Red Line foes exaggerate a tad
A press release just came my way from the West-East Coalition against Red Line Alternative 4C in which the group boasts that its members "shouted down" Gov. Martin O'Malley at the Tuesday morning press conference in West Baltimore at which the governor announced his choice of that light rail alternative.
I was there. That isn't true.
Opponents of surface Red Line in their neighborhoods certainly made their presence known. Their banners were quite visible and their voices were loud. They were, however, far outnumbered by supporters of the Red Line plan. The governor may have been thrown a little off-stride by the yelling, but he finished his remarks without a significant interruption. He was not "shouted down."
I'm not sure why any group would want to brag about what is essentially rude behavior. Red Line foes certainly have every right to oppose the governor's plan and fight his re-election. But "shouting down" an official at a public event doesn't persuade others that the shouter is right, only that the shouter should have learned bettter manners.
Most of those doing the jeering appeared to be folks from Canton. As I was leaving the event, I was walking behind some West Baltimore Red Line opponents who were bemoaning the lack of civility shown by their east-side allies. This may be an alliance of convenience for now, but it's far from a comfortable coalition.
For a look at the full release from the opposition coalition, click below.
Enraged Citizens Shout Governor Down at Rail Project Press Conference
Opposition to Controversial Red Line Project Voiced -- Loudly
Governor O’Malley’s support for a surface train line through Baltimore neighborhoods was loudly shouted down by Baltimore residents at his Tuesday Press Event held at the West Baltimore MARC station.
The Governor has ignored our concerns about this project, if this is the only way to get him to hear us, this is what we will have to do,” said Jon Hyman, a member of the West-East Coalition, a volunteer citizen group supporting a properly designed mass transit system.
In his speech, the Governor spoke of jobs and Federal money the project would bring, but failed to mention that $1 billion would have to come from the state itself.
Congressman Elijah Cummings also proudly proclaimed that no one would have to be relocated from their homes for the project, but did not mention that it would cause roads to encroach closer to the homes people are staying in, that a network of wires would appear overhead, or that it would prevent people from taking direct routes to their homes because left turns will be prohibited.
To try to get costs down low enough to qualify for the federal funds the project has cut corners, including a proposal for a “death trap tunnel,” that would accommodate high speed two-way traffic on a single set of rails. It would be the only such project ever attempted in the country.
“The city is so desperately focused on Red Line Alternative 4C that it has ignored more sensible, less expensive and less disruptive alternatives, some of which had been proposed by the MTA itself,” said Nancy Braymer of the Canton Square Homeowners Association. “We all want what is best for Baltimore, not a project that is barely good enough.”
The West-East Coalition against Red Line Alternative 4C is a volunteer organization representing community leaders, neighborhood groups, and citizens from all parts of Baltimore concerned by the negative effects of the Red Line as currently proposed. The Coalition supports mass transit and the Red Line, including several alternatives proposed by MTA project engineers.
Learn more about 4C and its detrimental effect at www.baltimoreredlineunderground.org.
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