TRANSIT RIDERS UNION SAT SEPT 4 12 NOON RE REEDVILLE CAFE BOYCOTT TRIMET CUTS
Transit Riders Union meets Sat., Sept. 4, 12 noon at Portland State's Chit Chat Cafe, 1906 SW Sixth for organizing/pickets re the Reedville Cafe Boycott to Elect the TriMet Board & Stop the Cuts + Fare Hikes. Reedville Cafe is owned by unelected TriMet board president Rick Van Beveran and Van Beveren has voted for every fare hike and service cut for two years.
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, TriMet implemented the second fare hike in the past year. This Sunday, TriMet will cut two buslines altogether and cutback on 60 more buslines plus cut back on MAX service (even as TriMet keeps building more light rail lines).
Transit Riders Union meets at 12 noon Saturday, Sept. 4, at PSU's Chit Chat Cafe (1906 SW Sixth) to make picket signs and organize strategy for more pickets, a court injunction, and electing the TriMet board (it is currently appointed by Oregon's governor with zero accountability or tranparency).
Transit Riders Union (TRU) has gathered 1,400 petition signatures against fare hikes and service cuts, and we picketed the 200 SW Market offices of Portland Business Alliance (PBA). PBA pushed for two years to gut Fareless Square, and finally succeeded in January of this year.
While some groups talk about 'doing transit research' or beseech TriMet to develop some kind of plan to reverse cuts 'when the economy is better' -- these approaches may not address long term high unemployment in Oregon and the U.S. (Obama says there is 'nothing' he can do, even though FDR, to end the Depression, created 11,000,000 government jobs, etc.), and hence, may not address so-called 'austerity' cutbacks to transit, schools, et al.
Transit Riders Union is organizing the Reedville Cafe Boycott to Elect the TriMet Board and Stop the Cuts and Fare Hikes. Rick Van Beveren is the unelected president of the TriMet board and owns the Reedville Cafe in Hillsboro on the #57 bus line.
Van Beveren himself says his cafe hosted the May primary election victory party of conservative Metro president candidate Tom Hughes. Both Van Beveren and Hughes oppose having the TriMet board elected by the people (it is appointed in secret, with zero accountability and zero transparency, by Oregon's governor).
Hughes also supports the CRC bridge, while his November runoff election opponent, Bob Stacey, is a CRC critic. Stacey was director of 1,000 Friends of Oregon, worked with OSPIRG as undergrad and is the progressive, green candidate for Metro president. $800,000 has been raised to be Metro president by the candidates (including third place runner up in May, Rex Burkholder), so far.
According to Robert Liberty, elected Metro councilor, Metro has legal authority, under ORS, to take over TriMet, and Metro IS elected. Transit activists can also organize a petition drive to place a measure on the Oregon ballot requiring that TriMet's board be elected by the people, and be held accountable.
As TriMet board president, Rick Van Beveren has voted for every fare hike and service cut over the past two years. While a Dr. King-type bus boycott won't work in the worst recession since the Great Depression, when transit-dependent riders like seniors and disabled, workers and students -- need to get to work, school, the store and to the doctor -- a targeted boycott of Reedville Cafe is a strategic effort to hold TriMet accountable.
Moreover, Portland Business Alliance just donated $5,000 to the Tom Hughes campaign for Metro president. Both the Oregonian and Tribune have endorsed Tom Hughes for Metro president, and the govenor just appointed, in secret, the president of the Tribune, Steve Clark, to the TriMet board of directors.
In LA and SF, transit activists, 3x, at the local level, have been able to get court injunctions to halt fare hikes and service cuts.
According to WWeek, TriMet, counting capital projects, has a $2.5 billion budget. Yet, TriMet says it has a $27,000,000 shortfall -- but the $1.5 million generated by this fare hike won't come close to making up that alleged deficit.
In November, TriMet wants voters to approve a $125,000,000 levy to buy 150 new buses for disabled and senior riders (a good idea) -- but that may be cold comfort to transit riders now who are seeing their transit system being dismembered, piece by piece. None of that money will go for operations, only capital projects, according to TriMet.
TriMet's new General Manager, Neil MacFarlane (who makes $200,000 per year) says that transit riders have 'tunnel vision' and just need to wait out the recession/depression until the economy gets better. This seems to omit many things, among them the fact the Oregon has the 7th highest unemployment rate in the country, people need to get to work or to job-hunt, and that cutting Fareless Square eliminated something that was free (and fought air pollution!) for 35 years but now is a $175 if you don't pay, etc.
Protecting and promoting (expanding) economical public transit also fights global warming, and lessens the need for foreign oil, and foreign oil wars.
Help transit activists in Portland make picket signs, and decide what and where the next picket (or other direct actions) should be taken!
address: PO Box 40011, Portland, Oregon 97240
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