Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Public Comment in Response to Proposed Transit Cuts

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen of the board,

My name is Jacob Germain. I am a citizen of Livermore and a patron of the Wheels bus service. I am here to respond to some drastic changes proposed for the bus system. Now, I understand that there as significant and relevant circumstances surrounding these changes, such as the economic situation in the U.S, and the budget crisis in Sacramento.

However, these circumstances are not immediately obvious to those who ride the system every day, Such as the elementary, middle, and high school children who ride the bus to and from school every day. They'll see fares rise without any explanation as to its source.

Such as the Senior citizens, who will now find themselves stretching an already meager budget to pay for transportation expenses among everything else.

Such as the physically or mentally challenged, who will find their mobility, and thus opportunities, curtailed by these proposals.

Most importantly, it is the Employees, who'll find their paychecks shrink, or even disappear, as less staffing is required to maintain service.

I suggest that you postpone decision on these proposals for at least six months, until the funding picture is clear. Though Schwarzenegger has proposed a cut of transportation funds, it has yet to happen, and may never come to pass. The economic crisis is largely psychological. By reacting to it and making cuts, you only sustain the crisis further. Don't let the foibles of wall street or Sacramento frivolously affect our way of life.

I find it ludicrous that three of the richest cities in America, with 100 thousand dollars a year median income, can't even fund one bus system.

Thank you for your time.

Authors notes: This is more or less the speech I gave at the hearing for the proposed changes to the local bus system. There was a bit of ex tempore, but I really don't recall what it was. I also have misplaced the original draft.

It was the strangest thing. I delivered the speech pretty well, only stumbled once, but the entire time, my legs were inexplicably shaking.

Incidentally, I was quoted in the local newspaper here (it's a pdf, page 4). Of course the board went through with it, as John Ramirez (also quoted, but not what I'm referring to) said, they already made their mind up about these cuts. I found the behavior of the Livermore mayor, Marshall Kamena, to be extremely rude. He showed up about ten minutes late and proceeded to pull out his macbook and spend much of the time fiddling with it, rather than listening to the concerns of the people at the meeting. The rest of the board members were otherwise attentive.


  1. Is this a rough draft? Sacramento and a few other words are spelled incorrectly. Good essay all in all. Hope it works out.

  2. Er, no, just finished it in a bit o a rush.