Last Thursday’s Streetcar Debate

frank-mcgohan-conductor-cable-street-car-cincinnati-ohio_small

One of the first major streetcar debates was held last Thursday on UC’s campus. I, unfortunately, was not able to attend due to the fact that Thursdays are one of my only days off to get errands taken care of. Thankfully a UC based radio show recorded the whole thing and put it up online for you to listen to in the comfort of your own home. It can be found here or on iTunes by searching for “Explore Cincinnati.” I’m not going to put too much of my own spin on this because it is very clear that the Jason Haap and his rag, The Cincinnati Beacon, are very sensitive to “bias,” also known in this case as “another opinion.” There is one point I would like concerning this debate, though. If Jason would like to continue to participate in debates like this and be taken seriously, he needs to work on his rhetoric. While I support the streetcar wholeheartedly, Haap does make a few decent points but they were lost in the muddle of his manically indignant delivery. The setting up and knocking down of arguments by sarcastically exclaiming things along the lines of “Wooow!” or “I don’t know what you guys think, but…” really harm a speakers point. 

Also, when your opponents picture looks like this:

john-schneider

You should probably make sure you have a better picture in the debate announcements than this:

jason-haapBased on pictures alone, it looks like “the professor” versus “some guy overheard by the debate moderators on Fountain Square arguing with his friends about the Streetcar.” Now maybe someone else picked that picture, but you could have sent in a more professional looking one.

Also, the little hissy fit you threw around the 1 hour 16 minute mark was incredibly unnecessary. Sarcastic apologizing is awful and awkward to listen to. At the next debate just keep your cool, man. Do NOT sound like you are constantly being attacked because it makes you sound like you are losing. Stop being a brat.

Other than his poor rhetorical style, I thought things went pretty well. Debate over matters as big as this are essential. In my time here, I’ve noticed that many Cincinnatians don’t get too involved in their local politics, so its nice to finally see something that is sparking involvement and discussion. 

I’ll be writing a longer Streetcar piece sometime in the future…. seriously, one of these days. What I can say is this, I’ve never seen a successful unfixed trolley line. They always look kitschy and attract the same ridership that you see on The Ducks. Enjoy the debate!

Explore Cincinnati : The Streetcar Debate

Love,

John

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3 responses to “Last Thursday’s Streetcar Debate

  1. If any is interested in watching the video version of the debate (without our added “spin!”), I just posted it online this morning:

    http://explorecincinnati.com/2009/02/19/streetcar-debate-video/

    Thanks for the mention!

  2. Wow… You streetcar advocates really like to fixate on pictures…

    Just because your boy lost the debate doesn’t mean you need to pretend I did things that I didn’t actually do.

    Really, this just makes you look childish.

  3. well, I watched the debate at UC and then saw it again, thanks to Travis for posting the video.
    Jason Haap seemed to be, admittedly so, an idiot. A mere decade ago, he was able to buy a house, but not find a fuse box. Jason also mentions that we get more energy from coal versus some other fuels, but the carbon footprint is much larger. This is true, based on the time frame the carbon was “fixed”. Some millions of years ago (coal) versus a few years (soybean, corn or other oil from a crop) ago. Jason also fails to mention that SORTA has been using soy fuel for years. Yes, the streetcar will be on a grid (along with all of Cincinnati) using electrisity from mostly coal, some hydro power (talk about expensive investments… check http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2008/09/22/story3.html).
    Oh, and he mentions the upkeep costs of running a streetcar and interperts it as needing to replace the whole shebang every so many years… but does not talk about fleet reapirs and replacements for the busses.
    These incomplete items go on and on..
    John Schneider also has a lot of faults on his presentation… mostly in assuming the audience is a friendly one and does not offer any counters to the efficiency, “greenness” of mass transit, or a detail to the total costs involved or why this link is good for all of Greater Cincinnati.

    I’ve followed this movememt for development of a streetcar for quite some time and was shocked to find out our city will actually move forward on something we can use to make our city better, only to be faced with the reality that the small group of opponents will most likely put a ballot initiative together and hamstring the progress already in motion for the city center.

    Jason Haap, the unqualified “Dean” of Cincinnati (no Ph.D) has over the years done some good things, but true to form for most of the mindset in Cincinnati, is a naysayer and is a new face to the tired old guard which has kept Cincinnati on the “20 years later” track that Mark Twain wrote about. Jason possibly would have been one to oppose our rail tracks to go east and west and push to focus more development on the north-south lines. When Cincinnati did just that and Chicago went east and west, Chicago was a town of about 40 people.

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