This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in
graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large
the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic
problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch
CLEVELAND -- The Waterfront
Line of Cleveland's light rail system plays
The route begins in the heart
of downtown and winds its way 2.2 miles west by the Cuyahoga River
and north along the Lake Erie shore.
Passengers hop on and off,
visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science
Center, Gund Arena, the Flats restaurant row, the renovated
Warehouse District, the new football stadium and the world's
biggest rib cook-off.
Three hundred thousand people
attended the rib feast last week. When the smoke cleared, former
Beatle Ringo Starr performed in concert at the pigout.
The Waterfront Line was built
in 1996 to celebrate the city's bicentennial. Cleveland officials
didn't even ask for federal money. The Waterfront Line is
relatively short and inexpensive, and they wanted it completed
before Cleveland's tricentennial.
Sometimes the wheels turn
slowly in Washington. Cleveland is seeking federal money for
future projects, however. It's easier to sell rail to local
taxpayers when Washington kicks in.
The Waterfront Line is one of
four light rail paths in Cleveland. Other routes include the
ironically less colorful Blue, Green and Red lines, which
primarily get commuters to their jobs on time.
The Waterfront Line already has
done a lot to ease car and bus traffic in Cleveland's main tourist
area. The city is gung-ho on cleaning up its environment. And
electric-powered trains send a clear message to
Thirty years ago, Cleveland
became a national laughingstock when the Cuyahoga River caught
fire, and fish in Lake Erie were giving each other the Heimlich
Now the Cuyahoga is clean and
Lake Erie is swimmable. No more "Mistake by the Lake."
My first stop on the Waterfront
Line was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, or as they
call it around here, the Rock Hall. Admission is $15, but you get
$3 off with a Waterfront Line ticket. That's another way Cleveland
encourages people to ride rail. Discounts are all over the place
in restaurants and museums. Everybody's on the same
The Rock Hall has incredible
artifacts. They have John Lennon's grade school report card. In
another case, preserved under glass, is Bruce Springsteen's
notification from his draft board in 1969 that he was 4-F. I'm
sure this greatly disappointed the Boss.
He's probably still doing
Nearly every stop on the
Waterfront Line drops tourists in front of another attraction,
theater or restaurant complex. The areas between stops are
considered "opportunity zones."
If that's the case, Houston's
proposed train route down Main Street between the Medical Center
and downtown, is the Land of Opportunity.
That's the way it happens.
Light rail reacts to growth and stimulates more
Tickets are $1.50 for a ride on
the Waterfront Line. The cars are so clean you could eat off the
floor, except nobody dares drop any crumbs down there. Transit
cops regularly patrol the trains, and they're serious about
enforcing ordinances against eating, drinking and littering. If
you're caught, it's a fourth-degree misdemeanor and a sure $100
It's been years since there's
been any physical crime against a passenger.
The transit police chief told
me they enforce the little stuff so they won't have to enforce the
I left the Rock Hall and walked
down Ninth Avenue to Jacobs Field, which opened in 1995. It's a
beautiful downtown ballpark like our Enron Field. There are a
couple of differences between the teams, however.
The Indians stunk up the
American League for decades before moving into their new park. Now
they've won five division titles in a row. Every game ever played
in Jacobs Field has been a sellout. The game I attended was packed
house No. 396.
The Astros, on the other hand,
won three straight titles before moving into Enron and now, well
... we're in last place and there are empty seats.
Sometimes we do things
Sometimes, like when Washington
won't send us money to build light rail, we have help doing things
I've tried without success to get local groups to add their events to this calendar (Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program, Bike Austin, etc.)
If you'd like to help edit the calendar, or at least add your group's events to it, then please let me know!