Saturday, August 16, 2008

LETTER: Stealth Trollies ala Convention Center

".... I am 100% convinced that everything Jack Howell describes will be built, is moving forward in the very same way as the Convention Center.

"For those not involved at that time, the Ernst & Young Report, the sole basis for the [convention center] project and implementation of the hotel tax, was purposely bought and paid for with private money.

"The Lancaster Campaign/Lancaster Alliance, funded by the local business elite (3 Amigos [Editor: presumably High, Fulton and Lancaster Newspapers], Warfel, etc.) and fronted by Tom Baldridge, bought that report and managed to keep the full text secret until prior to the vote by the County Commissioners to implement the tax.

"In a similar way, this [trolley] project will move forward with non-profits, not necessarily public entities, and 'private' donations until the last possible moment. At that point, it will be sprung on the taxpayer when it is way too late and the majority of the people are way behind the curve...just like what happened with the CC.

"In another example of history repeating itself, this project uses the fact that there is some private money involved to keep things secret and hide the public interest rather than the other way around. It is not the presence of private money but rather the presence of public money/suport/subsidies, whether federal, state or local, that should dictate FULL DISCLOSURE, not no disclosure.