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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tacoma Goes into the Dark

Posted by on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:06 AM

From Lars Erickson, Pierce Transit's spokesperson:

Pierce Transit currently operates 417,000 annual service hours. The revised service plan, with the September implementation, will reduce annual service hours to approximately 275,000. The plan will be made available for riders and the public to review on the agency website shortly. Pierce Transit will distribute information through print materials, open houses, and presentations. Look for information in the coming days regarding agency outreach efforts. A public hearing on the implementation plan will happen in May 2013.

Elements of the reduction plan include elimination of Saturday, Sunday, and holiday service and the route 62 in northeast Tacoma. Primary impacts to weekday service include reductions in service past 7:00 pm and mid-day service (9:00 am - 3:00 pm).
All of this because a large number of voters in that county and its surrounding areas did not want a sales tax increase of 3 cents on every $10 spent. And you can bet that almost all of these voters are not rich, and yet they see taxes in exactly the same way that rich people do. Taxes are not a great thing if you have lots of money, but they are vital to those who have little or none at all. A rich person doesn't need society to provide transportation, health services, child care, job protection, or other social goods. When an upper-class person votes against taxes, he/she is being rational. But when a middle-class or working-class person, a person who needs or could need such goods and services from society, does, he/she is being irrational.

How is this irrationality even possible? Because, as Marx pointed out in the German Ideology, our very sense of human rights has never been constructed from the perpective of those at the bottom. All in this society (and Western society as a whole) have been raised to see themselves as possessing the natural rights of people with wealth—the right to own property, the right to the protection of property, the right to purse more property, and so on. It's easy for us to unthinkingly vote like the rich because our whole sense of legal identity is based on that kind of subjectivity.


Comments (19) RSS

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56% per cent of riders have an annual salary under $20,000
46% do not own cars
This is on top other cuts, so now 57% cut in 2 years
Out of 220,000 votes, Prop 1 lost by 704 votes
Most of you are callous, callous people
Posted by sardy on January 21, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Rail does nothing to address gridlock.
Posted by Mister G on January 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this
treacle 17
So much for "Wired City", looks like Tacoma is gonna be "Car Hell City" from now one... That'll make the commute between Seattle and Olympia that much worse. Perhaps we can get Sound Transit to actually build an effective rail line between the capitol and Seattle (hell, Everett even) so we can avoid the coming perma-gridlock on Tacoma's stretch of I-5.
Posted by treacle on January 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM · Report this
#15, you "progressives" still refuse to learn your lesson, so we'll just have to keep right on teaching it to you, won't we?
Posted by Mister G on January 16, 2013 at 12:52 AM · Report this
Rev. Adam McKinney 15
@10 They wanted to improve the system because it's already fucked as it is. This is definitely the nail in the coffin, but Pierce Transit has been drastically substandard for a few years. Now it's being permanently crippled, and given a schedule that I can't imagine is useful for much of anybody. What a pity.
Posted by Rev. Adam McKinney on January 15, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 14
@11: actually, it's for a very precise reason - it's so they don't have to pay benefits to older, long-term employees who tend to have higher medical expenses.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 15, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
treacle 13
@11, Actually, I thought high-turnover was inherently destabilizing and negative for a business. So no, I didn't think that. I also was thinking of Mall-based businesses, like Sears and (barf) Forever21, not big-box places like Mal-Wart. Although I simply assumed the same thing.

Perhaps it has to do with paying insurance premiums for long-lived employees that drives the turnover you speak of.
Posted by treacle on January 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Better them than us!
Posted by madcap on January 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 11

Don't you think those companies already have high turnover? Wal-Mart's is off the charts already. For whatever reason, American businesses like having to hire new employees on a regular basis.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 15, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
None of the Stranger's coverage has ever mentioned that the proponents of the Pierce County transit referendum wanted to expand that system, rather than simply preserve it. As a result, they asked for more taxes than they needed to. They overreached, and were slapped down as a result.

"Progressives," are you capable of learning your lessons, or do we have to keep slapping you down until you just get tired of being slapped down?
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
treacle 9
I think the rich person is being irrational (selfish) because they have more, the philanthropic responsibility falls on their shoulders ('with great power,' etc.). And the poorer people are also being irrational.. because seriously.. a 0.3% tax for bus service? The question is: maintain or improve bus the service? Sad if it is only to maintain what they have. The economy & business will be hurt, but the poor will suffer the lion's share of the damage.

@8 High turnover due to employee absenteeism and sackings is a cost businesses may have to deal with. Turnover sucks, and may also result in employee theft as well. "Hidden costs" as they say.
Posted by treacle on January 15, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 8

They won't need to deal with it. Their minimum wage workers will show up or get fired, which is why I think you're right about pedestrian fatalities. This will also be a boon for cab companies.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 15, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 7
Also, Chuck,

I find your use of "dark" to be extremely racist. You can't imply that non-white people can't be trusted with the vote in this day and age. Shame on you!
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 6
So, Chuck,

You're saying that the poor should not be allowed to vote because they are too stupid to act in their own best interest?

Marxism is so enlightened!

Hard to understand why the western world has rejected it so resoundingly… (Must be too many poor people voteing).
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 5
Should be interesting to see how major commercial centers, like the Tacoma Mall area, deal with employees who can no longer work weekends or evenings. These are minimum wage workers who can't just buy a car when the bus service stops. Are they going to lose their jobs?
Also, will the rate of pedestrian - vehicle accidents rise now that more people are going to be walking on the side of the road at night & early morning?
Posted by Sir Vic on January 15, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Interesting perspective in the last paragraph.

Think of it this way: The voters - those who registered and bothered to vote - have reached their consensus. If, as we suspect, there's a drastic, onerous inconvenience, then Tacoma and its sourroundings will suffer, and then this will be an object lesson. People will suddenly find themselves stuck at home because they didn't want shell out three pennies for every ten dollars. (Or because they couldn't get their act together and vote.) I know we say this every time a Tim Eyman initiative passes, but the potential consequences of losing so much public transportation, all at once, might really prove to be shock.
Posted by floater on January 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Simply Me 3
True, but sales taxes disproportionately impact the poor. We should have an income tax.
Posted by Simply Me on January 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 2
They are adults, just like you, and know what they are doing and the consequences.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Plus, even most of the poor in this country own cars.
Posted by Westside forever on January 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM · Report this

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