Racial pandering on the CTA

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Once again, the big, bad, white suburbs are victimizing poor, minority Chicagoans.

That's the underlying logic of a class action suit brought against the state, RTA and Metra by a public interest law firm that hasn't a clue about the Pandora's Box that it is opening.

According to the suit, filed Wednesday in federal court, white suburbs somehow have hijacked the formulae for distributing government subsidies among the CTA, Metra and Pace.

Sounding more and more like his race-baiting old man, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. pronounced: "Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. came to prominence more than 60 years ago when minorities in Montgomery were being denied a seat on the bus. Half a century later, it appears that minorities in Chicago are subsidizing all transit riders, yet still not getting their seat on the bus."

This, along with the lawsuit, is patent bull flop.

Continue reading in the Chicago Daily Observer

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  • I'm surprised that Senate Candidate 5 has suddenly reappeared, but not in this format. There was a discussion in the comments part of the CTA Tattler about the funding formula, including that the overwhelming amount of the money collected in the city goes to the CTA.

    The only way inner city riders are subsidizing suburban ones is if they shop in the suburbs. Of course, given the efforts the city has made to keep out Walmart and discourage other tax generators, and Stroger sending shoppers to the collar counties, that probably has happened. I guess that people from the Hood should take the Green Line and shop at Macy's.

    Truth is, 5 can't say that his real agenda is that suburbanites are not subsidizing him enough.

  • While just about everybody is saying that the lawsuit filed recently against IDOT, RTA, and Metra is unfounded and some kind of lawyer scam; the lawsuit (however frivelous) is the end result the Southeast Lakefront quadrant of the city being left out of CTA's RAIL transit system grid.

    Especially in Mr. Mungula's case of living in the community of South Chicago, to which
    the closest CTA 'L' service is the Red Line; a 25 to 45 minute bus ride away (and using 1 of the 2 transfers available on a single fare trip).

    Had the Transit Operators (RTA, CTA, and Metra) found a way years ago, there would have been no reason for Mr. Mungula and Ms. McGhee to consider a (frivelous) suit.

    As can be seen on this beautiful and geographically accurate map posted on The Transport Politic: bit.ly/L-Map the large Southeast quadrant of the city (to the lower right) does
    not have the same CTA rapid transit coverage as the rest of the city.

    The fact that the Metra Electric District serves the area is of little or no benefit as the Electric District has NO fare or service integration with local CTA bus and rail services.

    CTA has no plans EVER to extend 'L' service to the area (it would cost approx. $2 billion to construct a new Southeast CTA 'L' Line), and plans from the South Lakefront communities
    have been largely ignored for many years: bit.ly/CTAGrayLine bit.ly/CTAGoldLine

    Hopefully, with the impetus of the Lawsuit pressing their feet to the fire, the new RTA/CDOT Southeast Lakefront Corridor Study will end-up being profitable to all.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Mike, maybe you should consider that your racial discrimination complaint has been pending before the FTA, for maybe 5 years, with no action on it.

    It seems like the only end result is discrediting those who push that tactic, and thus making it even harder to get any progress. JJJr got his bit of publicity, but doesn't he represent Metra riders in the south suburbs, too? So, just reallocate money from Metra. Makes lots of sense.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hey Jack, my complaint was dismissed after a year and a half as unfounded (which I knew would happen anyway - I have NO clout).

    What tactic would you advise one to use?

    Respectfully addressing CTA, Metra, and the RTA's Board's of Directors many, many, many times EACH accomplished nothing.

    Many, many newspaper articles did nothing

    Submitting it to CATS/CMAP (who INCLUDED it in the Regional Transportation Plan, along with it's $100 million cost - and recommended it for IMMEDIATE funding and implementation) accomplished nothing.

    What do you suggest?

    This "The Transport Politic" CTA 'L' map shows NO CTA rail transit to Hyde Park, South Shore, South Chicago (where Mr. Mungula lives):

    http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/08/13/chicago-moves-forward-with-three-rapid-transit-extensions/

    And CTA has NO plans on their own EVER to provide any. Why?

    The fact that those residents filed a Lawsuit based on almost the exact same wording 5 yrs later to me validates my Complaint claims, which I am in the process of reopening with FTA, IDOT, and RTA right now.

    My Complaint is not against any involved agencies.

    It is through the FTA, IDOT, and RTA Civil Rights Compliance Offices against the uneven distribution of rail rapid transit funds; in that both city AND suburban communities receive rail rapid transit funding (but never the Southeast Lakefront Corridor).

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Let's start with two things not to do:
    1. Refile the complaint with the FTA. Unless you have new facts showing racial discrimination, the dismissal is res judicata.
    2. Say that the suit reinforces the idea that racial discrimination exists. In fact, it will reinforce the opposite.

    The real problem is so long as your plan has CTA spending money on Metra, CTA has no incentive to do so. The lawsuit just makes it worse, as those plaintiffs will claim that not only are tax monies being diverted to Metra, but the CTA, which serves mostly a minority community, will be diverting its funds to a racist organization, even in the name of getting more minority riders on the trains. In fact, a conductor I know on the Metra Electric says that if Metra really wants to economize, it should eliminate the train that makes local stops from 67th to Blue Island. I know you would argue that people would ride it if CTA integrated it into its system, but CTA doesn't have the incentive to do so. In fact, if I were a baiter, I would accuse CTA of racism in cutting the X3 and X4, while retaining some southwest side routes, supposedly as a result of aldermanic clout. However, that wouldn't be consistent with your agenda.

    CMAP is only a gatekeeper, in that a project doesn't get federal funding without its stamp of approval, but it doesn't initiate anything.

    The only thing I have advocated recently on the CTA Tattler is to end the bureaucratic infighting by abolishing all 4 boards, and have one board responsible for all transit in the area, and make sure that the board was properly apportioned. Then there would be a body actually responsible for its funding and service allocation decisions. However, you know that, with the Daley administration considering the CTA to be its fiefdom, instead of an independent municipal corporation as it was formed under the MTA Act, that won't happen. A CTA apologist named Joe once accused me of being defeatist, but unless you can move the political establishment to see my way (and you admit you don't have clout), I see no other way.

    I also assume that you are in JJJr's district, but he doesn't seem to have any interest in the ME, except periodically calling the establishment racist. Maybe if he got behind your plan... At least he got federal funds to get a couple of ME stations in the city rebuilt.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    The Title VI Complaint I am reopening with FTA, IDOT and RTA is very different from last weeks lawsuit; and I do not live in JJJr's district anymore (I did at the time I filed the original complaint however). They claim Metra is unfairly getting more funds than CTA overall, causing deteriorated CTA services (however true or untrue). My complaint is about the Southeast Lakefront Corridor only, and that it is being excluded from rail transit plans being made for many other city and suburban regions. CTA itself (Municipal CITY Rapid Transit) is planning the Yellow Line Extension (in a suburb entirely outside the City Limits of the City of Chicago), while they do not yet serve all parts of Chicago itself (the aforementioned Southeast Lakefront Corridor). Metra says it gets no type of funding from the city for providing in-city services; here is a chance to get those in-city services 100% city funded. Also, the cost of the CTA Gray Line is $100 MILLION T O T A L implementation cost for 22 miles and 37 stations ($5 million per mile

  • In reply to mikep621:

    The Title VI Complaint I am reopening with FTA, IDOT and RTA is very different from last weeks lawsuit; they claim Metra is unfairly getting more funds than CTA overall, causing deteriorated CTA services. My complaint is about the Southeast Lakefront Corridor only, and that it has been and is being excluded from the rail rapid transit facilities constructed and being planned for many other city and suburban communities. CTA itself (CITY Municipal Rapid Transit) is planning the Yellow Line Extension (in a suburb entirely outside the City Limits of the City of Chicago), while they do not yet serve all parts of Chicago itself (the aforementioned Southeast Lakefront Corridor). Metra says it gets no type of funding from the city for providing in-city services; here is a chance for Metra to get those in-city services 100% city funded. Also, the cost of the CTA Gray Line is $100 MILLION T O T A L implementation cost for 22 miles and 37 stations ($5 million per mile

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Since you are referring to New Starts, maybe you should contact whoever is your Congressman. That's part of the highway bill. In fact, if you look at the CTA's New Start page, the only thing that has happened is that they got through the first round of the consultant and going into the second. No money for construction has been allocated to by the feds, there is no Full Funding Agreement. Also, the locals in Skokie shot down the "locally preferred alternative" that the consultant recommended; I doubt that any project there will proceed much farther.

    While you still give 10 year old estimates of the capital cost, you aren't saying what operating cost Metra expects CTA to pay if it implements your plan.

    However, it seems like your obsession has masked two arguments against your discrimination claim:

    1. CTA believes it provides adequate express bus service to the SE Lakefront. I wonder what the reaction would be if, to make a go of the South Chicago Gray Line, it canceled the 2, 6, 14, and 26 buses? Which ethnic community would yell racism about that?

    2. Sure you complaint is different from the lawsuit, however, it can't be racism for both (a) the CTA to refuse to fund a Metra service, and (b) CTA riders saying that Metra is getting too much already.

    You also face two legal hurdles I don't beleive you can overcome:

    1. You haven't shown (other than the promise of the new study) that facts have changed. Hence, the prior decision is res judicata.

    2. As I noted after your post in the Chicago Bar-Tender, you haven't given factual proof of the elements of racism, only that someone from the south side did not get what he wanted.

    So, don't just reiterate the "facts" on your website; figure out why they don't get any "traction." As they say, insanity is repeating the same thing with the same lack of results.

  • In reply to jack:

    By the way, I do know the answer to question #1. If your remember the 2007 Doomsday, part of the CTA "Sundays only" plan would have ended pretty much all service in West Rogers Park. However, someone living in South Shore posted a rumor on chicagobus.org that they would cancel the 14 bus, and that would be racism, notwithstanding all the ethnic groups that would have been inconvenienced by the announced plan.

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