How 32-Year-Old Google Veteran David Alpert--and His Band of Bloggers--are Shaping 21st-Century D.C.

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Gerald Neily

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Sep 10, 2010, 9:45:46 AM9/10/10
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I'm back from 9 days down in North Carolina. This was in my inbox when I got back - a DC guy who seems to combine the "at computer in PJs" activism I prefer with the real thing, and has made a real movement out of it. Good for him.


Meanwhile, Youssef and Jamie, I see that you're trying to keep both listserves alive.

Yes, Jamie, I agree that transit subsidy arguments that "highways are subsidized too" are lame. But I believe that Seatrain's version of "I'm Willin'" blows Little Feat's version away, even if you're not driving from Tucson to Tucumcari. I've got that on my mind because I just found a copy of Seatrain's extremely rare vinyl first album in a junk store in downtown Raleigh - from before Earth Opera's Peter Rowan joined. So Youssef's Mazda ad is directed at me, even if they pronounce Mazda like they do in parts of the Midwest and Europe.

And I'm really bored with Neal Pierce's shtick of taking superficially similar stuff from across the country and writing meaningless generalities about them - this time, tearing down urban expressways - http://citiwire.net/post/2241/ . Spence says that tearing down the JFX "is not a major part of the plan" to rebuild Oldtown. How can a billion dollar project not be a major part of a plan? How expensive does it have to be to be major? These are rhetorical questions. Hype does not lend itself to answers.

Anyway, I'm not back in the swing yet. Being away for nine days provides a marked contrast to the strange election fights upon my return to B'more. Jessamy says that Bernstein wants to return us to 1950, but not in a racial way, but I suppose in a way where the City's population was booming, there was no sprawl, unemployment and broken families were virtually nil, there was hardly a drug problem and the streets were far safer. Hmmmmm...

I haven't listened to my phone messages yet because I'm sure it's replete with politico-robo-calls.

Anyway, I'd like to give a report on the new Norfolk light rail line I just saw, that looks pretty good to me even if Norfolk is the anti-Baltimore in almost every way. I don't want to write it on The Brew because I'm tired on Neal Pierce-style analyses from outsiders who try to apply everything to everywhere. 

But I'll try to write it here to do my part to keep this listserve going. Stay tuned.
 

Youssef Mahmoud

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Sep 10, 2010, 9:52:27 AM9/10/10
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I saw that Mazda ad on local TV before trolling for it on the internet.  They are targeting American urbanites.

jamiehunt

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Sep 10, 2010, 12:43:39 PM9/10/10
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On Sep 10, 9:45 am, Gerald Neily <geraldne...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm back from 9 days down in North Carolina. ... Yes, Jamie, I agree that transit subsidy arguments that "highways are
> subsidized too" are lame. But I believe that Seatrain's version of "I'm
> Willin'" blows Little Feat's version away, even if you're not driving from
> Tucson to Tucumcari. I've got that on my mind because I just found a copy of
> Seatrain's extremely rare vinyl first album in a junk store in downtown
> Raleigh - from before Earth Opera's Peter Rowan joined. ....

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Welcome back!

Hmmmm. I've recently been resurrecting some of my old vinyl ... must
look into this. Hard to believe anyone could sing that song better
than Lowell George, but I'm open to the idea. I'm also open to
returning to the 50s, at least the nickle beer and nearly a million
citizens in our fair city parts. Antero, et al, have pretty much
covered the less joyful parts of that era. And the traffic could be
brutal. _Pace_ Henry Barnes. Wonder how long he'd last in
"stakeholder" meetings today?

Gerald Neily

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Sep 10, 2010, 3:11:12 PM9/10/10
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Wow, Youssef !!!!!!! I'm amazed that that Mazda commercial is being targeted locally. Here it is for the rest of you:

Anti-transit car ads are nothing new. But most have been geared to working class folks by local low budget used car dealers and GEBCO insurance, who show agitated working stiffs waiting at ugly bus stops.

Then there is the more existentially verbal VW slogan: "One the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers: Drivers wanted."

And almost all car ads have been very urban for quite a while now, with cars whipping by at 70 mph (120 kph) on otherwise urban streets instead of "see the USA in your Chevrolet" cornfields.

The upcoming Baltimore Grand Prix plays into this Detroit fantasy.

But this Mazda ad shows a fast, clean yuppie fantasy transit line and then a yuppie urban cafe, and yet they're still haunted by the alien Mazda "zoom zoom" character until they spring into escape from their yuppie urban habitat along perfectly bikeable streets, complete with Jamie's fantasy flatiron facade, and proceed directly to the oddly juxtaposed suburban-looking Mazda dealership.

This is a full frontal assault on the best that yuppiedom has to offer. A call to liberation from yuppie hangups and oppression. We have seen the future - amazing !!!!!!!!!
--
Gerald Neily
www.BaltimoreInnerSpace.blogspot.com


Gerald Neily

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Sep 10, 2010, 6:09:55 PM9/10/10
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Wouldn't it be great if we could go back to Baltimore circa 1950 and redo everything the right way from that point?

Or would we just find new and more original ways to blow it?

Could we have ever been able to desegregate the right way?
Open up the suburbs the right way?
Build a highway and rail transit system that actually worked together?
Preserve our architectural heritage?

It would be great if Henry Barnes could have really "gotten" the neighborhood perspective and introduced modern traffic engineering the right way too.

Of course, there is much that would be beyond our control - such as de-industrialization.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Welcome back!

Hmmmm. I've recently been resurrecting some of my old vinyl ... must
look into this. Hard to believe anyone could sing that song better
than Lowell George, but I'm open to the idea. I'm also open to
returning to the 50s, at least the nickle beer and nearly a million
citizens in our fair city parts. Antero, et al, have pretty much
covered the less joyful parts of that era. And the traffic could be
brutal. _Pace_ Henry Barnes. Wonder how long he'd last in
"stakeholder" meetings today?




jamiehunt

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Sep 11, 2010, 11:33:02 AM9/11/10
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On Sep 10, 6:09 pm, Gerald Neily <geraldne...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Wouldn't it be great if we could go back to Baltimore circa 1950 and redo
> everything the right way from that point?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I dunno. As Satchel Paige said, "Never look back. Something might be
gaining on you."

Seriously, though, there's salvation in our screw-ups. The legislature
should _never_ have sought eminent domain over the Colts. But the
sturm und drang over the team's departure was perhaps _the_ decisive
factor galvanizing support for Oriole Park.

The I-170 Franklin-Mulberry ditch was a colossal cock-up. But the
possibilities there now are amazing. The Red Line is being presented
as a fait accompli, but, of course, it's not. The time is right to
advance alternatives, as you and others have been doing.

Gerald Neily

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Sep 11, 2010, 1:30:57 PM9/11/10
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Geez, I admire your optimism, Jamie, but I've been smashing my head against that wall for years. The problem is that the current Red Line game is exactly the same as when the awful highway was built in the first place - maximize the federal bucks and treat the communities as pawns.

Michele, I just drove by and visible demolition has not begun yet on the mural or anything else. Yesterday must have just been pre-election posturing.

irene poulsen

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Sep 11, 2010, 2:15:26 PM9/11/10
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Gerry, you are correct.
yesterday's event was atop and east of the mural.  
after applause for a each introduced special attendee, workers with orange bibs revved up the machine and everyone moved over close to the hammering away and dust clouds.
afterward, a member of  the governor's entourage said that he heard no mention about the timeline for actual destruction or construction.  
notes that new parking lots are proof of action and change toward healing and community benefits

James Hunt

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Sep 11, 2010, 5:38:24 PM9/11/10
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On Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 1:30 PM, Gerald Neily <geral...@gmail.com> wrote:
Geez, I admire your optimism, Jamie, but I've been smashing my head against that wall for years. The problem is that the current Red Line game is exactly the same as when the awful highway was built in the first place - maximize the federal bucks and treat the communities as pawns.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Right. Familiar game. Just don't think it's going to work this time. Federal money is way tight now and Maryland is a lock to vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012. Toss up states will get first dibs on fed transpo boodle, I suspect.
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