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The Boulevard Project


zaphod

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If I read the pdf right, it's suggesting that bus operations will be in general traffic (not in its own lane) along the stretch on 610???  Where traffic is the worst?  

 

Seems like they are setting this thing up to fail, no wonder why it's so cheap. 

 

See page 8: 

TxDOT and Uptown are in the early development stages of an elevated dedicated bus or HOV facility in the median of IH 610 from the Northwest Transit
Center to Post Oak Boulevard (Figure A-4). The elevated dedicated bus or HOV facility would replace the majority of the mixed traffic bus operation north of the Project (the Connection to METRO’s Northwest Transit Center) as shown in Figure A-1 with a grade separated, dedicated transit facility.
 
Also, TxDOT announced just last week that they will be providing  $25 million to build a dedicated bus lane along Loop 610, ensuring the second piece of a planned bus rapid transit corridor in the Uptown area.
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

It's not a "jihad against rail", Uptown Management District doesn't like the idea of widening the road at all (which, let's face it, this has caused a lot of traffic problems in Uptown for years with this mindset), TxDOT wants to build the bus lanes but along 610 but isn't committing to the corridor to be used for rail (or at least that's how I understand it--why it's TxDOT building and not, say, HCTRA, is a mystery to me), and a TxDOT official is suggesting that since METRO, TxDOT, and Uptown can't work out an agreement, they'll pull the funding.

 

Part of the problem is that actually making the lanes viable for rail use would make the project even more expensive even if they were retrofitted for later use--remember that METRO decided to donate a substantial amount of money to over-engineer the HOT lanes on Interstate 10 so that they could, in theory, be used for rail down the line, except that in that case, that corridor was not guaranteed to them nor was it approved by voters. And the I-10 fiasco was all METRO's doing...no one at HCTRA or TxDOT strong-armed them into that.

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"We don't want our involvement in this project to be clouded by rail versus bus".......therefore I will make you declare that this will not someday, somehow be changed from one mode of transit to another....

 

I don't get it Mr. Moseley. Does METRO need to pinky swear that they won't make them into bike lanes one day as well? How about a blood oath that the lanes won't be fashioned as pedestrian sidewalks if the whole transit thing doesn't work out?

 

 

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No. This is about the elevated portion between post oak and northwest transit center. It's basic extortion. TXDOT is saying they won't give money unless there's a guarantee of no rail ever. That is overreaching and unnecessary.

 

Yes, but you didn't read my post. My post stated that to make the elevated lanes compatible for rail, they would have to spend more money to "over-engineer" for rail. That's the same principle of why METRO gave extra money during the Interstate 10 widening to give the HOT lanes "strength" to handle rail, so to speak. Only here, of course, rail was actually voted on and approved for this corridor.

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Note who responds to who first

 

I like to reply to posts, and I had just seen the Swamplot link for that, and knowing Slick's propensity for misinformation/alarmist posts, wanted to explain what's going on as I best understood it. If that somehow constitutes trolling, then I don't know what doesn't.

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A better question is, why is TxDOT involved at all? Like I said, even I'm a bit perplexed why they're even offering to build bus lanes (that only METRO uses) at all.

 

I feel like this is more of a question of what is local vs. what is regional.  TxDOT is clearly a state transportation agency that should cover ALL modes, not just rubber-tired infrastructure.  

 

But should they be doing local feeder roads?  Or the 610 loop which is purely local infrastructure?  It's an interesting debate for sure. 

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Yes, but you didn't read my post. My post stated that to make the elevated lanes compatible for rail, they would have to spend more money to "over-engineer" for rail. That's the same principle of why METRO gave extra money during the Interstate 10 widening to give the HOT lanes "strength" to handle rail, so to speak. Only here, of course, rail was actually voted on and approved for this corridor.

How much more would it cost? Would that not fit in the $25 million? As some engineers on haif posted in the previous thread the additional modifications are minor so this is quite petulant on the part of TXDOT.

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I feel like this is more of a question of what is local vs. what is regional. TxDOT is clearly a state transportation agency that should cover ALL modes, not just rubber-tired infrastructure.

But should they be doing local feeder roads? Or the 610 loop which is purely local infrastructure? It's an interesting debate for sure.

I think it's worth a debate. After all, some of the ROW cleared for the 610/290 interchange was for a potential HSR to go through, so you could make the argument that it's not local but rail friendly. On the other hand, spurs like 527 really only serve local traffic, so why does TxDOT maintain it?

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I think it's worth a debate. After all, some of the ROW cleared for the 610/290 interchange was for a potential HSR to go through, so you could make the argument that it's not local but rail friendly. On the other hand, spurs like 527 really only serve local traffic, so why does TxDOT maintain it?

Lol give me a break. You can't be rail friendly if you're against it in some capacity

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Ok now you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to get on each other's nerves as that's a question that has absolutely nothing to do with this pointless thread.

 

I think you're right, this will go nowhere, especially extremist arguments as Slick's reply shows. With a mindset like that, it's easy to see why there's gridlock in the Uptown debate to begin with.

 

And I feel like a fool again for walking into a thread that was never meant for debate to begin with and only bitching about anyone remotely against rail.

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I think you're right, this will go nowhere, especially extremist arguments as Slick's reply shows. With a mindset like that, it's easy to see why there's gridlock in the Uptown debate to begin with.

And I feel like a fool again for walking into a thread that was never meant for debate to begin with and only bitching about anyone remotely against rail.

It's not extremist it's extremist to make an option that destroys any opportunity regardless of how minor to make some minor accomodations for rail one day in the future if the demand exists at that time instead of a total reconstruction

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I am all for rail. Against BRT in the Uptown area and I would NOT like to see rail along Post Oak either unless it was more like a street car. What I would like to see is a Subway line from Uptown to Downtown that way no one can say anything about how they don't want it going down a certain street or in their neighborhood. It may cost more but look at all of the benefits a subway would bring over a light rial line.

 

No interaction between rail with cars or pedestrians which means no car/train wrecks no stopping of traffic and no humans getting hit by trains.

Everyone will have to pay and there will be no confusion on if your pass is still good or not.

People will be protected from the heat, rain, etc within the subway stations.

 

Edited by citykid09
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I am all for rail. Against BRT in the Uptown area and I would NOT like to see rail along Post Oak either unless it was more like a street car. What I would like to see is a Subway line from Uptown to Downtown that way no one can say anything about how they don't want it going down a certain street or in their neighborhood. It may cost more but look at all of the benefits a subway would bring over a light rial line.

 

No interaction between rail with cars or pedestrians which means no car/train wrecks no stopping of traffic and no humans getting hit by trains.

Everyone will have to pay and there will be no confusion on if your pass is still good or not.

People will be protected from the heat, rain, etc within the subway stations.

 

I agree, if richmond and uptown never get built then go full bore a subway from like Voss & Westheimer to DT with stops at chimneyrock, galleria, weslayan. Then curves NE with a stop at Shepard and Grey, then w dallas & waugh and then allen pkwy and montrose then memorial and houston finally in DT at Capital & Main. 9 miles about

 

 http://lightrailnow.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/new-subway-metro-systems-cost-nearly-9-times-as-much-as-light-rail/

1_arn_subway-cost-us.jpg?w=600&h=461

I would guess 450mil/mile so 4.05 billion. Slightly lower construction cost in Hou.

 

Edited by Spacecityroller
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I agree, if richmond and uptown never get built then go full bore a subway from like Voss & Westheimer to DT with stops at chimneyrock, galleria, weslayan. Then curves NE with a stop at Shepard and Grey, then w dallas & waugh and then allen pkwy and montrose then memorial and houston finally in DT at Capital & Main. 9 miles about

 

 http://lightrailnow.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/new-subway-metro-systems-cost-nearly-9-times-as-much-as-light-rail/

1_arn_subway-cost-us.jpg?w=600&h=461

I would guess 450mil/mile so 4.05 billion. Slightly lower construction cost in Hou.

 

 

Tell me why Houston's light rail cost more per mile than any other cities?

2_arn_lrt-cost-us.jpg?w=600&h=475

 

 

And tell me how Helsinki Metro was able to build this rail line below for less than Houston was able to build a cheap a** (actually expensive) street car/light rail? Looking at the cart above Houston got robbed. Those cities have much nicer light rail lines for much cheaper.

 

1

3_arn_subway-cost-world.jpg?w=600&h=526

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In order to do any meaningful analysis of why City A cost $X, City B cost $2X, and City C cost $0.5X, we first need to make sure that each analysis includes the same line items.  I have to wonder if Houston's costs include the overruns, waste, and stuff just poured down the drain from the Wilson era - let's not forget that the only thing he managed to actually do was to become the Press's 2010 Turkey of the Year.  ("How does one become a Turkey of the Year? One way is to run a massive transit agency so badly that it becomes the subject of gubernatorial-race political ads airing in Austin, El Paso, and Lubbock.")

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  • 4 months later...

Looks like the project is a-go. Here's the irony.... by Culberson making sure there is no rail on Post Oak, it essentially let METRO avoid guaranteeing that they won't put rail on Post Oak and let the project proceed.

 

I wonder If his constituents will enjoy a bus more than rail..... Hmmmm.

 

So I think METRO has it's playbook now. Call Culberson's / Afton's bluff. Don't want rail? build a dedicated bus lane and see how much ppl like it. Expose them for what they are: classist obstructionists who just want to stop public transportation. Of course, leave the ability to upgrade to rail when he leaves office or when the Afton Oaks folks get religion.

 

 

http://www.click2houston.com/news/new-bus-lanes-to-be-created-in-galleria-area/30977864

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Bogged-down-Uptown-bus-plan-proceeding-6046845.php

 

 

After some uncertainty, fears about rail development in Uptown appear less likely to delay a planned express bus project along Post Oak.

Metropolitan Transit Authority's board meets Thursday morning, and is scheduled to discuss progress on the Uptown plan. The addition to their regularly scheduled meeting comes after a letter last week from Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley.


The letter lays out a path for officials to settle their differences and keep the $192.5 million project on track.Letter lays out path

Uptown Management District, Metro and the Texas Department of Transportation are all involved in the plan to add center lanes solely for buses to Post Oak, then use dedicated lanes along Loop 610.

The express buses would connect a future Bellaire Transit Center with the Northwest Transit Center near Interstate 10 and Loop 610, stopping at dedicated platforms along Post Oak.

"If this is successful, and I believe this will be successful, it is going to change things and things people think about transit," said Metro board chairman Gilbert Garcia.

Change also played a role in some of the squabbles. Though supportive of an express bus project, state transportation officials last year stressed they didn't want to wade into the debate regarding light rail along Post Oak. Approving $25 million for the elevated lanes along Loop 610, Moseley stressed this was a bus project.

To ensure that, state transportation officials asked Metro to verify in writing that the project was not a precursor to rail.

Metro worried that a stronger promise would put them in conflict with the voter-approved 2003 referendum, in which Metro laid out plans for light rail on Post Oak. Transit officials ultimately acquiesced to the letter, but also sought via Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan an attorney general's opinion verifying they were not violating the referendum by signing the TxDOT agreement.

Kerfuffle pointless

The pending legal opinion delayed state transportation officials making their final approval of the money. In October, Moseley indicated if the matter was settled he wanted the money moved elsewhere, before state officials agreed to give Metro until February.

In the interim, the entire kerfuffle became pointless. Last month, federal lawmakers passed the fiscal 2015 spending plan, including language inserted by Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, that forbids any federal money from going to rail projects along Post Oak north of Richmond, and Richmond west of Shepherd.

"I am keeping my word to my constituents on these two streets who overwhelmingly oppose light rail on Richmond and Post Oak," Culberson said.

The same language was in the previous federal spending bill, enacted Jan. 17, 2014.

In a Jan. 22 letter, Moseley told Garcia that the federal prohibition satisfies TxDOT's concerns.

Without the TxDOT contribution, the elevated lanes along Loop 610 are unlikely, or delayed. Regardless of that, however, Uptown is moving forward with the project, management district officials said.

On Wednesday, Houston City Council members approved the fiscal 2015 budget for Uptown's redevelopment authority. Uptown's oversight is a combination of city approvals for public works funding and projects, and its own board of directors for the management district and tax increment reinvestment zone.

"Democracy sometimes is a slower process than we would like, but we feel things are moving forward," said Uptown president John Breeding.

 

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This is so exhausting how Culberson passed a bill that forbids any federal money to go for rail on Richmond and on Post Oak. Where does he think that money goes? I know - Dallas, Austin etc. None the less, Post Oak Bus project is restarting.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Bogged-down-Uptown-bus-plan-proceeding-6046845.php?cmpid=gsa-chron-result

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We need somebody that can kick Culberson butt out of office.  I live just 4 blocks from Ted Poe's district which he is pro rail.  I think METRO needs to build light rail down Washington Ave over the Katy Freeway to connect to the Northwest Transit Center to avoid his area.  It is so hard to believe he gave Federal money to other cities.  This man will stay in office until he dies.  When the River Oaks District opens up Afton Oaks will see traffic like never before seen! 

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hmmm i think there is a solution to all these problems, and if I remember correctly it would a little something called term limits....oh wait. Someone on the Houston Mayor 2015 thread said that term limits are not needed....because you know democracy and things and because representative democracy is so flawless.

Edited by Luminare
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The problem is the elevated lanes won't have structural reinforcement for future rail.

 

Real question:

 

Are we sure? Can METRO pay the difference from a reinforced vs non reinforced design to ensure a future rail on the elevated sections? There's nothing to prevent over-engineering... is there?

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You are right because Congress cannot do there job.  They really don't care about us.  They are making so much money not including they get all their frequent flyer miles.  Being paid off by lobbyists, and with term limits that would remove the of the trash they have!  Two 4 year terms and you are out!    

 

Exactly. I've always been in favor for two 4 year terms for Congressmen and two 6 year terms for Senators and then kill the Electoral College in National elections so you eliminate the winner take all system and eliminate the winner take all system in Congressional elections as well. This means that even in Culberson's own district it would have to listen to all of his constituents instead of his base (this of course goes for everyone Rep. or Dem.)

 

That's a topic for another thread.

 

I don't really see how they could stop them from engineering the foundations for the BRT in a way from which it could be converted to rail at a later date.

Edited by Luminare
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It's a shame the politics are the way they are down here.  

 

Building this on a condition that it will never be upgraded to rail is like building a two lane highway with the condition that there will never be any more lanes added ever.  Just asinine and short-sighted.  

 

Not surprising at all though and Houston has a long history of dirty politics getting in the way of large scale public transportation projects, especially rail.  And it will continue to happen like this, Culberson will remain in office until he decides to step down, and someone will take his place with similar ideology.  

 

The only way Houston can improve it's transportation infrastructure is if METRO and the City of Houston get on the same page and we have a mayor who makes it a priority.  That is how LA did it, and it's the only way Houston will do it.  Hopefully it happens within my lifetime. 

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Just so we're clear, the thread title is no longer the case.. METRO slipped around the legislation with some clever clause(?), so it IS possible to upgrade the uptown line to LRT in the future.

Not really because Culberson put some language in a federal bill that said rail would never be built in that area. That would have to be reversed. And it's unclear that the elevated lanes will be built with LRT ready structural integrity but it seems like it won't have it.

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It's a shame the politics are the way they are down here.

Building this on a condition that it will never be upgraded to rail is like building a two lane highway with the condition that there will never be any more lanes added ever. Just asinine and short-sighted.

Not surprising at all though and Houston has a long history of dirty politics getting in the way of large scale public transportation projects, especially rail. And it will continue to happen like this, Culberson will remain in office until he decides to step down, and someone will take his place with similar ideology.

The only way Houston can improve it's transportation infrastructure is if METRO and the City of Houston get on the same page and we have a mayor who makes it a priority. That is how LA did it, and it's the only way Houston will do it. Hopefully it happens within my lifetime.

I couldn't have said it better!

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We need somebody that can kick Culberson butt out of office. I live just 4 blocks from Ted Poe's district which he is pro rail. I think METRO needs to build light rail down Washington Ave over the Katy Freeway to connect to the Northwest Transit Center to avoid his area. It is so hard to believe he gave Federal money to other cities. This man will stay in office until he dies. When the River Oaks District opens up Afton Oaks will see traffic like never before seen!

It is really frustrating. Houston continues to fall years behind its sunbelt counterparts like Atlanta, DFW, LA, Phoenix, etc., that continue to go through rail expansions. Their politicians, on both sides of the aisle, welcome rail. Meanwhile, we have an enigma here in Houston that does not mind seeing federal funds sent from his city to other cities to better progress their transit plans. Sad.

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oh. i thought this quote was saying METRO COULD upgrade in the future and used the 2003 LRT bill as an excuse. looks like some guy cleared METRO of being legally binded to the 2003 LRT bill, so METRO doesnt have to follow through with the LRT Post Oak promise.
am i getting that right?


Though supportive of an express bus project, state transportation officials last year stressed they didn't want to wade into the debate regarding light rail along Post Oak. Approving $25 million for the elevated lanes along Loop 610, Moseley stressed this was a bus project.

To ensure that, state transportation officials asked Metro to verify in writing that the project was not a precursor to rail.

Metro worried that a stronger promise would put them in conflict with the voter-approved 2003 referendum, in which Metro laid out plans for light rail on Post Oak. Transit officials ultimately acquiesced to the letter, but also sought via Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan an attorney general's opinion verifying they were not violating the referendum by signing the TxDOT agreement.

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Not really because Culberson put some language in a federal bill that said rail would never be built in that area. That would have to be reversed. And it's unclear that the elevated lanes will be built with LRT ready structural integrity but it seems like it won't have it.

 

It was the annual appropriation bill.  Which gets redone every year.  It's not some sort of double secret super permanent thing.  

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Term limits aren't the answer. They do nothing to clean up our Democracy.

 

What really needs to happen is for people to actually, you know, vote. We cannot complain when we do not vote. This past election cycle saw horrendous turnout. 

 

The one thing I would change is gerrymandering. Culbertson's District is insane. It was created for one reason; to keep Republicans in power by splitting likely Democratic voters. 

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Term limits aren't the answer. They do nothing to clean up our Democracy.

 

What really needs to happen is for people to actually, you know, vote. We cannot complain when we do not vote. This past election cycle saw horrendous turnout. 

 

The one thing I would change is gerrymandering. Culbertson's District is insane. It was created for one reason; to keep Republicans in power by splitting likely Democratic voters. 

 

You are right, term limits wouldn't work in a Democracy, but if I remember correctly we aren't a pure democracy, nor should we be. We are a Federal Constitutional Republic in which the foundation is the proper representation by those we elect to represent everyone that they serve.

 

I'm sorry, but this is probably the most naive look at how to fix a very prevalent problem. You don't even offer any real solutions to the problem other than, this sucks and that sucks and that all you got to do is go out and vote......That's like yelling at someone who is fat to eat better by simply eating better food, but not putting in the proper infrastructure in place to insure that its consistent instead of a one time fix which is what you are championing.

 

It avoids the real work that is needed to retool the government in order for long lasting change. I remember sentiments, such as what you are generating, during the 2008 election which the whole push for change was to simply get out and vote and everything will be better. It over relied on the possible impact of one single person to solve everyones problems instead of proposing an infrastructure to create real change while also future proofing the fallibility of human governance which is the lust for power and the fact that power corrupts absolutely even for those who we think are "pure". What was the outcome of the election? Whether you think the President has done good work or not the simple fact of the matter is that Obama's presidency has been very underwhelming and is a textbook example of how the system can take you right in and spit you right out without having a proper plan in place to further change government and how voting isn't always the answer. Hell the answer isn't the perfect candidate either!

 

Now lets look at gerrymandering. How the hell do you think gerrymandering actually works! It's from people who have been in their way to long who have been able to carve up districts in order to.....you guessed it keep them in power! You are literally defeating your own logic. Oh the power to fix this problem is by voting, but if the district has been set up in such a way that the overwhelming majority is going to vote for the same person because of the district that has been drawn then you will see voter apathy because they know that voting is no longer the way to actively change the institution.

 

Unless you have a legitimate argument in against term limits then it stands that term limits are the best option in reining in politicians and their fundamental tendency to entrench and manipulate the process in order to stay in power which makes voting completely futile. Term limits is the most reasonable check on politicians who instead of going into Washington in order to get the job done and get the hell out or more inclined to make it a career.

 

This is already getting this thread way off topic, but I simply can't let this stand. I won't let such naivety jump in front of what real solutions can be made to fix the problem. There is no one fix all to this problem for sure. The Disney/Sunday school answer is to "fix voting" or "get more people out to vote". That's a surface evaluation of the problem and you know it. Term Limits is of course only a start and possible solution to the problem with many more solutions needed to back it up but its at least a real solution.

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Open or No Primaries

 

Independently drawn districts

 

American democracy, why I am a Monarchist....

You are right, term limits wouldn't work in a Democracy, but if I remember correctly we aren't a pure democracy, nor should we be. We are a Federal Constitutional Republic in which the foundation is the proper representation by those we elect to represent everyone that they serve.

 

I'm sorry, but this is probably the most naive look at how to fix a very prevalent problem. You don't even offer any real solutions to the problem other than, this sucks and that sucks and that all you got to do is go out and vote......That's like yelling at someone who is fat to eat better by simply eating better food, but not putting in the proper infrastructure in place to insure that its consistent instead of a one time fix which is what you are championing.

 

It avoids the real work that is needed to retool the government in order for long lasting change. I remember sentiments, such as what you are generating, during the 2008 election which the whole push for change was to simply get out and vote and everything will be better. It over relied on the possible impact of one single person to solve everyones problems instead of proposing an infrastructure to create real change while also future proofing the fallibility of human governance which is the lust for power and the fact that power corrupts absolutely even for those who we think are "pure". What was the outcome of the election? Whether you think the President has done good work or not the simple fact of the matter is that Obama's presidency has been very underwhelming and is a textbook example of how the system can take you right in and spit you right out without having a proper plan in place to further change government and how voting isn't always the answer. Hell the answer isn't the perfect candidate either!

 

Now lets look at gerrymandering. How the hell do you think gerrymandering actually works! It's from people who have been in their way to long who have been able to carve up districts in order to.....you guessed it keep them in power! You are literally defeating your own logic. Oh the power to fix this problem is by voting, but if the district has been set up in such a way that the overwhelming majority is going to vote for the same person because of the district that has been drawn then you will see voter apathy because they know that voting is no longer the way to actively change the institution.

 

Unless you have a legitimate argument in against term limits then it stands that term limits are the best option in reining in politicians and their fundamental tendency to entrench and manipulate the process in order to stay in power which makes voting completely futile. Term limits is the most reasonable check on politicians who instead of going into Washington in order to get the job done and get the hell out or more inclined to make it a career.

 

This is already getting this thread way off topic, but I simply can't let this stand. I won't let such naivety jump in front of what real solutions can be made to fix the problem. There is no one fix all to this problem for sure. The Disney/Sunday school answer is to "fix voting" or "get more people out to vote". That's a surface evaluation of the problem and you know it. Term Limits is of course only a start and possible solution to the problem with many more solutions needed to back it up but its at least a real solution.

 

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