Saturday, March 31, 2007

May 8th Transit Tax - Opposition Organizes

Did you know that you should be voting on May 8th? Probably not. And that's what the folks at the local bus service agency, the Interurban Transit Partnership (also known as The Rapid), are betting on. They are asking for a renewal of their .95 mill property tax, along with an increase of .17 mills.

As you may know, The Rapid's web site is at

It has come to our attention that opposition to the tax increase is organized this year. Check out (also apparently at Some of the facts surrounding The Rapid mirror what we've been saying for years. In short, it's a horrible deal. From the website:

  • "The average transit bus only gets 3.65 miles per gallon
  • Transit buses spew 50 times more pollution and 279 times more soot than a passenger car.
  • Each RAPID bus costs $9.40 per mile to operate. A typical car costs about $0.22 per mile to operate.
  • For each passenger that rides a RAPID bus, the RAPID loses $5.82. Taxpayers (that’s us!) make up that amount to the tune of $30.7 million a year!"
Wow! 3.65 miles to the gallon? We knew it was a bad deal, but just how bad wasn't this clear to us.

The best part of the site is the "This Pig Stinks!" campaign. We like it so much, we've added it to our menu at the right. This pig really does stink! We just hope the word gets out about this web site before the election. The taxpayers of Grand Rapids and the surrounding area need to understand the facts on The Rapid.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

23 is No Longer Enough

Grand Rapids' favorite son, Ambassador Peter Secchia, now appears as though he has changed his mind. Formerly the chair of "23 is Enough," an anti-Wayland casino group, Secchia now seems to believe that 25 is just right.

According to Sunday's Grand Rapids Press, Secchia has resigned his position at 23 and is now campaigning for a new casino in downtown Grand Rapids. One wonders why the change of heart.

The idea is that the GR casino would be basically a funding mechanism for the government, paying for the local pools, museums, parks, etc. While the idea seems to be in the right place, we're very skeptical of any government unit owning an running an enterprise that the private sector should. Each time one of these publically-owned enterprises comes into existence, it generally entails the creation of new bureaucracies and un-elected governance boards (such as the DDA, the money-losing Kent County Convention and Arena Authority, etc).

One is left to wonder, though, when Secchia makes a statement like this, "I'm talking about a casino like Detroit has, (but) owned by the city, county and local people who would share the profits..." Does Secchia plan to be one of the "local people" who shares the profits? Who would own the casino? Who would operate it? Will it be just another government boondoggle, like the current city-owned golf course?