Monday, October 25, 2010

Sneak Peek On My Rather... Abstract... Board Meeting Speech (Pre-Approval)

Hello, I am Cameron Johnson, 16 year old represneting OPAL Bus Riders Unite and to some extent the Mt. Scott Community Center Teen Volunteer Corps. And I brought with me some perturbing news.

Based off of blog commenters, something I observe very often, I have a feeling that the TriMet bond measure is going to be shot down, and not just shot down, but shot down by those with a vengeance.

I'm going to quote a blogger's comment who I will not name who said something that made me want to punch in a wall. He said, and I quote "Like to help you out TriMet, but you kind of lost your chance when you cut my bus line. Funny how it comes around, isn't it?"

Now while this absolutely disgusts me for two reasons, one being that vengeance is a stupid and useless thing, and two being that this guy's childish vengeance is part of what is costing me, someone unable to vote, new buses and bus stops, it shows a sign. It shows that you're changing the public's view of you into negative, and that is going to cost you.

Three things have been ticking riders off lately. The first is the service cuts and fare increasements, the second is the union situation which I know very little about, and third, the focus on light rail. And before you say "Oh this is only one commenter, how bad could it be?" Oh, it's bad. It's really bad. I read about 50 similar comments on ONE news article that read the same. There were 78 commenters. 50 is more than half of 78. If this is a sample, I'd recommend you fish out the white flag out of the basement.

People have been giving you reasons to stop service cuts because it impacts them. To be critical of you, you frankly haven't listened to those reasons. So I'm giving you a reason for yourselves to stop service cuts. People are your backbone, and when you hurt them, they're inclined to hurt you back. And thus begins a vicious cycle.

So how do you react? Some people, including me, fear that you will simply see this as a sign that bus service does not matter and when funding gets low, bus service will be first in line for the guillotine. I urge you, for all that is sane, do not do that. If you do that, you're no better than these vengeful commenters, and the vicious cycle will rage on until there is nothing left for either party. When you recover the body of the TriMet bond measure, learn from this loss. Learn that if you fire the first shot, you have started a war. If you are the first to make peace, you have not only ended the war, but unskewed the view of those on you. It's only beneficial to everyone.

Besides, I was never one to like war anyways, well, outside of video games. But that's another story...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Cameron, The blogs DO NOT represent public opinion!
    I've seen the blogs be completely wrong more than a few times when the votes were all counted.

  3. ...

    That throws a bit of a wrench into things.

  4. Al M is correct. usually blog comments -- and ESPECIALLY those oj articles on newspaper sites -- are not reflective of the rest of society. They are almost always either geekier/wonkier or angrier.

    Now, that said, if I had to make a bet right now it would be that the measure does indeed fail. I hope I'm wrong but fear I am right. But my basis is the state of the economy and people's fears about costs, not the rhetoric around TriMet.

    I share your fear about how TriMet will react. I think they're in defensive mode, and they could very well respond by saying "the people have spoken" on busses. I don't think they will, though, as that opens a pandora's box on voter behaviour as the determining factor in how the agency serves the public, and given their centralized, technocratic structure I don't think they actually believe that to begin with. I think they believ they are doing what's objectively correct.

    One correx: although some may see fare hikes as a way of covering shortfalls, TriMet has been steadily raising fares even during good times.

  5. I edited it to emphasize that bloggers do NOT equal public opinion and that on the other hand, people may actually feel that way OUTSIDE of Blogs.

    I haven't posted it yet. :)