Moving Hillsborough Forward has called to action a commentary brigade via its Twitter feed. So, in addition to making my comment at the TampaBay.com editorial in question, Without Mass Transit, Tampa Bay Businesses, Economy May Face Slow Death, I also dropped in on the Tampa Rail Facebook page to give Tampa Rail Group members the heads up.
There, on its wall, I found a link someone cited to a "fan" page of those who oppose a livable and commercially viable Tampa Bay region. The group calls itself "No Tax For Trax", and, get this, despite some clear investment in its off-Facebook fortress site, it has attracted (snicker) just 21 fans.
Hillsborough County Residents don't want rail! Well, these 21 Hillsborough County residents don't, anyway.
There's your awesome roar against rail folks.
By contrast nearly all venues representing a pro-transit platform number in at least the hundreds. The Tampa Rail FB group, for instance, leads the pack at a whopping 359 members (and, as an aside, its Twitter feed has 513 presumably pro-rail followers). Bring Light Rail to Hillsborough County follows up with 241 members. We have to assume that this is a microcosm that projects into the thousands if not tens of thousands of voters when overlaid on the population at large.
I'm making fun, perhaps. But it does go to show that the "anti-tax" people are a small, tightly controlled group, who remain secretive and inaccessible if not vocal and determined to spread their dangerous propaganda. It doesn't appear for instance, that the No Tax for Tracks blog even allows comments to its postings, which is something I find atypical of such ideological websites. Like the strong dictatorships in North Korea or Cuba, public feedback is considered intolerable and a gross infringement against the State. Yep, that's how these people think. All (snicker) 21 of them.
It's encouraging but we should not become complacent. There's a real tendency to believe the vote for transit in Hillsborough County will succeed in November, because inertly, we all believe that good things take care of themselves. We believe Jesus or the gods we pray to will take care of this for us if only to beat back the evil and insidious bad seeds that lurch their way about on Earth. We forget, other closed and "secret" groups like the KKK flourished in their day despite the evil they represented.
Polling booths are, in a sense, mechanisms. Sometimes a radical group can take advantage of the self-assurance of the good, or, apathy of the general, to produce an "energetic majority" during elections. The commentary brigade that prompted this posting in fact, was to counter-address the dominant role these 2 dozen or so people play on local media message boards. Drop-ins to these boards are actually led to believe by this orchestration that there is a fierce anti-rail investment sentimentality in the county. Just 21 welfare-dependent types like Ralph-Hughes can sit around all day and pull this false perception off in short order. What all this means in the end is that Facebook membership counts mean squat. It's the votes that count and the votes Hillsborough County pro-transit residents must produce.
I encourage everyone to look at their content as linked to above if only to shore up their conclusive support for transit.