get To Vote

In the picture that is me and my shadow standing today on the Tandy Escarpment, above Dry Tandy Falls, looking down at the crystal clear water of Lake Tandy.

Looking at Dry Tandy Falls and Lake Tandy had me thinking about Dry Falls and crystal clear Sun Lakes in the state from whence I came, Washington.

I've blogged about Dry Falls and Sun Lakes a couple times on my Durango Washington blog in bloggings titled Sun Lakes State Park & Dry Falls and Dry Falls, Sun Lakes, Wind, Riots & Streakers.

I've been thinking about Washington a lot lately. It has been almost 5 years since I've visited the Pacific Northwest.

When I renewed my Texas driver's license, last summer, was the first I realized I'd been in Texas for over 12 years. I was a bit mortified when I realized how quickly 12 years had passed, and how old I will be after the passage of another 12 years.

If I still had a house in Washington I think I'd be moving back. But, my house in Mount Vernon was sold in 2002. There was a house waiting for me when I made the move to Texas, which made moving easy.

When I moved to Texas I knew I was moving to a much more conservative, much less progressive state than  Washington. In the years since I moved to Texas, Washington has become even more progressive and even more liberal. While Texas has sort of regressed.

The depressing, non-progressive, regressive state of being in the state of Texas was brought again to mind a couple minutes ago when I got a blog comment from Dannyboy in response to a blogging I blogged yesterday morning.

Dannyboy has left a new comment on your post "The Befuddling Mystery Of Tarrant County & Texas Public Transit": 


You are a bit wrong about Tarrant County mass transit. When it was proposed some decades ago, every city in Tarrant County had the vote to join in. Most did not, including Arlington. So it wasn't that there was "no effort" made to include the whole county, it's just that most of the county said "no" and continues to do so. It is a fact of life in North Texas. Mass transit is considered something that poor people use, and consequently, the funding and improvement of such transportation plans are not seen as important in any way. So it is a conundrum that has no simple fix. People don't use mass transit unless they have to because it is crappy in FW, but they don't want to spend anything to make it better because it is for the crappy poor people. Get it? It will never happen in FW until those attitudes change and I don't see that happening anytime soon. 

If I am understanding Dannyboy correctly, at some point in time individual towns in Tarrant County voted for or against funding mass transit. With only Fort Worth, apparently, voting yes.

Why would this not be a county wide vote, rather than having each town vote regarding its mass transit participation?

The lack of cohesive mass transit in Tarrant County affects the entire county. Why let Arlington vote no and thus make it impossible for Fort Worth residents to take mass transit to Six Flags? Or to watch the Rangers play baseball at The Ballpark in Arlington?

I remember being very perplexed when the Dallas Cowboys were demanding a new football stadium, with how, when it came time to fund the building of a new stadium, the Cowboys ceased being America's Team, the Cowboys were not North Texas' team, not the D/FW Metroplex's team, not the Dallas County team, not the Dallas team, but instead somehow it was the voter's in little Arlington, in Tarrant County, upon whom it fell to help fund a new stadium and proudly engage in one of the worst acts of eminent domain abuse in American history.

By the 1990s congestion had grown into gridlock territory on Washington's Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge. That  infamous bridge connects Tacoma to the Kitsap Peninsula. I remember shortly before I moved to Texas, in 1998, voters in the Washington counties affected by the congestion voted on whether or not to support building a second suspension bridge. The voters voted yes and have been driving over the new bridge since 2007.

If I remember correctly the new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge cost around $1 billion, about the same cost of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, with key differences being that voters voted on the bridge.

Construction began in 2002, completed 5 years later.

Meanwhile, voters have not voted on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, and well over a decade since this incredibly important Fort Worth flood control project was begun, very little can been seen of the vision. And what can be seen ain't at all pretty, visions like the Cowtown Wakeboard Park, the world's pre-eminent urban wake boarding facility.

So, why is it in Texas the voters in a county can not vote on a county-wide project? Why can't all the voters in all the counties that make up the D/FW Metroplex vote in a project that benefits everyone?

Like mass transit for poor people.....


Steve A said...

Of course, there's also Safeco Field, where the people voted "no," but the politicians built it anyway...

Durango said...

Steve A, I remember how Safeco Field came to be a bit different than the people voting no and the politicians going against their will. Were you in the Seattle zone after King County defeated the ballpark measure? The Mariners for the first time did well in the post season, which had the PNW going nuts for the Mariners and people all over WA making it known they wanted a solution to the new ballpark problem. Wikipedia sums it up well....

"King County voters defeated a ballot measure to secure public funding for a new baseball stadium. Shortly thereafter, the Mariners' first appearance in the MLB postseason and their victory in the 1995 American League Division Series renewed a public desire to keep the team in town. As a result, the Washington State Legislature approved an alternate means of funding for the stadium with public money."

Anonymous said...

Can't your eldest sister spare one of her homes?

Anonymous said...

Do you not know where you are, boy? You are in the great state of Texas, wherein the backwardest wing of the Republican Party keeps winning elections, and in whose current party platform can be found:

"Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

Durango, Texas is constantly, consistently, continually, trying to codify teh stupid. The only experiment likely to ever win support here is secession.

Durango said...

Anonymous #1, my eldest sister lives in Arizona. I don't believe she still has any houses in Washington. I used to have a sister who was older than my eldest sister, but she was been exiled to Persona Non Grataland, a place whose language I do not speak, or want to live in, or visit.

Anonymous #2, I am too stupid to constantly, consistently, continually, try to codify teh stupid.

John Basham said...

Durango the deeper question is (regarding TRWD/TRV): Why can't the people of the 13 counties "currently" affected by TRWD decisions (including eminent domain) vote for a board member that might represent their interests more fairly? Of even greater concern: A person living in the district (subject to their amazingly insightful decisions 'sarcasm') cannot run for a place on the board UNLESS they OWN property! Screw the poor! Let the land owners decide what's best for the little people (sarcasm again). Trying to make sense of ANY states laws made me lose my hair.