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kermit

Political Digression Thread -- Save UP! Move the politically focused stuff here

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Political rants in decent threads are now out of hand (and I'll admit to being one of the worst offenders). I really don't enjoy political discussions, but it really is a fundamental aspect of discussions of development at every scale so it unfortunately leads us away from the specific topic of the threads. So, in an effort to minimize OT digressions in substantive threads I am going to (hopefully) move my rants here so the discussion can be easily ignored by non-participants and other sensible folk.

 

From the Streetcar thread:

7 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

 The reality is there were countess private streetcar and rail lines all over the US.  They balanced profit and pricing.  In fact, it was only when Government entered the picture and then was purchased by the auto industry did things go down the drain. 

As I said before, the private streetcar companies had several advantages that are difficult to replicate in the modern era. They were able to:

  • Offer transportation without competing with heavily subsidized autos (gas tax, free parking mandates, sprawling zoning etc.)
  • Purchase land for redevelopment that was close enough to the CBD to ensure quick commutes that was cheap (it was farmland)
  • Purchase / lease / be given very cheap ROW from the city

So while we did have privately operated transit in the past it was enabled by a set of conditions which are very difficult to replicate today. Saying that 'private transit worked here once' is no different than saying 'banning cars in central Paris works so lets do it in Charlotte.'

Having said the above I'll be a 'hipo-criticizer' and say the the privatization experience with inter-city public transportation has been problematic. It is the most expensive in Europe per mile and is facing significant public pushback due to poor service quality. There is serious talk (even among Torries) of re-nationalization since voters believe that the system is not effectively or efficiently serving the public. The political ad below points out the irony that government rail operators in Germany, France and the Netherlands are extracting profits for their citizens by operating UK trains (poorly) under the franchise contracts.

 

 

 

Edited by kermit
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2 hours ago, kermit said:

Political rants in decent threads are now out of hand (and I'll admit to being one of the worst offenders). I really don't enjoy political discussions, but it really is a fundamental aspect of discussions of development at every scale.  I also believe it is important to provide alternative perspectives and evidence that might refute fake news, propaganda and incomplete opinions before they start to be taken at face value by readers here. So, in an effort to minimize OT digressions in other threads I am going to (hopefully) move my rants here so the discussion can be easily dodged by non-participants and other sensible folk.

From the Streetcar thread:

As I said before, the private streetcar companies had several advantages that are difficult to replicate in the modern era. They were able to:

  • Offer transportation without competing with heavily subsidized autos (gas tax, free parking mandates, sprawling zoning etc.)
  • Purchase land for redevelopment that was close enough to the CBD to ensure quick commutes that was cheap (it was farmland)
  • Purchase / lease / be given very cheap ROW from the city

So while we did have privately operated transit in the past it was enabled by a set of conditions which are very difficult to replicate today. Saying that 'private transit worked here once' is no different than saying 'banning cars in central Paris works so lets do it in Charlotte.'

Having said the above I'll be a 'hipo-criticizer' and say the the privatization experience with inter-city public transportation has been problematic. It is the most expensive in Europe per mile and is facing significant public pushback due to poor service quality. There is serious talk (even among Torries) of re-nationalization since voters believe that the system is not effectively or efficiently serving the public. The political ad below points out the irony that government rail operators in Germany, France and the Netherlands are extracting profits for their citizens by operating UK trains (poorly) under the franchise contracts.

 

There is a difference between political rants and discussing public/private development.  You're arrogance in moving my comment here with the backhanded comment of suggesting my view is not something a sensible person would be interested makes you look like a jerk.   This opinion may not be shared by the UP circlejerk group think but it's really uncalled for.  

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3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

There is a difference between political rants and discussing public/private development.  You're arrogance in moving my comment here with the backhanded comment of suggesting my view is not something a sensible person would be interested makes you look like a jerk.   This opinion may not be shared by the UP circlejerk group think but it's really uncalled for.  

I did not intend to label your quote as political BS, my sloppy thread title did create that impression (I was distracted by the libertarian debate) and for that I apologize. Having said that:

1) I was sharing my view that you were taking a dogmatic view of history. Since we have already discussed that subject once in the thread I didn't think it was necessary to repeat that there. Do you disagree with my critique of your perspective? Its kinda hard to tell from your post.

2) Your past and present behavior here does not suggest to me that you are a fair or reasonable arbiter of what is appropriate behavior (e.g. 'circlejerk').

 

Edited by kermit

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On 5/30/2017 at 3:47 PM, kermit said:

I did not intend to label your quote as political BS, my sloppy thread title did create that impression (I was distracted by the libertarian debate) and for that I apologize. Having said that:

1) I was sharing my view that you were taking a dogmatic view of history. Since we have already discussed that subject once in the thread I didn't think it was necessary to repeat that there. Do you disagree with my critique of your perspective? Its kinda hard to tell from your post.

2) Your past and present behavior here does not suggest to me that you are a fair or reasonable arbiter of what is appropriate behavior (e.g. 'circlejerk').

 

Don't apologize to him kermit.  I liked your idea.

 

Do me a favor though and challenge Dale to a debate so I can get my popcorn.

Edited by ah59396
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On 5/30/2017 at 3:47 PM, kermit said:

I did not intend to label your quote as political BS, my sloppy thread title did create that impression (I was distracted by the libertarian debate) and for that I apologize. Having said that:

1) I was sharing my view that you were taking a dogmatic view of history. Since we have already discussed that subject once in the thread I didn't think it was necessary to repeat that there. Do you disagree with my critique of your perspective? Its kinda hard to tell from your post.

2) Your past and present behavior here does not suggest to me that you are a fair or reasonable arbiter of what is appropriate behavior (e.g. 'circlejerk').

 

It's just amusing that some will champion Government being the best provider of services but then find issue when politics enter into the conversation.  Government and Politics are one in the same.  I am shocked you were distracted by the libertarian debate as I assumed the shrieking progressives would have distracted you.

As for my behavior, I speak directly and have the courage to stand up to and behind what I say.  Unlike some in this thread and MB.  I don't know anyone here in person and all I speak to are the words they write.  I don't need internet friends to stand up for me or warn others when someone speaks to me directly.  I don't bother with triggers and don't see the need for safe spaces if you're a adult.  This is the circlejerk that I mention and what is illustrated here.  

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51 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

It's just amusing that some will champion Government being the best provider of services but then find issue when politics enter into the conversation.  Government and Politics are one in the same.  I am shocked you were distracted by the libertarian debate as I assumed the shrieking progressives would have distracted you.

As for my behavior, I speak directly and have the courage to stand up to and behind what I say.  Unlike some in this thread and MB.  I don't know anyone here in person and all I speak to are the words they write.  I don't need internet friends to stand up for me or warn others when someone speaks to me directly.  I don't bother with triggers and don't see the need for safe spaces if you're a adult.  This is the circlejerk that I mention and what is illustrated here.  

So nothing to add about what the privately-owned streetcar systems of 100+ years ago might tell us about privatized transit in the US today?

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4 hours ago, kermit said:

So nothing to add about what the privately-owned streetcar systems of 100+ years ago might tell us about privatized transit in the US today?

Oh sorry.

You make some excellent points.  It didn't really counter my point that suggesting sourcing out something like a streetcar network would eventually lead to price gouging as others had suggested but it does bring up some very good examples of challenges.  

The topic as I see it is what's the most efficient and effective way for a city like Charlotte to build out a reliable mass transportation network.  I believe that it is possible for privatizing things such as mass transportation can be done to balanced profit and pricing.  

With that out of the way...I agree with your statement of "So while we did have privately operated transit in the past it was enabled by a set of conditions which are very difficult to replicate today" but I would counter with privately operated transit today would enjoy a different set of advantages.  Both for the company and for a city like Charlotte.

For example if a city like Charlotte decided to privatize it's network:

> It would not be beholden to Federal control or funds or even State funds.  Changes in DC or Raleigh wouldn't have the same impact.

> It would be able to set terms of service and not be responsible for navigating the delivery.  Things like part-time or seasonal labor could be leveraged much more in the private sector than in the public.  

There are some challenges of course but I was more speaking to the advantages.

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6 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

It's just amusing that some will champion Government being the best provider of services but then find issue when politics enter into the conversation.  Government and Politics are one in the same.  I am shocked you were distracted by the libertarian debate as I assumed the shrieking progressives would have distracted you.

As for my behavior, I speak directly and have the courage to stand up to and behind what I say.  Unlike some in this thread and MB.  I don't know anyone here in person and all I speak to are the words they write.  I don't need internet friends to stand up for me or warn others when someone speaks to me directly.  I don't bother with triggers and don't see the need for safe spaces if you're a adult.  This is the circlejerk that I mention and what is illustrated here.  

True courage is hard to find these days.

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5 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Oh sorry.

You make some excellent points.  It didn't really counter my point that suggesting sourcing out something like a streetcar network would eventually lead to price gouging as others had suggested but it does bring up some very good examples of challenges.  

The topic as I see it is what's the most efficient and effective way for a city like Charlotte to build out a reliable mass transportation network.  I believe that it is possible for privatizing things such as mass transportation can be done to balanced profit and pricing.  

With that out of the way...I agree with your statement of "So while we did have privately operated transit in the past it was enabled by a set of conditions which are very difficult to replicate today" but I would counter with privately operated transit today would enjoy a different set of advantages.  Both for the company and for a city like Charlotte.

For example if a city like Charlotte decided to privatize it's network:

> It would not be beholden to Federal control or funds or even State funds.  Changes in DC or Raleigh wouldn't have the same impact.

> It would be able to set terms of service and not be responsible for navigating the delivery.  Things like part-time or seasonal labor could be leveraged much more in the private sector than in the public.  

There are some challenges of course but I was more speaking to the advantages.

I think i see where you're going with this.  Privatize a venture that probably has no chance in hell of generating enough revenue to survive, this is no secret.  Then after 10 years or of being fully operational that blind ambition entity threatens to shut down or declare bankruptcy with only the maligned and dysfunctional government dweebs left to keep the system operational.  That's the full circle with all roads leading back to the government else the end result is tracks proliferated with crabgrass, wild onions and dirt.   Do you realize how much unused fiber optic cable (dark cable) is in the ground because a company like global crossings expected internet bandwidth usage to soar like an eagle in the early 2000s?  Only took a decade to make a comeback or realize some of those ridiculous forecast...google global crossing, good read because I was in that game.  At least some sap with a golden parachute will be able get tasty momma some overpriced goodies at Southpark Mall.

That privatizing thingy is ideal capitalism on paperback.   Though I jest, the free market does reward products and services that are profitable for some time but even those require constant tweaking and good fortune to survive the fickle nature of the economy.   Not a total naysayer but somewhat pessimistic about market forces supporting this effort without consistent government intervention.  I really wanna be wrong, really.

Edited by Durhamite

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5 hours ago, ah59396 said:

True courage is hard to find these days.

....

Edited by cjd5050
not worth the effort

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57 minutes ago, Durhamite said:

I think i see where you're going with this.  Privatize a venture that probably has no chance in hell of generating enough revenue to survive, this is no secret.  Then after 10 years or of being fully operational that blind ambition entity threatens to shut down or declare bankruptcy with only the maligned and dysfunctional government dweebs left to keep the system operational.  That's the full circle with all roads leading back to the government else the end result is tracks proliferated with crabgrass, wild onions and dirt.   Do you realize how much unused fiber optic cable (dark cable) is in the ground because a company like global crossings expected internet bandwidth usage to soar like an eagle in the early 2000s?  Only took a decade to make a comeback or realize some of those ridiculous forecast...google global crossing, good read because I was in that game.  At least some sap with a golden parachute will be able get tasty momma some overpriced goodies at Southpark Mall.

That privatizing thingy is ideal capitalism on paperback.   Though I jest, the free market does reward products and services that are profitable for some time but even those require constant tweaking and good fortune to survive the fickle nature of the economy.   Not a total naysayer but somewhat pessimistic about market forces supporting this effort without consistent government intervention.  I really wanna be wrong, really.

If something is determined to be a need and is going to get built...then at that point...is when a second conversation should at least be had on what's the best way to build it and run it.  

That said, the entire picture you want to paint can be solved with contracts.  See unlike Government, you can replace companies.  Unlike Public Authorities where incompetence and corruption run rampant, you can terminate the relationship with companies for failure to meet requirements.  Or you could just pretend that the differences don't exist and don't apply.  

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30 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

If something is determined to be a need and is going to get built...then at that point...is when a second conversation should at least be had on what's the best way to build it and run it.  

That said, the entire picture you want to paint can be solved with contracts.  See unlike Government, you can replace companies.  Unlike Public Authorities where incompetence and corruption run rampant, you can terminate the relationship with companies for failure to meet requirements.  Or you could just pretend that the differences don't exist and don't apply.  

Contracts? The government doesn't build anything, contractors do.  They do depend on contractors to set milestones, guidelines, etc.  I worked for the fed government for several years and the contractor vetting process is performed by extremely competent folk, and many of these government employees come from private industry.  During the contractor replacement iterative process, the project will be value engineered to the point of uselessness.  You're simply replacing incompetence with incompetence and less money/resources.  I'm still wondering how you compel companies to invest time, money and effort into what we know is essentially a money pit, mass transit.   The government is much more efficient and capable of addressing substandard performance than you give credit.  I am fully aware that most people have a negative impression of the government because that's all they know.  The government can't brag or boast about successes but it's actually full of really intelligent people who love this country and consider it their civic duty to improve the safety and livelihoods of Americans.   

Edited by Durhamite
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11 hours ago, Durhamite said:

Contracts? The government doesn't build anything, contractors do.  They do depend on contractors to set milestones, guidelines, etc.  I worked for the fed government for several years and the contractor vetting process is performed by extremely competent folk, and many of these government employees come from private industry.  During the contractor replacement iterative process, the project will be value engineered to the point of uselessness.  You're simply replacing incompetence with incompetence and less money/resources.  I'm still wondering how you compel companies to invest time, money and effort into what we know is essentially a money pit, mass transit.   The government is much more efficient and capable of addressing substandard performance than you give credit.  I am fully aware that most people have a negative impression of the government because that's all they know.  The government can't brag or boast about successes but it's actually full of really intelligent people who love this country and consider it their civic duty to improve the safety and livelihoods of Americans.   

1 - If you worked for the Federal Government then you should be fully aware of the bloat, incompetence and corruption.  

2 - There is a difference between paying a contractor to build something for you and entering into an agreement to build and operate.  see.  77 toll lanes.

3 - Before you go there, I see some massive flaws in the 77 toll lane contracts but not the idea behind it.

4 - Term.  Term is how you compel companies to invest time, money and resources.  Private companies don't forecast on the same timeline as the public sector.  They purchase elections instead of being controlled by them.  

5 - Drop the BS about what government is full of.  It's a group of people that is full of everyone in the spectrum. Trying to suggest Government is not home to such things is disingenuous at best.  The difference, again, between Government and Private Sector is you can replace one and need to try and reform the other.  

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Any thoughts on Trump's infrastructure plan? It makes mentioning of privatizing air control and roads. Would this basically be a federal version of what happened on I-77 and Cintra?  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-plans-week-long-focus-on-infrastructure-starting-with-privatizing-air-traffic-control/2017/06/03/12aacb04-47c5-11e7-a196-a1bb629f64cb_story.html?utm_term=.1e49c3f8251d

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On ‎5‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 10:35 PM, ah59396 said:

Don't apologize to him kermit.  I liked your idea.

 

Do me a favor though and challenge Dale to a debate so I can get my popcorn.

*thumbs-up*

Edited by Dale
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On ‎6‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 7:52 AM, cjd5050 said:

1 - If you worked for the Federal Government then you should be fully aware of the bloat, incompetence and corruption.  

2 - There is a difference between paying a contractor to build something for you and entering into an agreement to build and operate.  see.  77 toll lanes.

3 - Before you go there, I see some massive flaws in the 77 toll lane contracts but not the idea behind it.

4 - Term.  Term is how you compel companies to invest time, money and resources.  Private companies don't forecast on the same timeline as the public sector.  They purchase elections instead of being controlled by them.  

5 - Drop the BS about what government is full of.  It's a group of people that is full of everyone in the spectrum. Trying to suggest Government is not home to such things is disingenuous at best.  The difference, again, between Government and Private Sector is you can replace one and need to try and reform the other.  

There is no profit in mass transit and all the huff and puff about government incompetence is plain ignorance of reality.  Any private entity with the wherewithal to invest in a losing source of revenue is ludicrous.  There is absolutely no way in hell Charlotte and other low density cities could build a profitable rail system, the data and stats don't lie and this fairy tale about the free market system is quite laughable.  I did work for the fed government (5 years) and private industry (20 years) and both have equitable slackers and hard working people.  Matter of fact, the scrutiny in the fed government is 100x greater than private industry who regular and frequently fleece the masses and declare bankruptcy.  That's all that will happen with any private unprofitable venture.  I have no problem with not building rail and other forms of mass transit if the people decline to use taxpayer dollars.  Just don't act as though some private company is going to take that risk.

The issue you'll encounter without any private industry form of funded transit is selective routing and inefficient area coverage, especially in a city like Charlotte that really doesn't need light rail and other non-profitable bus routes.  The intent of the government is to play an equitable role in serving all of the people, not just the middle-haves and haves.  If that happens you'll have community mutiny from the people and working class drive-by neighborhoods you despise and flippantly ignore. 

So, your back to square one, the private company will only build to profit and underserve the community and will ultimately only expand with a helluva lot of monetary support from some other source...the government....mic drop.

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13 hours ago, Durhamite said:

There is no profit in mass transit and all the huff and puff about government incompetence is plain ignorance of reality.  Any private entity with the wherewithal to invest in a losing source of revenue is ludicrous.  There is absolutely no way in hell Charlotte and other low density cities could build a profitable rail system, the data and stats don't lie and this fairy tale about the free market system is quite laughable.  I did work for the fed government (5 years) and private industry (20 years) and both have equitable slackers and hard working people.  Matter of fact, the scrutiny in the fed government is 100x greater than private industry who regular and frequently fleece the masses and declare bankruptcy. 

I said the same as what's bolded.  The difference is that you can fire a bad company.  Since you're so enlightened...name for me the last public agency that was replaced?  You can't.  

But if you think the scrutiny in the federal government is 100X greater than you're beyond ignorant and leaning towards stupid.  Declaring bankruptcy is not always a bad thing and frankly many municipalities would benefit from it as they could unload ridiculous contracts that are simply unsustainable.  

13 hours ago, Durhamite said:

I have no problem with not building rail and other forms of mass transit if the people decline to use taxpayer dollars.  Just don't act as though some private company is going to take that risk. The issue you'll encounter without any private industry form of funded transit is selective routing and inefficient area coverage, especially in a city like Charlotte that really doesn't need light rail and other non-profitable bus routes.  The intent of the government is to play an equitable role in serving all of the people, not just the middle-haves and haves.  If that happens you'll have community mutiny from the people and working class drive-by neighborhoods you despise and flippantly ignore. 

So you need to apply conditions to your blanket statement in order to make it true.  Which really makes it false.

The reasons why public mass transit lines are not profitable stem from everything but the core goal of moving people efficiently.  In typical fashion fans of bureaucracy like yourself are blind to the various changes that are made to something once it enters the public sector and then when it fails to produce a desired output you naively claim that the same result would happen in the private sector.  

  • The construction costs would not be the same.  This changed the debt a line takes on.
  • The labor costs would not be the same.  This changes the operational costs.
  • The fare rate would not be the same.  This changes the revenue.
13 hours ago, Durhamite said:

So, your back to square one, the private company will only build to profit and underserve the community and will ultimately only expand with a helluva lot of monetary support from some other source...the government....mic drop.

Incorrect.  In order for a system to be profitable it needs to be used.  It would, as a requirement, need to serve the community as that's the only way to bring in revenue.  But your conclusion here perfectly illustrates the issues with your foundation.  Mass transit networks need to be efficient methods to move people around and abandon less efficient methods.  Full stop.  

Only once you have people trying to leverage mass transit to do things it's not supposed to do, such as creating jobs or addressing poverty, do you run into the challenges that make it unprofitable.  

 

Mic drop...really :rolleyes:....don't trip on the cord.

Edited by cjd5050

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12 hours ago, Dale said:

So it seems as if I can break in and expropriate my neighbor's belongings as long as it's good for the larger neighborhood.

I weep for my generation.

about 80% of Libertarian 'philosophy' is based on slippery slope arguments. 

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56 minutes ago, kermit said:

 

about 80% of Libertarian 'philosophy' is based on slippery slope arguments. 

Well, look at it. It's slippery when slope.

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edit: never mind. Too much, even for me

(and it was posted and removed before I had heard events this afternoon) 

Edited by kermit

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1 hour ago, kermit said:

quick reminder: its now legal to run over nazis and white supremacist protestors in North Carolina if they are in the road.

As a side benefit, it keeps the 17 white supremacists in the US in the news and relevant.

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