Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Apparently those running for public office in Montgomery County still don't grasp the concept of cost controls and reasonable planning.

The Norristown Times Herald recently reported on a candidates forum at the Montgomery County Community College main campus in Whitpain.

The four candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner - Republicans James Matthews and Tom Ellis (SEPTA Board Member) and Democrats Ruth Damsker and Frank Custer - reiterated their support for the $chuylkill Valley boondoggle, whose price tag is now approaching $2 billion.

"Everyone should be in favor of ($chuylkill Valley) because it offers mediation to the nightmare congestion along the Route 422 corridor," said (Matthews)... "It is a magnificent plan. The dilemma is that we can't afford to pay half."

And Matthews is just figuring that out now? How do you think that brother Chris (of MSNBC) would react if he found out that his home county was about to embark on a fiscal boondoggle that would make Boston's Big Dig highway construction project look like a simple road paving project in West Bradford?

MEMO TO COMMISSIONER MATTHEWS: There is a way out of this. Pressure SEPTA to abandon this "MetroRail" crap in favor of a more sensible plan. That way, Montgomery County wouldn't be on the hook for a portion of the $1 billion match required.

Matthew's position on $chuylkill Valley may very well be a testament to the ability of Fearless Leader's predecessor, Jack Leary, to brainwash elected officials into supporting a plan that, quite honestly, has little to no chance of becoming reality.

Meanwhile, at that same forum...

Noting that Ellis was one of the county's two representatives on the SEPTA Board, Custer said he had to question Ellis' commitment to public transportation since he did not attend any of SEPTA's area public hearings earlier this year on proposed service cutbacks.

Ellis responded that it was because of his championing of the R6 Norristown commuter rail line that there were no service cutbacks on that service. Since he was appointed to the board, Ellis said, there have been no service cutbacks in the county.

(This was before the 99 service between Royersford and Pottstown was eliminated due to the lack of additional funding, a change which took effect on Monday.)

Now, either Margaret Gibbons of the Times-Herald got her information incorrect, or Ellis is lying, but there were reductions on the R6 Norristown as a result of Rail Power Project, which were maintained after the project ended in July. Granted, they were minor reductions, but reductions all the same...

And, let's not forget the R6 Cynwyd reductions (then again, being from Cheltenham Twp, I wouldn't be shocked if people in that part of the county ignored the People's Republic of Lower Merion - which really wouldn't be a bad thing, when you think about it).

Well, the lies told by Ellis may very well be a moot issue, as Montgomery County is one of the stronger GOP area in Pennsylvania.

(On a related note, ads have been popping up at bus shelters - particularly at DeKalb St near the King Manor P&W station and at Plymouth Meeting Mall - and at some MontCo rail stations - namely Ambler - in support of the Matthews-Ellis ticket. This is probably one of the first times I can recall political ads anywhere on the SEPTA system. And, no, I don't think it's a coincidence, considering Ellis' position on the SEPTA Board.)

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