Site Meter Ogre's Politics & Views: Election Day in Mecklenburg

Well today is the big day in Mecklenburg County. The people are supposedly voting to decide whether to raise taxes in order to pay for a train set. Of course, in reality, they're not -- because the uptown boys' club IS building a train, no matter what any of the scum peons voters want. If you don't give them the money in the form of sales taxes, they'll just raise some other taxes. And of course, the campaign to raise taxes has been HUGE -- paid for by corporate interests and yes, giant contributions from taxpayers. Yes, taxpayer money was used in large amounts to fund the campaign to support higher taxes. But well, that's the way government works today, whether you like it or not.

Just a few examples:

With the willing assistance of the Charlotte Observer, they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, including an out of state PR firm in an attempt to overwhelm the voter with an avalanche of television, billboards and mailings filled with misleading information.

DECEIT: By calling itself a Grassroots campaign, they were mired in deceit from the beginning. A look at their contributors shows that over 90 percent of their funds come from two sources: (1) large uptown corporations, developers, builders etc who stand to gain from the expenditure of billions of tax dollars----for example Bank of America gave $60,000, Wachovia $60,000 and Duke Energy $50,000 and (2) companies who are in business to plan, engineer and build mass transit lines, including companies who have sold these services or equipment to CATS---- for example Siemens builds light rail cars that are being used on the South Line. Siemens contributed $50,000, which at best shows a conflict of interest and comes close to being a bribe. In order to appear ‘grassroots’, the employees of many of these large contributors were solicited for small contributions---another example of deceit. Several employees of uptown law firms who do business with city/county government or these same big corporate givers, gave small amountsl

CORRUPTION:

1. This ‘against repeal’ campaign was involved in a conspiracy involving the head of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the president of the University, officials of the University’s transit department and executive in residence, Dennis Rash risking besmirching the good name of UNC-Charlotte.
2. Several instances where government employees risked breaking the law in an effort to aid this campaign. For example, members of the hired PR firm met with employees of County Department of Social Services, most likely an illegal activity, which resulted in threats to senior citizens that repeal of the tax would mean reduction of their much needed bus service.
3. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority made an illegal contribution of $5,000 to this corrupt campaign. The money was returned after the CRVA was confronted and the city attorney ruled the contribution to be illegal.

THREATS: This campaign verbally or through written material has threatened reduction in bus service to the handicapped, the aged and the Black communities. A Westside community gathering was told that repeal of the tax would mean reduction in bus service to folks who work uptown, especially those who work uptown at night. Bus drivers were told that many might lose their jobs. Taxpayers throughout the city and county have been threatened with property tax increases. They say that economic development will be threatened.

FALSEHOODS/HALF-TRUTHS:

1. Cost of the South Line: This campaign tells the voters that the cost is about $462 million dollars, but this figure does not include $73.2 million which came from budgets outside the transit budget. At least

$50 million came from 2002 and 2004 bonds that you, the voter, approved for infrastructure throughout the city.

2. Their advertising states that repeal of the tax will mean worsening of congestion and air quality, which is simply not true.

3. Their advertising misleads by implying that light rail will relieve congestion----also not true.

4. This corrupt campaign has labeled those of us in favor of repeal, as being opposed to public transportation-----absolutely not true.

5. This campaign attributes all the development in the South End to the light rail/trolley line. This of course is absurd.

tAll the above are just a few of the many examples of the willingness of the ‘against repeal’ committee to deceive the public in their desperation to continue this mammoth waste on light rail. Our mayor and his political friends are ‘sold out’ to powerful uptown crowd that contributes to their campaigns-----a crowd that will benefit from continued light rail spending. Light rail is not about a solution to transportation problems. It is all about land development and lining the pockets of those involved in this development.

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