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Few get to airport by bus, train

By Thomas Frank, USA TODAY

 

WASHINGTON — The USA may have the world's largest airport network, but it lags far behind Europe and Asia in getting passengers to and from airports on public transit, a new report shows.

 

.......

 

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2008-08-03-airport-transit_N.htm?imw=Y

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WTF. I got from my apartment to sitting my butt at my gate with an Egg McMuffin in 30 minutes last year. I timed it.

 

I vote for a PR onslaught.

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Guess we'll have to read the actual report to determine how they came to the "air travelers think it's slow and costly" conclusion. Maybe they read it in the PD.

 

The costly part makes no sense vs. taxi or rental car (for those with business in the CBD/UC) and the slow, well maybe slow compared to having someone waiting for you at arrivals with their car idling but its comparable to any other option if heading downtown or points beyond.

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Cleveland Hopkins International Airport also has trains that stop at the terminal. But use has fallen to 2% because air travelers think it's slow and costly, the report says.

 

I'd like to see the actual statements in this 'report' and how they were procured.  Groups that have a right-wing agenda can find people to parrot their own beliefs... then,  peddle these statements as universal truths in ways to influence others.

 

In the USA, "most people think of a bus as a dirty, smelly thing for poor people to get around the inner city," Marchi said.

 

... yeah, (yawn) this is the bigoted, right-wing talk point... I heard Rush (AKA the Big Fat Idiot) Limbaugh spouting the other day that mass transit was socialistic tool of liberals to "... take our freedom away."  Still another radio right-winger was ranting that Americans have "a right" to drive their SUV's and burn as much gasoline as they want, and to hell with what the rest of the world thinks...

 

... and you wonder why Euros look at us as a bunch of self-centered, philistine-cowboys.

 

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Update on first public hearing tonight in Rocky River...

 

An estimated 350 attended, SRO, including one Congressman, several state legislators, and all area mayors.

 

RTA opened with 45 minutes of presentations, followed by 45 minutes of elected officials. Riders spoke at a mic for two hours. Letters and addresses to state legislators were passed out.

 

Congressman Kucinich was there. He said he believes RTA should not go forward with any cuts or fare increases until it considers...

-- more service

-- lower fares

-- better marketing

..a combination he said will increase ridership to the point that the budget will be balanced.

 

He also criticized the Euclid Corridor Project.

 

His comments speak for themselves.

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Update on first public hearing tonight in Rocky River...

 

An estimated 350 attended, SRO, including one Congressman, several state legislators, and all area mayors.

 

RTA opened with 45 minutes of presentations, followed by 45 minutes of elected officials. Riders spoke at a mic for two hours. Letters and addresses to state legislators were passed out.

 

Congressman Kucinich was there. He said he believes RTA should not go forward with any cuts or fare increases until it considers...

-- more service

-- lower fares

-- better marketing

..a combination he said will increase ridership to the point that the budget will be balanced.

 

He also criticized the Euclid Corridor Project.

 

His comments speak for themselves.

 

That midget!  Playing to the court of his constituents.  The short and blind leading the blind!

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^Now, now, MTS, you're talking about... perhaps the future President of these United States.

 

... I'll be interested to know how exactly he plans to pull this off...

 

          ... and his exact criticism of ECP.

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^Now, now, MTS, you're talking about... perhaps the future President of these United States.

 

... I'll be interested to know how exactly he plans to pull this off...

 

          ... and his exact criticism of ECP.

 

President of the Short People of the United States!  He's an ill advised assbackwards cluster fucked moron!!

 

Questions for the leader of the lollipop Gang

Q:  Where the fuck do you get the money to run more service?

A:  Dumbass Dennis provide more federal funding

 

Q:  What is your proposal for lowering fares

A:  Dumbass Dennis work with state elected officials to provide more funding

 

Q:  What is your proposal for better marketing

A:  Dumbass Dennis provide more money so RTA can hire five additional "Jerry's"! 

 

I just want to step on him.  I truly wonder what people thought after listening to him?

 

well at least he criticized the ECP

 

his criticism was probably that its a glorified busway

 

More non-sense, since the HealthLine most likely will not be used by the folks who vote for him.  They already have a slanted perception of the project.  I bet he hasn't even been to the website. 

 

UGH!  :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

 

 

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his criticism was probably that its a glorified busway

 

So what if it is a glorified busway!  Ugh!  Look at the development a "lousy, glorified busway" has spurred and will provoke!  Bashing the Healthline/ECP while ignoring EXISTING rail opportunities at the same time really p*sses me off! 

 

As long as we keep voting for him, nothing will change! 

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"Cleveland Hopkins International Airport also has trains that stop at the terminal. But use has fallen to 2% because air travelers think it's slow and costly, the report says."

 

Really?? Slow AND costly?? Where the f*ck do they come up with this crap. I took the rapid to the airport in november when I went to san francisco. I left class from CSU, walked to the Fifth Third Building to pick up my luggage, stopped at jimmy johns on the walk over to tower city, boarded the train and checked my luggage at the airport all in about 45 - 50 minutes for the low cost of free ninety nine (CSU U-pass). I would love to hear from whatever C U Next Tuesday wrote this article and they interviewed how the rapid is slow AND costly? Id say $1.75 is a h#ll of a lot less than what people would pay for a taxi, private car, gas, parking, etc to get to the airport.

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How about Dennis and Shirley give RTA the money it needs.  I mean, it's not like this bozo has helped out Ohio in anyway the last 30 years (though I don't blame him for the city's bankruptcy).  He might as well start now.

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Are any UO folks besides me going to the meeting today at noon at the downtown library?

 

I will be there, dark suit, glasses, digital camera. Please say hello

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Are any UO folks besides me going to the meeting today at noon at the downtown library?

 

I will be there, dark suit, glasses, digital camera. Please say hello

 

No protective helmet? :)  If you see me and I don't see you, please say hi.  I have shoulder-length brown hair and am wearing black pants and a purple, lavender and black top.

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That was the ugliest meeting I have ever been to.  When it became clear I would not get the opportunity to speak, I sneaked out a few minutes ago because it really started to feel like everyone was going to riot.  People were chanting "boycott! boycott!" and I started to get that bad feeling like when the air turns funny and it's time to go.

 

This meeting was poorly organized.  The location was not sufficient to hold all the attendees.  Expecting people to fill out a long and detailed form when there are 300 people in line in order to get in the door of the auditorium was a big, big mistake.  You cannot "organize" that many people in such a short amount of time, and comments should have been taken at the mike in a first come, first served type of manner as they are in other open house type meetings.  What resulted was a huge backlog of angry people waiting in line and hundreds that were never able to get into the auditorium.  It also resulted in my not being able to read my prepared letter of support, which would have been probably the ONLY voice of support in the whole auditorium.  Though I was first in line at the mike, it became clear after a few speakers that I would not get my turn so I left.  And no, I didn't fill out a form.  From the back of the line, it became clear to me about 5 minutes to 12 that if I took the time to wait in line and fill out the form, I would not get into the auditorium, so I just pushed my way in with the others who also didn't want to fill it out.

 

mr. calabrese needs an editor for his presentation; waaay too many slides.  He also needs a speaking coach.  Neither of the other two people should have presented at all.  It took 35 minutes for the boring PPT slides to be over and by then people were like a cork ready to pop with anger.

 

About half the people there just ignored the information that was being presented, the other half out and out do not believe it.  This is a huge, huge PR nightmare for RTA and I as a citizen and a rider do not know what can be done to turn the tide and make people understand.  However, I have a few suggestions.

 

If this particular type of forum "requires by law" that all these presentations be given before people can get up to speak, then have another type of meeting that does not have a court reporter and such regulations.  Or just pass the slides out and make it available to people on paper.  Honestly, if you can't do that, webcast the slides and just have an open forum.  Nobody wanted to see all that junk and the last guy with all the details of every single cut or reduction in service, it was like everyone was getting slapped in the face each route he described.  It went ON and ON and ON, route after route, to loud shoats or groans or boos from the audience.

 

People came to this meeting wanting to be heard, and rightly so.  This being a lunchtime meeting, taking 35 minutes to present budgetary figures and excel charts is NOT a productive use of time or a way to win over the crowd.  A less factual, conversational speech should have been prepared for mr. calabrese to describe the budgetary problems RTA is facing and WHY, and what people can do to help.  No one should have talked after Calabrese.  Presenting MORE facts and MORE data to an already angry crowd only serves to make them angrier, and to ask for more facts.  They definitely need more transparency in their organization in terms of budget and salary, whether it's painful or not. 

 

Some points heard within the crowd and culled from my conversations with people around me:

- how much are the salaries of the people speaking? (this was demanded repeatedly; if there's nothing to be ashamed of and the salaries are truly in line with others in similar orgs, provide that data, along with the salaries from other cities' public transit companies)

 

- HOW will the EC project actually be cheaper to run than the current 6?  One woman told me she was tired of hearing about how multi-million dollar buses and big, expensive concrete structures in the road with a bunch of landscaping is going to be cheaper, HOW will it be cheaper?  Can you explain that to me, she said?  And I could not.

 

- HOW will the EC project actually translate into more money for the city, and show us the justifications RTA had for their investment into this project. While they did say that 83% of that project is federal funding, what about the other 17%?  Could that 17% have been enough to prevent these cuts and fare increases that are proposed? If so, the RTA ridership would overwhelmingly have preferred the money go to keeping existing services instead of investing in EC project; there needs to be more transparency as to how and why this is a 'money making' project and good investment for everyone.

 

RTA needs an impassioned and concise speaker who can match the passion of the damaging, angering comments of a guy like Mike Polensick, who was the first one allowed to speak (a big mistake if you ask me).  Harping on RTA as the bad guys and blaming them for "putting this on the backs of the poor, on hardworking families" does nothing but incite even more anger and equally does NOTHING to effect change.  It does nothing to make people write their representatives and congresspeople. 

 

The data was sitting up there staring people in the face but RTA did not have a compelling enough speaker to be able to translate it to real people.  Someone to point at the red line of budget being reduced in OH vs. other states and say "I AM OUTRAGED TOO!  PLEASE WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE AND SENATORS AND GET US SOME MORE MONEY!" 

 

RTA also DESPERATELY needs to put forth their black and/or women executives, and if they don't have any, GET SOME.  It looked like the old white guy's show up there and the vast, vast majority of the crowd was female, African-American or both.

 

I did see JMasek and introduced myself.  I felt bad for him, he looked like a drowning man.  I'm sorry I couldn't present my thoughts of support and suggestions to people on what to do to get more funding.  For what it's worth, had I been given the mike, this was the letter I intended to read:

 

"I believe there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding between RTA and its riders.  As a citizen, I gather as much information as I can about an issue before making a decision.  I would like to ask my fellow riders to reconsider their venomous attitudes and to get some more information before they attack RTA.

Nobody told anyone to move to the suburbs.  Nobody demanded that you to buy a house in Medina County or in Lorain.  People left the city and moved to the suburbs.  Now we are all paying a price for that lifestyle.  For years, our citizens have made it clear to our local, state and federal government representatives that they wanted funding for our roads and bridges, so we could drive everywhere - the ever-present orange barrel is a problem of our own making.  Now that using a car has become prohibitively expensive, people are turning to public transportation.  Or there are people who have chosen public transportation as an option for years and are now finding it may no longer be available to serve them where they chose to live.  Again, where they CHOSE to live.

I live in the suburbs.  I choose to live there for a variety of reasons, but nobody put a gun to my head and made me move there, and certainly nobody from RTA told me to.  Taking public transportation to and from work every day is important to me.  If RTA had to cut service to my surburb, I WOULD MOVE.  You say you can't move because the economy is so bad you can't sell your house?  That is not RTA's fault!  RTA didn't tell you to move, didn't tell you to buy a house, didn't promise to be available to everyone forever and ever, amen.

Things change.  Not that long ago in our country's history, people used to be able to take trains everywhere, all across the country.  Train travel faded out as cars became the preferred method of transportation, and now it too is a skeleton of what it once was.  Economies change.

Increased fuel costs are affecting all modes of transportation in all states.  Just yesterday I read that JetBlue airlines is going to start charging a $7 fee for a pillow and blanket.  Northwest is going to start charging an $80 "fuel surcharge" on top of already increased ticket prices.  Across the country, public transportation companies are dealing with dramatically increased fuel costs and they have to make adjustments to continue to operate.  What makes Ohio different is that unlike many other states, state funding for public transportation here is pathetic compared to what other states receive. I think before speaking out against RTA, all riders should look at the leaflet they have prepared called "RTA Budget Crisis 2008."  For example, the brochure points out that in addition to the rise in fuel costs from $5M a year in 2002 to a projected $25M in 2009, state funding has dramatically declined.  Typical state contributions for public transportation in the last 10 years in other states have gone up approximately 130%.  Our state's contributions have DECLINED by 40%!    In Ohio we allocate $16M a year to public transportation.  Our neighboring states are in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS.  Why does no one realize this?   

RTA is not made up of a bunch of mean, greedy bastards who think it's funny to screw the public by cutting services and increasing fares just when the public really starts depending on them in droves. Use your heads, people. They are a BUSINESS, and like any other, need to propose changes that can help make up for their huge budget deficit while continuing to operate. 

 

The solution is just not a simple one, contrary to what Mr. Kucinich suggests.  In fact, it's Mr. Kucinich and our other elected officials who are the ones who can make the difference here, but the public has to urge them to action.

I suggest if you are upset about the proposed cuts and increases, you go to your federal, state and local representatives' websites and contact them by phone or email, and urge them to increase funding for public transportation in Ohio.  If you don't know who to contact, go to congress.org, where you can put in your zip code and get lists of ALL your senators and congressional representatives, with links to their websites and methods to contact them.  It is up to YOU to make the difference in how Ohio's public transportation funding is structured.  Instead of sitting around in your big house in the suburbs complaining that RTA is mean or stupid, DO something to fix the problem!" 

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rockandroller,

 

Thank you for writing that.  That was your best post ever!  Very passionate.

 

I'm interested to hear what others thought/experienced.

 

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rockandroller,

 

Thank you for writing that. That was your best post ever! Very passionate.

 

I'm interested to hear what others thought/experienced.

 

 

I would have probably modified my letter given that the crowd didn't appear to be all "bridge and tunnel" people with big houses in the burbs.  I also planned to start by trying to win them over saying how glad I was to see such passion in my fellow Clevelanders.  Then to go on to say that I hoped every single passionate person here had done their part to express their desires about funding for public transportation to those who hold the purse strings in the government, and to urge people to go to congress.org.  Then I would have jumped around for the rest of the paragraphs. I had it all mapped out.

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Seriously, thank you R&R for such a great report on the public meeting and for your critique.  It really sounds like they have their hands full but aren't doing themselves any favors.  The ppt presentations must have been painful to sit through with that kind of sentiment bubbling in the room.

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were there reporters from the news channels and the PD their.

 

RTA really needs to join forces (can the PD and local media unite for once?  :roll: )and present a clear message.

 

A lot of things we know here should be in bullet points and there should be a reason why and a solution.  period. 

 

This is a time when the "KISS" method is best used.

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were there reporters from the news channels and the PD their.

 

RTA really needs to join forces (can the PD and local media unite for once? :roll: )and present a clear message.

 

A lot of things we know here should be in bullet points and there should be a reason why and a solution. period.

 

This is a time when the "KISS" method is best used.

 

Channel 5 was there (just cameraman) and another station whose logo I could not see, but similar, expensive camera so probably WKYC.  There may or may not have been reporters; I didn't see anyone obvious with pad and paper or portable tape recorder and I know the business beat writer for the PD and she sure wasn't there.

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And I can tell you, all Channel 5 is going to broadcast is all the people shouting stuff out, Mike Polensik's heated comments and the clapping and cheering reaction to his hyperbole.

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Very interesting stuff, rockandroller.  Unfortunately it does sound like the meeting was a waste of time and coordinated badly, not to mention people acting somewhat unruly(?) didn't help matters.

 

 

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When true leadership is needed, such as is called for with this RTA budget crisis, out come the likes Kucinich and Polensek to thoroughly disappoint as usual...

 

They make me physically ill.

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Update from the noon public hearing, which is still going on as I write this:

 

More than 600 people attended. The CPL Auditorium was full, and so was the lobby outside.

 

There was a lot of emotion, a lot of yelling.

 

Another public hearing has been added at noon Wednesday to collect testimony, same site.

 

Thanks to rock and roller for introducing herself.

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I wish you could have seen Polensek (well, you can on channel 5 tonight, I'm sure they'll run a clip during every news program), banging his fist into his other palm and waving a book around.  He looked like someone on a soap opera right around evaluation time for the Daytime Emmys.

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I didn't go b/c I'm too young to have a brain anurism-looks like I would have had one too...

 

This is absolutely disgusting! This is enough to make someone leave Cleveland-someone who has an appreciation and interest for our built environment and history.  It makes you wonder how dense (as in narrow minded) and how isolated we really are (as a city and region) to see such ignorance on display-being fueled by our leaders and even those on the defensive.

 

This is scary. 

 

 

 

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I agree cle2032, it's rather disgusting and disheartening... failure at the leadership level is the common underlying theme on many of the northeast Ohio threads here -- RTA crisis, Convention Center/Med Mart, etc. etc.

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And I'm sure RTA's execs who were in attendance felt really put between a rock and a hard place.  Attacking Polensek when the crowd was clearly behind him would have just drawn more ire.  There was nothing they could do but let people rant.

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Very discouraging.

 

We saw here today, and have seen here in the past, the main issue with Cleveland - it's leaders are horrible, fueling the uninformed opinions of the general public. 

 

And what is worse, many suburbanites are going to see this and think "those people of Cleveland can't manage anything right...I'll stick to my suburb and my car."

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Very discouraging.

 

We saw here today, and have seen here in the past, the main issue with Cleveland - it's leaders are horrible, fueling the uninformed opinions of the general public.  

 

And what is worse, many suburbanites are going to see this and think "those people of Cleveland can't manage anything right...I'll stick to my suburb and my car."

 

HUH?  RTA is a county agency and blame, even from suburbanites, can't be placed on the city or city leaders.

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The public needs to be shouting at are our legislators in Columbus, George W. Bush, and Congress.  Why isn't this point being made more clearly to people? 

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I've made my opinion known to Dennis K. on transportation funding and a number of other issues -- he doesn't seem to listen to me though.

 

We shouldn't all have to be full time crusaders to get our elected reps to do the right (and often obvious) thing -- I'll say it again, leadership failure at all levels (including local) is hurting us big time in NEO...

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Blaming the Euclid Corridor and the Blue line extension, and this guy is a council member! My mom has always said Cleveland will not change until the old guard dies off. Hopefully, things will change as a new wave of young leaders emerge. Maybe I should run for a seat if this is my competition.

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The public needs to be shouting at are our legislators in Columbus, George W. Bush, and Congress.  Why isn't this point being made more clearly to people? 

 

I think it's because it's easier for some people to blame the more visible local government and agencies than it is to blame the bigger picture.  There are people I've gotten into passioned arguements about RTA, how I remind them that transit agencies all over the country are facing the exact same trouble that RTA is and having to go through similar service cuts and rising fares, but it just keeps coming back to RTA and our local government being inept and irresponsible.

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Went to tonight's meeting - met JMasek (thanks again for all the work), and stayed for about 2.5 hours.  My thoughts....

 

According to the reports of the other sessions, tonight appeared better.  Joe Calabrese drastically cut back on his slide, and most of the time was opened up for comment.  The elected officials (5 councilmembers, one state rep, one state senator) weren't grandstanding like Dennis & Polensek did, but rather stood up and said that it's not RTA's fault, but rather the state, and that's where the fight needs to be. 

 

Still, they decried the cuts, as did the residents there.  Most of the residents there just begged for no route cuts, especially the community circulators.  A little bit of off-mark comments and complaints, but mostly it was just sad stories about how our community would be hurt.

 

*My very short & annotated recap*

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Another update:

 

350+60+450 = an awful lot of people who care about transit.

 

450 people came to meeting at City Hall tonight. No surprises, not many solutions either. The PD is writing a story about the heavy turnouts.

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rock and roller

 

I will make sure your letter is added to the official record. I think you for coming and introducing yourself and supporting RTA.

 

I agree that our presentations can be shortened. As to the format, RTA has used it for years, because it helps us keep track of things for the official record. The numbers have NEVER been like this, so we are facing problems we never experienced before.

 

I am sorry if it looked like I was drowning. Actually, I have no stress. I was discouraged that adults act like children and shout people down and interrupt those who are speaking. That is not how I was raised.

 

It was a pleasure meeting you.

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Went to tonight's meeting - met JMasek (thanks again for all the work), and stayed for about 2.5 hours.  My thoughts....

 

According to the reports of the other sessions, tonight appeared better.  Joe Calabrese drastically cut back on his slide, and most of the time was opened up for comment.  The elected officials (5 councilmembers, one state rep, one state senator) weren't grandstanding like Dennis & Polensek did, but rather stood up and said that it's not RTA's fault, but rather the state, and that's where the fight needs to be. 

 

Still, they decried the cuts, as did the residents there.  Most of the residents there just begged for no route cuts, especially the community circulators.  A little bit of off-mark comments and complaints, but mostly it was just sad stories about how our community would be hurt.

 

*My very short & annotated recap*

 

Can you remember the names of the Gumment Officials that "get" the whole funding issue? I already sent a nasty letter to Polesnk, I'd like to send "yay" ones to the happy people.

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