Quit Screwing Around With the Rail Runner
So the Rio Metro Board has decided, albeit by a narrow margin, to eliminate weekend Rail Runner service. As es el Nuevo Mexico. Cutting back anything related to the Rail Runner is a truly bad idea. Bad because the Rail Runner is a train, and trains are the wave of the future, not the past. Let’s review some basics here:
We all hear about the starring role rail plays in property values and in the redevelopment and renewal of inner cities and first-ring suburbs. But there are many other benefits to rail transportation; benefits you don’t have to be a developer or real estate agent to relate to.
Modern rail in all its forms—intercity, commuter, heavy, light—is superior to all other modes of motorized transportation in these and other aspects: fuel, energy economy (carbon footprint), long vehicle life, long right-of-way life, thrifty use of land and materials, lower maintenance costs, security, reliability, increasing your take-home pay, and stretching your tax dollars.
Besides providing a smooth and safe commute to work or school, rail also promotes tourism, carefree day-tripping, and the use of bus and non-motorized transportation of all kinds. And here’s a big one: People of all ages, colors and income levels like trains!
If you’re putting out a new product and are not certain of its long-term success, you don’t nibble away at the quality of the product, making it less desirable. You invest what it takes to make your product as attractive as possible ‘til it starts selling itself. This works for a lot worse things than good transportation. Commuter rail and rail transit are howling successes all over the North American West, but they did not get that way through timid half-measures and a nearsighted interpretation of cost vs. investment.
The actions of the Rio Metro Board are understandable at an everyday level. It, like most of America, is operating in a context of financial scarcity. Why this scarcity exists, and who’s got all the money, are major concerns for our country and state, and cry out for intelligent investigation and righteous public anger. We should also be alert to the possibility that we’ve just seen first blood; that the vested interests and flat-Earth types plan to kill this bird one cut at a time.
For the problem at hand, however, listen to the people themselves. In a process not unlike what’s been happening with Amtrak, transportation consumers in large (and increasing) numbers are voting with their time and their money. Amtrak carries more and more people every month, almost despite itself (there’s a topic for another article, but some very smart people are working on that one). The Rail Runner enjoys a similar popularity, despite its status as a “starter” service.
Raise the fares a little. Go after all those affluent tax dodgers. Hell, hold car washes and bake sales at the station stops. But don’t hack to death one of New Mexico’s relatively few claims to membership in the 21st Century.
The only thing wrong with the Rail Runner is that it’s just a bare beginning.
Eat the Rich
Tax increases on the rich MUST be on the table for debt reduction talks. I am furious with the Republicans for pulling out of the debt reduction talks with the Democrats because they are not getting their way. House Speaker Boehner declared that "tax hikes are off the table." What the Democrats really want to do is to reduce the tax breaks on the rich, and the Republicans want no part of it.
The Bush tax cuts were one of the major things that caused us in getting in such a debt mess. And we need to correct this. Our tax rate is currently the lowest in 60 years, lower than under President Reagan. In fact, the top 400 richest Americans possess more wealth then half of all Americans in our country (that's 150 million Americans). Also, the top 1 percent of Americans possess more than 80 percent of the wealth in this country. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer is a sad fact. The key mandate of the Republican party is to protect the rich by all means possible. The Republican argument that taxing the rich will keep them from creating more jobs is a lie and they know it.
President Obama had his hands tied early this year in trying to end the Bush tax cuts on millionaires. Now the Republicans are fighting Obama again in our debt-reduction talks on this very issue. In polling, the majority of Americans feel the rich should be taxed more but, of course, the Republicans are not listening. Americans need to contact their representatives and start speaking their minds on this issue. We can't let the Republicans continue this destructive policy of protecting the rich and destroying our country anymore.
Kat Curious was somewhat right about dating in your forties [ Ask Kat Curious, June 23-29] and dating in Albuquerque, but missed a few things.
She's right about doing what it takes to be interesting but only touched on being positive. There is positively always something fun about wherever you are and whoever you're talking to. Find it. That's what you dwell on. Regarding being interesting, Dale Carnegie is right. Learn to shut up. Also, shut off the TV and disconnect from the Internet for a couple hours every day (both at the same time and outside of work). You'll have no choice but to become more social and interesting.
The thing Kat should have picked up on is that you're 44 and mixing with "the youngsters" in THEIR venues. That makes you the creepy old guy unless, maybe, you actually own the place. The whole "I still got it!" line is BS. If a woman wants a young man's body/attitude she'll pick a young man. If you want a younger woman, actually any woman, then you have to offer what she wants in a man YOUR age. Just realize that, like men, a whole lot of women are rather shallow and youth-oriented. Learn to recognize and avoid them so you can concentrate on the thousands of better and saner possibilities within just miles of your home.
Which brings us to ... Kat is completely wrong about the Albuquerque dating pool. It runs wide and deep. As any decent marketing pro knows, the more options you give a customer, they less likely they are to choose anything. This has been observed in dating too. Albuquerque is certainly big enough that both women and men are facing a confusion of choices. If you aren't facing a confusion of choices then it's because you've intentionally or unintentionally taken yourself out of the game.
[Re: Blog, “Details on Burque’s best-organized high-class prostitution ring,” June 23] Alright, I know this story still counts as "developing", but earlier the police were claiming services ran from $80 to $850.
That being said, is it just me, or does APD's own story basically say that vice officers actually paid for and had sex with some of the prostitutes to reach "trusted" status? Is that even a legal method of investigation? Also, until we see more information, I'm going to remain suspicious of the fact that so far, only college professors are getting caught up in this thing.
And what kind of idiot runs a site like this and then logs in from a public location with an unsecured network?
Also, I'm going to assume that is a typo in the final graph, and that it should read December 2010, rather than 2011 ... Though I wouldn't put it past APD to try and investigate from the future ...
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