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Friday, August 28, 2009

Change We Can Believe In

This week, President Obama re-appointed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke declares that he "saved the world."

This is a bit like the arsonist firefighter declaring that, after he set fire to your house, he then "saved" it from the fire. Right.

He lied then. He's lying now.

Change we can believe in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mayor Heartwell to Taxpayers: Drop Dead

Last week the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority board approved the expenditure of $850,000 to help the city buy five new DASH buses for the downtown parking lots. The catch is that mayor Heartwell asked the DDA to kick in extra money so the city could buy hybrid-electric buses instead of standard buses. The standard buses cost $353,000 each, according to the Grand Rapids Press. The hybrid-electric buses cost $200,000 more (for a total of over $550,000) - each.

Earth to Heartwell: We are entering Great Depression II.

The mayor's justification for the request to spend $1,000,000 more on five buses was summed up thusly:
Heartwell argued the DDA should somehow come up with the money -- he didn't know where it would come from -- because having buses labeled 'hybrid' plays well with the city's efforts to market itself as 'green.'

"If for no other reason than the important symbolic benefit of having buses around downtown that say 'hybrid,' it's an investment worth making," he said. "It's terribly expensive to do, but if we don't start making these kinds of investments in our environment, we're being short-sighted."

So, in other words, the word "hybrid" painted on the side of a bus is worth spending an extra $1,000,000 of taxpayer money. Right.

Wisely, the DDA voted 5-1 (with Heartwell being the "one") to reject his request.

Just to drive the point home of how the mayor is completely out of touch and apparently has absolutely no idea what a position of public trust involves, I was just leaked the actual improvements in gas mileage that the hybrid-electric buses enjoy. Get ready for this. These are the numbers from The Rapid (ITP) itself:

A standard diesel transit bus gets 4.45 miles per gallon. The hybrid-electric buses get 5.12 miles per gallon. Yes, that's right - an improvement of 0.67 miles per gallon - all for the spiffy additional cost of $200,000 each.

Remember this when the city commission comes to taxpayers asking for a tax increase to shore up the rapidly-deteriorating budget.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009