Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ed Rendell Screws the Pooch

I worked to get Ed Rendell elected Governor of Pennslyvania in 2oo2. I lived in Philly for a few years while he was mayor and I was quick to volunteer for his Gubernatorial campaign. Three years into his tenure as Governor, Rendell has been underwhelming. Instead of the progressive idealist he campaigned to be, he has proved himself an unreliable, not-very-hardworking disappiontent. Good thing i now live in South Jersey where Rendell's nincompoopery is someone else's problem. Well, that is until today.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has just reported that Gov. Rendell is threatening to close the high-speed transit rail system (the PATCO "Speedline") if New Jersey politicans don't go along with his plan to dredge an extra 45 feet along 120 miles of the Deleware River to accommodate extra shipping traffic. Rendell contends that such a move would allow for more shipping traffic capacity and would make the region more competitive with ports like New York and Newark. New Jersey officials counter that dredging the river could cause extensive environmental damage and that the price tag for the project (Rendell's office claims it'll run ~$3oo,ooo,ooo) is too modest and more likely will be twice that much. This is Philly after all where such estimates tend to be wildly off the mark. I might add it's bitterly ironic that this is the same Ed Rendell who skewered Septa transit workers whose recent strike shut down Philly's subway system for a week. Surely he remembers the argument that he made at the time against shutting down mass transit. Now he wants to shut down mass transit? Hypocrit?

So far, NJ Governor-elect Jon Corzine (another progressive I helped to put into the Governor's mansion) is conspicuously mum on the subject. His office has refused to comment on whether he was involved in any negotiations. Corzine's office did say that his transition team is studying the proposed project. Whatever that means. I'd be nice if Corzine would clarify his stance, but this isn't about Corzine. This is about Ed Rendell making mean-spirited threats to his neigbors, and the ill-will that kind of behavior breeds.

Now I really don't believe Ed Rendell would do something so stupid as to close the commuter link between Philly and South Jersey. Surely he must know that such a move would be a logistical and public relations fiasco for the city of Philadelphia. After all, every day the Speedline ferries some 3o,ooo folks from South Jersey who use the train to get to Philly to work or to shop. This includes my partner Greg who uses the Speedline everyday to go downtown to his job at Urban Outfitters corporate headquarters. In fact, a lot of Greg's colleagues at Urban take Speedline downtown to work, as well. Now if Rendell follows through with his ridiculous threat, then who's gonna design all the cool hip stuff that Urban Outfitters' customers have come to demand?? On top of all his other missteps, can Rendell really afford to piss off the 18-25 cool and disaffected constituency? (wink)

But seriously folks, we all can agree that no one likes to be threated and that's what Pennsylvania's governor is doing. So maybe Gov. Rendell has got me feeling a little defensive. But for him to shut down the Speedline commuter rail because he doesn't get his way is just another political temper tantrum that would have serious consequences for the rest of us.
It's not my intention to debate the merits for or against this dredging scheme. It very well may be a sound idea. If this is how Governor Rendell chooses to play political hardball by threatening his neighbors, then he should be ready to take the p.r. hit.
But you can learn a lot about a man by how he treats his neighbors.

Draw your own conclusions.


Anonymous said...

re: Now if Rendell follows through with his ridiculous threat, then who's gonna design all the cool hip stuff that Urban Outfitters' customers have come to demand??
well we have more than enought fags to to the work we dont need outsiders from fag jersey to do it

jay lassiter said...

spoken like a true asshole.

Monique said...

Is it not amazing how homophobes can be so coward? Mr. Anonymous must know the meaning of hatred and of its consequences. Watch out!
Jay, I agree about what you said about Rendell.

Anonymous said...

I guess if someone has one issue that conflicts with yours, that's it, he's dirt. As long as South Jersey keeps the blacks of Camden from coming into your pristine neighborhoods of Cherry Hill, Mt. Laurel, Moorestown, Marlton and Medford, that's what counts. Don't worry, your neighborhoods there will not be effected, and the most depressed city in the country may benefit the most by increased commerce and job opportunities. Increasing jobs and helping out a depressed city sounds like a liberal idea to me.

Anonymous said...

Why would Rendell care if he pisses off people who live in New Jersey?

Honestly, I think Rendell is right on this one. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is dredging to 50 ft and spending over $2 billion to do it. Almost all of the New York City Port terminals are in New Jersey. Does anyone think that maybe New Jersey is dragging its feet because it doesn't want to let Pennsylvania compete for that traffic when ships transition to 50ft depths? If Pennsylvania has to play hardball, then it should play hardball. I think this is a good move on Rendell's part.

jay lassiter said...

he should care about the 2o,ooo daily commuters think 'cuz as workers and consumers, s. jersey folks are an integral part of the philly economy. if rendell wants to play hard ball fine, but if he wants to do it in this manner, then he has to be willing to take the P.R. hit.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is over the top at all. It's a negotiating tactic. Jersey has never really catered to the Philly end of the state anyway. Most pols in Jersey I know in Trenton think North Jersey is the only part of the state, South Jersey is somewhere that has pretty beaches. For the state to allow Camden to die like they did shows you how much they care about their Philly side of the state. It's not even a Democrat/Republican thing, it's a north/south thing.

Media In Trouble said...

wow lassiter.
you got some real trolls on this one.

typically the quality of a post is inversly proportional to the quantity of troll remarks it generates.

which makes this post.

great job.

royce said...

EDDIE EDDIE, since the south jersey workers pay a philly tax, how much would the city lose? 1\4 million s.j. people NOT donating to your state tax! if you dredge up the river, the bottom oils, polutents,& unreconizeddangerous depre, will rise to the top! it took the great act of congressman ROB ANDREWS to keep our rivers AS IS! rob anderws cares for the people! not the profits! HOW MUCH WILL YOU MAKE ED RANDELL? if this is good for your city as you state, we you allow your bank account to be seen by us? doing favors ed? thats right, your a govermet offical, if your caught, you can REFORM!lmfao! no prison,no fines, such as we would have to pay! do you hang out with abramoff?? he is rating in a city near you! scared now ed? reform brother reform! if air was priced like gasoline, you keep your mouth shut!

Anonymous said...

fuck rendell!!!!!!!!!!