Posts Tagged ‘Colbert Busch’
Over the past three weeks, thousands of Transit riders in Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek and Beaufort have been given an informational flyer on the Congressional Election “We Ride Together, We Vote Together.“ (Downloadable PDF)
If you would like to help hand these flyers out on the buses to other riders, a very powerful way to encourage transit riders to vote, please call William Hamilton at (843) 870-5299.
Voters have the opportunity to choose between Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) and Mark Sanford (R). If you have trouble getting to the polls, either campaign will be happy to arrange a ride to the polls for you Monday (for early voting) or Tuesday.
- Colbert Busch- http://colbertbuschforcongress.com/welcome/
- Sanford- http://www.marksanford.com/home/
Many riders have asked how this election is relevant to the quality of public transit we have in the Lowcountry. The answer is that even basic services like transit are now under constant threat. While large, well organized lobbies exist for the oil, automotive and highway construction industry, the thirty million transit riders have only begun organizing themselves into a national political force in the past year, when Congress slashed Transit funding from 20 to 18 percent of the Federal Transportation Budget. This triggered massive cuts in service across the United States.
What Poor Transit Systems are doing to the Lowcountry
For the people who depend on transit, a number which rose by 6% across the country last year, such cuts have drastic, even lethal effects. Riders making long walks home form now distant transit stops get hit by cars or become victims of crime. The elderly find themselves stranded as they age on Daniel Island. Those who lose their car, often then lose everything. They can’t ride the bus for a few weeks, scraping up the money for repairs while keeping their job. I’ve met successful people in Charleston who have confided in me that when they lost their car to a run of bad luck, the bus helped them rebuild their lives. Some are wealthy today.
In places like Beaufort, where the bus runs only to and from work once a day, entire lives are wasted with people left to do little more than work, wait and sleep. Shopping, civic and cultural activities are out of reach for people living on St. Helena Island an other rural communities. ”Going on the Bus” in Beaufort is viewed as a sort of living death in many rural communities Younger residents would rather leave, so they take their energy and talent elsewhere. Those who stay and ride have few options for spending their hard earned money.
Even for those who drive, the highway system has reached a point where it’s so large it can no longer be adequately maintained or further expanded with existing revenue. Younger people are giving up on the automobile altogether in increasing numbers. It just costs too much and takes up too much time. Throughout our public information campaign, Republicans and Democrats have both told us they want better transit.
The Congressman elected Tuesday will be the point person for all Federal involvement with local transit issues in the district. Fixing the problems with the long delayed intermodal center, making sure basic funding remains available, or helping replace some of our aging fleet of transit buses requires a Congressman’s support. We asked both candidates to ride. Colbert Busch rode the #41. Sanford never took a ride on a bus. We asked both candidates to answer two, relevant but simple questions. Colbert Busch answered. Sanford didn’t. Five Republicans did ride the bus: Moffly, Turner, Larkin, Hoffman & Bryant. Both candidates received phone calls from many riders asking them to ride and answer. You can read Colbert Busch’s full answers on the Flyer PDF. The flyer also provides contact information for the Sanford campaign so you can try to find out what his position is.
Please vote carefully on Tuesday. It was only eight years ago that CARTA resumed full operations after a disastrous two year near shut down. People died because the buses stopped running. We can argue about art in government buildings or how much Ft. Moultrie should be open, but when transit gets cut people lose their jobs, their families and sometimes their lives.
Transit is only one of several important issues in this election, but it touches on the core controversy of our time. Are we building a society which offers dignity and freedom to more people or are we building a society which concentrates power and wealth in the hands of a few? Real wealth requires a shared prosperity which has to include opportunities to travel, change jobs, shop, learn and enjoy our golden years for most people. Even those fortunate enough to be wealthy benefit from customers who can travel, employees who can get to work, patients who can access medial care before it requires an EMS trip, fellow citizens who participate in civic and cultural life and tourists who can enjoy our coast.
Free Markets, Competitive Economies
Free markets mean nothing to an elderly woman stranded on St. Helena Island who can’t get to a store. If we don’t have transit services which meet these needs, many capable people will relocate to, travel to or invest in other places which do. I’ve met gifted young people in Portland, Seattle and New York from South Carolina building lives which are rewarding without cars who left South Carolina and have no intention of returning. It wasn’t just about transit, but they abandoned their cars, built lives and they swear they’re not coming back. In the intensely competitive future, SC needs such talent and skill.
On Tuesday, vote like someone’s life depends on it, because it does.
Beaufort County Democrats will join forces with Charleston County public transportation advocates, transit union organizers, South Carolina Progressive Network members, and concerned voters to wage a “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” on Friday, Apr. 19.
“The Battle for Buses in Beaufort” is a unique project with the dual purposes of focusing attention on the need to turn out to vote in the May 7 Special 1st Congressional District Election, and of building community support for increased state and federal funding for affordable public transportation across the Lowcountry.
It’s one of a series of ”Farebox to Ballot Box
” events being held from Apr. 15 to May 6 that range from distribution of voter information cards about 1st Congressional District candidates positions on public transit and voter outreach at bus stops to absentee voting via public transit.
“The Battle for Buses in Beaufort” will kick-off at 6 a.m., on Friday, Apr. 19, at the Palmetto Breeze Terminal in Bluffton, which is located at 25 Benton Field Rd., near the intersection of Burnt Church and Ulmer roads.
Volunteers will handout flyers about the upcoming 1st Congressional District election and 1st Congressional District public transportation funding needs to pre-dawn Palmetto Breeze riders from Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton, and Allendale counties, who use the regional public bus system to get to their jobs in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, according to Atty. William J. Hamilton, III, President of the Hungryneck Straphangers.
“We ride standing up–and we won’t sit down until Beaufort County has better public transportation,” says Hamilton, whose transit riders’ group is co-sponsoring Friday’s Bluffton events with Americans for Transit, the Amalgamated Transit Drivers Union, and the Charleston Chapter of the S.C. Progressive Network.
Friday’s “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” events also include discussions with local businesses whose employees use or could benefit from the use of public transportation, and local residents who want to see expanded public bus service.
A lunch meeting of volunteers is also being planned for 1 p.m. at the Golden Corral, in addition to a return to the Palmetto BreezeTerminal to pass out flyers to afternoon bus riders.
“Today (Apr. 17) we reached over 5,000 voters in Charleston, and they will be turning out to vote on May 7,” Hamilton said of Wednesday’s all day “We Ride, We Care, We Will Vote” outreach to Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority bus riders at bus stops and businesses.
Public transportation advocates invited all 18 1st Congressional District candidates on the March 19 Republican and Democratic primary ballots to ride public transit, and to answer questions about their positions on public transit and funding for the proposed Passenger Intermodal Transit Center in North Charleston.
But only Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a Republicans Elizabeth Moffaly, Teddy Turner, Robert Hoffman, Ric Bryant, and Tim Larkin and Green Larry Carter Center rode the bus.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford, who’ll face off against Colbert Busch for the 1st District seat on May 7, has steadfastly declined to ride the bus–despite seven e-mail and in-person requests, according to updates and photos available at http://tinyurl.com/votetransit
“This is an important effort,” Beaufort County Democratic Party Chairman Blaine Lotz told Beaufort County Democrats in an e-mail urging them to support “The Battle for Buses in Beaufort.” Lotz invited Hamilton to make a presentation about the event at the Apr. 12 BCDP Executive Committee.
“Affordable public transportation is one the most crucial needs in Beaufort County–and has been for years,” says Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club President Theresa White.
“Not having reliable transportation keeps too many people from getting the jobs and education that would improve their quality of life,” explained White, who plans to attend all the “Battle for Buses in Beaufort” events.
Contact: Theresa White, President
Update- We’ll be meeting with the press at 11:15 am on Monday, March 25, at the Mary Street Transit center in Charleston (71 Mary Street, across the Street from Hughes Lumber) to urge the remaining Republican candidates to ride CARTA with us this week. Everyone is welcome. Facebook Event Signup, details.
Charleston, SC- On March 19,2013 Hungryneck Straphangers was happy to see Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who took a CARTA public transit ride with us on March 14 aboard the new 41 Coleman Blvd. Route with several other transit advocates receive the Democratic Nomination for SC’s First Congressional district. Colbert Busch has indicated a clear support for public transit in person and online. Her opponent Ben Frasier did not ride.
Unfortunately none of the five Republicans who rode CARTA with us made the run off. Teddy Turner, Elizabeth Moffley, Ric Bryant, Johnathan Hoffman & Tim Larkin. We would like to thank all of them for taking the time to ride and talk with transit riders. Every one of them said it was a rewarding experience for them. We felt so too.
Colbert Busch’s bi partisan transit discussion with Republican Linda Page while roaring over the breathtaking Ravenel Bridge on a bright spring day was an example of democracy at work, reaching across the aisle on the bus. The ride in the freezing rain which began the effort exposed three candidates to US Congress to transit at it’s worst and the wait for the return trip on the bus in the driving rain at an unsheltered, bench-less stop was fiercely educational.
For those of us who ride transit regularly, it was frightening to realize that some of thes candidates had never been on a public transit bus. They didn’t understand how to work the farebox or pull the stop cord. We’re proud that they overcame their qualms and got on board, sitting down to talk to sometimes wet and surly people with real problems. I remember clearly Republican Mathew Hoffman’s attempts to connect with the cold wet riders on the 40. He felt it was hopeless, but I encouraged him to stick at it pointing out that the country was falling apart because people aren’t talking across their differences. He went back to the rear of the bus, sat down with a group of African Americans and bravely asked, “What pisses you off?” Unsurprisingly, a lot of things did.After a little hesitation, a conversation started.
Please join our effort to get the surviving two Republicans to take a ride on the bus with us before the runoff. Just ask them to ride the bus with us. If they prefer, we can arrange for a Republican involved with public transit to be their companion and rides can be scheduled any day, Monday through Saturday between 6 am and 7 pm. We’ll try to accommodate their needs and goals, meeting voters, a good time for them, learning about how the system works or whatever their priorities are.
The Surviving Republican Candidates are:
We’re now preparing an April effort which will empower informed transit rider voting by thousands of riders on systems in the Lowcounty by distributing thousands of transit voter information cards in an effort we’re calling Farebox to Ballot Box. We’ll be supported in this effort by the Charleston Forum of the SC Progressive Network, Americans for Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union. to volunteer for the effort, contact Hungryneck Straphangers.