Archive for August, 2008
I just received my latest economist.com issue on line and the article Business and Water leaped out at me. Not two hours ago, a neighbor came over to visit and we had a long conversation about land and its relationship with water and how we are sitting on the banks of probably one of the most important natural resources in our future–Lake Erie. She worries that others will be the decision-makers on the use of our land, our water, our wealth. So do I. The importance of citizen engagement in the public process to create balance and integrity may never be so critical as it is now. As citizens and voters, we need to be aware of issues that we would probably rather avoid–taking a stand or leading the way are often lonely places to be. If we do not take part and become engaged in the process who will stand in the place of the seventh generation? And if we do not take a stand today, will there be a seventh generation?
Little Teagan and her proud parents are resting comfortably in Knoxville. She arrived yesterday August 12, 2008. 20 inches and 7 lbs. 3 oz. of extreme cuteness has joined the family. Proud grandparents around the world-Ohio, New Zealand and South Africa, great grandparents in Wales and Ohio are spreading the good news to family and friends. Only one day old and this baby already has a global reach. WOW! And then, there is that incredibly excited aunt in Savannah beside herself with glee that can’t wait to see her little niece.
I would post more but I have lots of phone calls and emails to send. So many people to share this extremely wonderful news-TEAGAN ELIZABETH MEWETT HAS ARRIVED!!
I have decided to post these notes from the public meeting as is. My comments are italicized. A court reporter was present so instead of snippets the whole testimony should be available soon. There was some powerful testimony given, and it should be recorded and it should be read. It should be read by the state officials that are cutting the public transit budget, it should be read by each and every State elected official, and it should be read by our county and local officials as well. It should be read by riders and nonriders of RTA because the impact will be felt by ALL of us.
Here we are all seated in the auditorium at the Main Library downtown. I just heard that it will start in three minutes. Since I couldn’t get a wireless connection in the auditorium I will be blogging this way and not live blogging as I hoped.
I am looking around at the people seated here and it looks much like a bus at Rush hour. SHHHH! everyone is asking for silence. They intend to listen very hard and very closely to us. As usual we will have the presentations first explaining the reason for the cuts in service. They are facing a $20 million deficit at the end of the year.
They have a signer for those who need it, a court reporter that is recording the whole proceeding. Joe Calabrese is now speaking. for thirty-two years he has been speaking on the importance of RTA and the impact we have on the value of peoples’ lives. My simple goal is not to cut service and raise fares. Fares cover 20%. Circulators down 7%. Could it be the problem with fare boxes? I know that on any given day 10 people can be waved through on the circulator I ride. That would easily equal 7% on a full bus.
Weak economy is used as reason for problems. 1% sales tax produces less and less each year. fuel costs went up tremendously $20 million this year $24 million next year. Ohio is one of the worst funders of public transportation across the country.
consolidated 6 bus facilities to 3 bus facilities merged North Olmsted and Maple Heights into RTA. I believe this was years ago. not sure why this is important now.
it is now standing room only. still packing them in. Rising fuel costs up 600%
Fuel costs affecting everyone trucking, airlines, families and Transit systems
Funding from the State of Ohio THIS COULD SAVE THE DAY
now dropped by 63% RTA funding comes through ODOT
the state is not doing its part as is other states less than 3% of the funding comes from Ohio.
Ohio has been decreasing funding when other states have increased.
Why are other states supporting public transit when we are not?
Roads, highway, bridges 85% of comments were we need more money for public transit when the DOT task force was going around the state for public hearings
reducing Mgt. positions
Freezing Mgmt salaries
reducing overtime and travel
asking the Unions to help
if we can’t reduce enough expenses or obtain additional state funding. the last thing we want to do is add fuel surcharge on fares or cut service
It is not because of the EUCLID CORRIDOR project. It will cost less to run than the #6
Fare collection system Know that they are having a problem. Company who manufactured and sold the boxes to RTA have said they will reimburse lost fares, and replace boxes free of charge. Just how many fares have been lost? Who keeps track? How is this possible?
State funding and fuel costs are the issues
people in audience are shouting that it is salaries, Euclid corridor and fare boxes.
looking at consolidation of service and duplication of service and little used routes.
work related trips versus shopping trips. comes down to getting to work or Kmart shopping. Does not anyone work at Kmart? Might they use public transit? I wonder if he used Crocker Park as the example in Westlake last night?
Citizens advisory Board has letters available for state senators and representatives. Also sign up sheet for lobby day in Columbus
“What is Joe Calabrese’s salary?” A shout from the crowd
Sales tax underperformance 2.7 million and diesel 5.0 million
2009 Negative factors
Sales tax projected 5.3 m
Consumer Confidence Weak/pessimistic
U.S. 5.5 %
State of Ohio 6.6. our county 8.2 % 6/2008
2007 $12.2 m
2oo8 budget $15.7 million
2008 Estimate $20.6 m
2009 $24. million estimate
Average cost $2.09 our current estimate $3.72 significant cost increases
Fuel costs nearly doubled
Diesel fuel surcharge indexed to a national fuel cost tables quarterly average will be used. passage prior to October 1st
first step $.50 next step an additional $.25 only implemented if needed by using tables.
Cannot run a budget deficit by law. Sales tax revenue is flat not keeping up with inflation.
As prices go down, the fuel charge could go down. Many systems around the country implementing this model.
Third Speaker–Now talking about the service reductions under consideration
must meet two of three criteria to be reduced or eliminated
service has low ridership
operating out of the county at a financial loss– Avon Lake and Brunswick are the two affected lines
whether alternative service is available
discontinuing all circulator service brings a roar from the crowd shouts of no! no! no!
reading from the brochure
someone shouted “I will lose my job”.
Waterfront Line discontinue all service except rush our and special events
all local money paid for this.
when they say what will be discontinued individual voices voice displeasure for discontinuation of the service
mostly because of job concerns.
Have state officials been invited? Are they attending so they can see the disruption of peoples lives and that the quality of life of those lives will be decreased?
YOU HAVE LOST YOUR MIND!! when they are discussing combining #11 and #13
Calling for boycott of RTA your service is not that great.
Official asks for quiet so that they can get through the recitation of the route changes and discontinuation of service. By law required to recite these in public.
these are all in the reader’s digest.
he tells us it is the last slide.
we need to know what days of the week you ride, where it starts and where it ends, what route
It is important to have done that for the public record.
Mike Polensek the first speaker look at everyone here. and the 100+ that are standing out in the hallway because they could not get in.
no one understands better than the people in this room . falling on the backs of the working people, the elderly, and the disabled.
Circulator is vital to the residents and the businesses as well. WE fought like hell to get ours. we will lose neighborhood businesses they will fail because they will lose their customers.
Euclid avenue state of the art bus shelters, state of the art buses, the waterfront lines.
Letter from Mike Polensek
look at internal costs
look at contracts
it will represent a return to the automobile our constituents will have no other choice but to do that. RTA will stand for the Return of the Automobile
Please do not put the burden on the backs of these people. Standing ovation for Mike P.
Brianna Anderson 39S and ??X class on Tri-c west campus. I have a job as a client laiason. 45 minutes wait for bus, does not come and then I am late. and then, I looked and everywhere that I go is being cut.
Letitia Feliciano rides the 22 I am very blessed. I still have my great-grandmother, my parents. Livid on getting rid of the circulators. the senior citizens will be screwed. why would you even think of getting rid of them?
Patrick Hauret I have been riding the bus for five years. It is a necessity. the 1,3,145, 15, 88x, 76x My family lives in Garfield heights. I will not be able tot visit my family on Saturday and Sunday. My family can’t come see me. I wonder about those who have Dialysis appointments on Saturday. All insurance companies have cut transportation. No bus on weekends will mean no dialysis. Life threatening
The circulator was fought for. takes care of the senior citizens. Dave’s supermarkets. Dave’s will give you a bus pass when you shop there. I talked to Bart Salzman who said that If they cut the circulators he will have to cut the passes. This is the way they get to the grocery store. This is the way that people get around. Get rid of the little green smiling buses.
Let us apologize we did not anticipate the crowd. they have added noon to 3 tomorrow. Will skip the preliminaries and go straight to comments. This is for the people who are on lunch hour.
Mr. Lee 90 Balsam that goes to Bedford heights only 3 times a day. a mile from Balsam to county line. Why not cut out that mile unless someone is riding that needs to go there.
Janice Hearn– catch three buses to work Monday thru Friday. On the weekend, I use the circulator and buses for errands and family business. Circulator not only for senior citizen. I need the bus to get to the store, pharmacy, this bus allows that. 11 already cut the service it is so bad now it will only get worse. already waits 45 to 1 hr. Senior citizens need circulator to get around the neighborhood. my son also uses the circulator to get to H.S. prices are going up, you need to think of us and how we use these buses every day. If we boycotted the buses, how much would you lose?
Gordon Stamper– represents 129 riders of the Euclid park-n-ride. Rate the service–
F-service, rates, and ?
wrong to compare us to Youngstown and Akron. they have not seen an increase in ridership. 5 times higher in bus service cuts 11.& lower in amount of service. do not patronize us with these false numbers.
national average $1.55 cost of a bus ride
we know that this meeting is only to do what you have to do as required by law. and then you will do what you are told.
we know that you are not running the show because you are appointed. but we can put the three commissioners and the mayor out of office who appoints you.
Raymond walker, garden valley pastor poorest in city. asking for food and bus money. I have been riding the bus for over a year. circulators will be cut. the disabled, the seniors will have no way to get to where they go.
if fares are increased, do you think that the number who can afford the bus will decrease and therefore ridership will go down?
please rethink cutting the service and raising the fares.
handicapped person. this is how she described herself. I am not sure she gave her name. I didn’t catch it if she did. fix the lifts on the bus. half the time do not work.
28, 1, 30 94, 39 October to June I go to work. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday need the circulator. no circulator Sunday service on eastside.
806 will take me straight to the church house if it ran on Sunday.
Gwendolyn Johnson circulator necessary. representing the people who could not come themselves. What will happen to the circulators? Can we rent them? can we own them? What is going to happen to those buses? 759 signatures of people who need those circulators. She did this on her own after work on weekends. have a coupon day or a sale day to give a discount rate.
Mark Madden people are not stupid. we know that gasoline and maintenance is going up. salaries do not run on gasoline. Seniors “thank for your ridership for the last 3 years but now we don’t need you any more. The Euclid corridor buses will not help the seniors in the neighborhoods.
Dominic Liberatore– resident of Shaker Heights. former Citizen Advisory Board member. RTA, administration and the board to organize the public in support of state funded transit systems. slashed by 63% percent started with Taft continuing with Strickland I would encourage each and every one you to come to the day in spring.
Very rude people, shouting this man down. will back tomorrow from noon to 3 p.m.
Jeannette Thorpe– she starts off explaining that she is handicapped and hard of hearing so she will be shouting. pissed off. Westlake buses will not be coming. I cannot go to school, I cannot go to a job she is overcome with emotion and speaks through her sobs. The crowd becomes strangely silent.
Monica- not here
Diane Howard -use the circulator for metrohealth and steelyard commons 11, and 39 used by son to go to work.
Latanya Gibson– i am new to catching the bus. i got rid of my car to use public transportation. 803 used for my own choice to get rid of car and use public transportation to save money. It is like a slap in the face
Michael Kiakowski– Mr. Calabrese has lied to us has utter contempt, he should apologize. i do not respect him because he does not respect human beings. I am student who attends Tri-C West. three buses to Southland. cutting service to all of these lines. This a ploy to exhort money from the state
Sharron Woods– I hope they do not cut service. construction, parking, to get downtown needed. most of the things already said. Would the customers come together to file a class action suit?
Ramona- 11 and others. My children and I take these buses for doctors, and other things. I thought I was doing great until I heard this. I have children who do not live me. I will not be able to see my son who does not live with me. We should be looking for a better way not making it harder.
Courtney Jennings I am going to high school. strict policies about attendance. will be locked out if I am not on time. I don’t want that to happen I need to go school.
Irene Jennings the first circulator–no we count on this bus if we lose the circulator. We are constantly walking and doing without. I am here today. I am not working. I am not getting paid. This bus service is our life. Please consider reading the scripture before going to bed so that you can find a way to help us.
Lindrick Elliot Bus routes that are going to be cut. why try eliminating buses? You are trying to hurt us-east side and west side. I am not sure what this man meant but I think he wanted them to consider the number of buses on a route rather than eliminating the route. I believe he also suggested using smaller buses on the routes with less ridership.
Police have shown up because of the character that continually talks about Joe Calabrese’ salary and health care. He has not gotten up to speak at the microphone, but simply shouts out periodically :Joe, tell us your salary? How about those health care benefits, etc.”
Josie Flores I agree with what everyone is saying. Why don’t the people in the RTA offices go out and ride these buses. What about alternative fuels?
Leah ? expected profit projected increase in ridership-commuters are beginning to ride implied new riders if you make it happen. marketing would help. find new riders. instead of putting burden on the riders you already have. the taxpayer should also support an increase in public transit monies. I believe she was referring to the annual GCRTA report for some of her info. She had a great idea of marketing the RTA as a way to save money, the environment, and time.
Steve Albro-Cleveland Sight Center employee. I teach people to use the RTA. Paratransit- impacts of the cuts 43, 46, 49 and the elimination of the 68. will also cut out a paratransit ride to Tri-c if live farther than five miles. Recommend that enough of the service be restored. These people will not have a ride. Eliminate the opportunity for a person to go to dialysis.
Let the politicians know how you feel. Let’s say that we will pay for it.
Mr. Marrin-I wish that the company would think of what they are doing to the people have a little heart. legislate and lobby for the changes need. Rta should take the lead on this.
Jules Coche-Shaker Heights life long user of RTA ride a different number of routes. green and blue line regularly. i support a fare increase that will support the present system we have do not want a decrease service. We need to increase service, not decrease. Service that we are entitled to.
The philosophy- smiley face if you have problems Service we need the service.
entitled to a ride not a seat. We need a seat to make it a tolerable ride. we need to build for future. When prices come down, we won ‘t be using it. Switching who is responsible for the right of ways and the light rail lines. Maintain the public service as it is.
citizens of Cleveland passed the sales tax to help
the resurrection of the transfer should be considered.
comments up to the date before the vote. need to table vote so the comments and concerns can be genuinely considered.
John Peebles-live in Lakewood have seen improvement from CTS to RTA. I take the bus or rapid every day of the year. circulators service needed. Please do not cut out. I would have to walk a mile to get my prescriptions. I use the bus to get to Marymount hospital.
Maria Tucker– I came down on behalf of the seniors and the children who pay bus fares. the circulators are very important. Children and seniors have the least amount of money. it all comes down to time and money. inner city children hit the hardest. buses are going to run any way. Middle of the day. why would you charge us more? I don’t think that we can afford more than $1.00 a ride? Advisory board member is out of touch. projected and proposal. What RTA is asking us to do something that hasn’t even happened. Oil went down.
RTA I appreciate them. I wish I could congratulate them but let’s get real.
Francis Berry— you have heard our concerns. without me there is no you. If you do go up on the prices, and cut the service, and what if we boycott you and what happens then?
Benjamin Jacobs– Glen Willow 41A consolidated the two 41 buses will take place in August. getting better service. consolidation one of the best things. I understand the rate increase. I understand people’s concerns about less buses. That will make it more efficient. Thank RTA for giving us this chance.
Tim Damon– Questions- Percentage of liquefied natural gas and diesel buses. Which is better? possibility of locking in lower prices by using hedges. Why are we finding out only two months before making changes? We need to be responsible using energy? need to contact legislators. If Stevens of Alaska can get funding for a bridge to nowhere why can’t our congressmen increase public transit funding?
Daisy Prince– 808 circulator and 20A. We need to find out why these cuts are being made. the buses are filled. the bus breaks down. pulling over and letting buses run by us. have to wait for the next bus.
Vonda Melton– a disabled worker a 16 year old daughter. cannot afford increases. what would I be paying for less service? I ride all routes. 14, 88, 802, 41.
Maureen Koontz– Clifton avenue resident concern that we are losing our bus system the circulator and the 117th how do I get to the rapid? circulator 804 and the 75. yes we have the 55 but that takes us down town.
Ohio with the big red blot. Somebody has been asleep at the switch.
donna Semuth– Lakewood resident historically dependent on public transit. students to not get bused depend on the circulator. CSU U-pass is a great service. Most students do not use pass because the service needed is not available. changing of service invest in the infrastructure of the students so that they will get the service they need.
Troy Smith I used to have a car. nine years have taken bus because it was cheaper. Now I am thinking of going back to car. if you want to get more riders, such as the people who drive their car to and from work. Now, with fare increases not as cheap. But it may be soon that I will buy a car and stop riding the bus. applause
Think of improving service.
Cynthia Roth- main concern is maintenance of the buses. Air conditioners do not work. do not cut back on the maintenance men. Should have more diagnostic services to do preventative. phone systems need to be upgraded. drivers are good attitude drivers, but you have a few that have a few nooks and crannies. need to be watched and disciplined. Don’t make me suffer because Jane gave John a hard time. be considerate of your routes. Use the circulators on the weekend. To conserve on your diesel fuel.
Shirley Hammond-raise of fares will have to be because the prices are going up. a public company on line. You made enough money. make them accountable for the use of the money. They did make a profit.
November 2007. already discussed in their board meeting. Why are we hearing about it at this late date?
24 Tri-C East. evening route cut will not be able to get home. I started a petition. 1546 signatures saying that they can not afford the increase. bus drivers taking breaks and lunches.
Maurice Thomasson– 24 if you cut out bus i will not get to job. my job will not understand. this fare increase is not necessary. More money, for less service. more bus fare should be more service.
Not sure this next piece is Maurice. I believe it was a lady who worked at Steelyard Commons
I represent the workers at steelyard 807. take 803 for my errands.
need to save circulators 576 signatures saying save the bus system.
52 and 22 the way you have cut out transportation it is almost totally impossible for those of us who are disabled. What is the point of punishing people like this? This is hardly a service any more. Does not make any sense. I have been riding buses since I was 15. I am 59 it is time for more buses not less.
George Zeller-Cleveland economic analyst–no one supports the RTA fares and cut in systems. they are listening to us here today. The economy is in miserable shape and 70 % of the money comes from the sales taxes. because we are laid off in this town and we are buying less.
169,000 people laid off in this county. RTA’s money will be gone down.
the capital budget needs to be considered as well. every nickel going into the capital budget goes from the service. It also needs to be cut.
Gary Monroe-16,19 and many more. Tri-C and Myers University student. If service is cut 88x and 76x on the weekends, I won’t
be able to get home. put it on the ballot. 1974 last time on ballot.
Barbara Rivers-Euclid Beach Club the 806 circulator, disabled. I have a paratransit pass. do not have money to use that pass. I use the circulator because it is cheaper.
like everyone else I am on a fixed income. times that I run out of food. it is not getting easier for anyone. I depend on the 806 because I can’t walk. especially with heavy bags. please please keep the circulator.
Shelly Robb-Parma Heights I hope that RTA aggressively looks for federal funds for service. disabled starting back to school TRI-C 68 and 45 service cuts what bus is left? not any. You need to rethink how Tri-C is going to be serviced. There has to be at least one bus that pulls into the campus.
paratransit not an option. late for Dr. appointments. once I was on the bus for 2 1/2 hours. really need to revamp. Circulators could be paratransits. you should rethink who gets the paratransit passes.
Sammy Hill-everything pretty well covered. 808. keep all of the circulators. smaller buses instead of the larger buses more economical. i can see what they say about a cheap state for contributing money. I believe the real problem is the state funding. I think RTA is trying to do what they can do.
Dana Cholowa– ungodly that you are trying to cut out the circulators. have any of you been on these buses/ 805 coming up off the rapid. where are these people going to go? you need to have circulators 9x needs to be increased. not safe to walk. you need to rethink how you will be hurting people
need to increase from point a to b. daily basis it has so many red flags you need to think why people are depending on you more than on cars.
Antoinette Panzo i have been a user of public transit all of my life. At this point, in my life, I choose to depend on RTA. we had a service cut in December. If these cuts continue, I will suspend use and get a car. if it is not convenient, if you can not get where you need to go, you will not use it.
Not everyone works downtown. people work on weekends. not everyone works 9 to 5. if you have to wait longer times, you will not take the bus. especially in the winter. Ride the bus in January. wait an hour and then tell us you are #1 in America.
Linn Mays I came down for all of the people in Garfield Heights who couldn’t come themselves. Maple Park Drive. we as a people need to stick together more. we need to get our council and other officials to work with us to get this done.
Chim wuiz a private conversation with me. did not speak at hearing
Thought it seemed a bit contrived and not sincere. excited that I am blogging so that the real story will be told.Salaries exorbitant and benefits needs to be looked at more closely.
what about the capital budget? that is what they did not talk about?
This is a public hearing but are they really listening?
Cassandra Grace– one of those entrepreneurs in Cleveland go to clients homes by bus. almost every bus route on that list effects me and my employees. senior citizens rely on circulators. I have watched RTA change over the years. need to do something about the system. in 1994 stopped riding the bus because of the increase in fares. I will do it again. there are a lot of people from all walks of life, all here today because people want to work. we want things to get better.
Christine Stuckey– I can’t help but wonder if this is a little bit like shutting the barn door after the horse is already gone. One thing you need to consider is that disabled and seniors and a lot of other people use the circulators to get out and see others. It is not only for shopping and getting to appointments, but it allows people to have independence. It gives them the opportunity to go to a coffee shop and see other people. Mental health issues need to be considered.
Christine got a lot of applause probably because she talked about quality of life issues.
Missed her name Safety issues. come winter you are going to have a lot of people walking in the streets.
Missed her name– relies totally on the bus system. takes the 3 and the 26 to work at McDonald’s. In fact, turned down hours to attend public hearing. can’t buy groceries without Dave’s, go to steelyard commons. please do not cut circulators.
if you have to raise rates raise them but keep the circulators. I make seven dollars an hour but I will pay somehow if I have the service I need.
Luther Smith-a young elder senior. 80 years old. i am up and about. i do use the bus. I use the 8. on Sunday. it runs empty. Quincy and central line. low ridership. but there is rush hour. use smaller buses on the routes that have less ridership. Run the circulator to central and Quincy if you run them south between cedar and woodland. Euclid corridor bus stops are beautiful but by the time you walk to them you are too tired to get on the bus. wait until winter. snow will be an issue. had a lot of good suggestions on how to change bus service.
John Blunt 806 I will not be able get to shopping. are they thinking of taking away the handicapped fares? Bathrooms at rapid stations. and transit centers.
Russell Haines–822 Westlake goes to the Westlake porter library. I live on the east side.
Betty Forrestor– I know with the prices increases you do need to raise fares. but you do need to think about salary cuts. I do not like that you say our job is to see that they have transportation there and back. you do not need a seat.
You do not pay our salaries. We do pay your salaries. the government pays your salaries. we are the government.
Lakewood man who is disabled. his father is a charter bus driver. when he is gone, man must rely on the bus to get back and forth for shopping. Has a possible chance for a job he will need the bus. he is also going to go back to Tri-c. If my dad is out of town, how will i get to church?
Didn’t get man’s name.
route 36 eddy road distance is a long distance. a lot of people use eddy road to get to a lot of the other bus routes. to expect those of us who use that route to find another way is an injustice.
52 on the westside. discontinuing late night service to Fairview hospital and the airport. suggested adding 24 hour rapid service. advocate of local and express service. I disagree with cutting out rush our service on 7x. making local routes out of express services. point a to b takes longer. time is money. failure is not an option Apollo 13.
Greater better make it live up to its title.
Vendor at the Q
proactive and not reactive
75 used to get to the Q and the browns stadium. he will have a half hour walk if the service cut. will have to walk from West Park Rapid Station..
John Marshall graduate. 809 used for students at john Marshall.
Karen Green– took vacation day. Buses talk to you. drivers used to do this. made it more personable. hates this feature. much agreement in the crowd.
gets me to the doctor
make the redline 24 hours
gets me to my job on Friday in Tremont
you rearranged the service when 807 added.
What good is the public transit service if it is not available to those who take advantage of it and use it.
Well, I packed up at 3 p.m. and left the library. As Christine and I waited for our bus, we saw the RTA employees walking back to their offices on West 6th so we didn’t miss much. Please excuse any misspelling of names. I did the best I could. I included names because people stated them for the public record, so since it is part of a public record. I felt it appropriate. if anyone would like their name omitted please let me know.