Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, July 25, 2011

Commuter Gridlock is a GOOD thing

There are two people in Washington State who actually believe this. One is a spoiled multi-millionaire — Kemper Freeman, Jr., who pretty much owns Bellevue, WA — who always gets what he wants when he wants it. The Simon and Garfunkel song Richard Cory could have been written about Kemper Freeman, Jr. Unfortunately, Kemper Freeman, Jr. hasn’t yet followed through with the last line of that song. Oh, and there’s one other difference: Kemper Freeman, Jr. didn’t build or create any of his own wealth — he inherited it.

And the other half of the team is Tim Eyman, Washington’s famous “initiative-for-profit mercenary.”

Here’s another link.

Tim Eyman absolutely HATES taxes. That is, when said taxes go towards financing icky things like schools, libraries, fire departments, infrastructure or mass transit projects. Tim Eyman and Kemper Freeman, Jr. are bringing us the latest example of rightwing millionaire populism: “I’m mad as hell at the unwashed masses and I’m not gonna take it any more!”

Tim Eyman’s and Kemper Freeman’s love child is Initiative 1125. Basically, any and all attempts to ease commuter gridlock will be prohibited if I-1125 is passed by voters. Variable tolling — higher tolls during peak commute hours — Gone. And no more using toll revenues from one freeway or bridge to pay for another highway/mass transit project.

And most importantly — to Kemper Freeman, Jr. — I-1125 will prohibit using highway lanes for “non-highway” purposes. For the Seattle area, this will sabotage a light rail project that’s been in Stop-Start On-Off mode for decades — mostly because of Kemper Freeman, Jr. using one stalling tactic after another. Light rail is all well and good, mind you, but the transit agency will have to build a new bridge to put it on. And by the strangest coincidence, the bridge that’s the most clearly affected by I-1125 is the bridge into Bellevue, where Kemper Freeman owns the gargantuan Bellevue Square.. He wants you to DRIVE over the bridge; that sissy light rail thingy might not stop at HIS mall. Sorry your trip into Bellevue was ninety minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic instead of a ten-minute train ride. Peon.

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Blogger Suzan said...

Hurray for the rich!

They rule!!!

What are you going to do about it?

I mean you, America!

July 25, 2011 at 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that if they decided to divert to the Mall the whole thing would be settled?


July 25, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I've long been amazed by Kemper Freeman's obsession with foiling mass transit. Makes you wonder if a city bus driver yelled at him sometime when he was a little kid?

July 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

As if people will want to drive to Bellevue Square through traffic even worse than it is now — which is hard to imagine.

A dozen years or so ago, I would sometimes read Usenet news groups. Among them was one focused on the Seattle-Puget Sound area. Some guy regularly got on there spouting really ugly, hateful and thoroughly racist diatribes, with particular focus on public transit. He had plenty to say, all of it bad, about Portland's light-rail system.

A favorite meme of this nut was that public transit would spread crime, disease and poverty — black riff-raff, IOW — from the inner city to the sweet, innocent suburbs. At one point he encouraged people to stop any light-rail project with their guns.

I'd be willing to bet that nut was the Freeman you describe. He didn't put a real name on his spew, but the M.O. is just too good a match.

July 25, 2011 at 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

The private-car=freedom mentality is every bit as stupid as the woman smoking=freedom mentality. The truth is, in both cases you have enslaved yourself to a bunch of rich right-wingers, and your behavior is going to shave a bunch of years off your life.

If any country ever needed good mass transit, right frigging now, it's this one.

July 26, 2011 at 4:37 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Suzan: I guess we should be grateful for whatever crumbs we get thrown.

Erik: I don't know if that would work. A lot of rightwingers think only poor/dirty/minority types use mass transit (as S.W. says in his comment). And those people don't shop, so what good are they?

J: Maybe that's it, and he's spent the last sixty-odd years getting even with that bus driver.

SW: That guy sounds like a piece of work, whoever he was. Words like "buses" or "public transit" tend to cause that reaction in a lot of sheltered or bigoted people.

JR: Yup, that's the ideal Real American. Go everywhere in your car (by yourself of course). Smoke so you'll look cool. And above all, don't think too much or they'll think you're one of them sissy intellectuals.

July 26, 2011 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

There was a time not too long ago when you could plop down 40 or 50 bucks and get a monthly transit pass. It was good for trips just about anywhere in the Puget Sound. Now I defy anyone to try and find out what the actual fares are to get from Snohomish County to Seattle. And don't even talk about Metro transit.

July 26, 2011 at 8:58 PM  

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