My email to some of the members of the Broward County Commission on Monday, in advance of their meeting Tuesday about transportation options for broward residents and tourists, including ride sharing apps like @Uber and @lyft.
I'll have some thoughts and some analysis of the decision made Tuesday here on the blog by Friday afternoon.
As best I can determine, I've read every single newspaper article & column, tweet, blog post and aired TV segment about the matter, good and bad, that's been filed from somewhere in Broward County and environs, no matter how obtuse, incoherent or fact-challenged -or simply argumentative for the sake of being argumentative!
I'm pleased to be hearing of late that some of your colleagues have, for whatever reason, come to see that their initial approach was perhaps less-than-satisfactory for a large number of Broward residents
than they originally thought.
Trust me, my friends and former colleagues located overseas all know about what's taken place here over the past few months. They're very sharp and well-informed people to begin with, and most had already heard about the ridiculous news before I first thought to mention it to them the past few weeks. Still, they're shocked.
I'd like to think they had a much-better grasp of the facts and the real subtext and nuance after I sent them -and any journalists they knew in their own city- some helpful links to the myriad print and TV stories about the issue here, where, given a chance to do the smart and pragmatic thing, a majority of the Broward County Commission thought that firmly embracing the past with a passion was more important than admitting that the future everyone's been talking about was... already here.
Because surely, given a choice, the Broward County Commission would recognize that it was time to admit that no amount of their pretending or wishful thinking were going to change that basic fact.
And NOT wisely.
It's hard not to reflect on this and also not observe how perverse it is that for so many years, the Broward County Commission has delighted in patting itself on the back for choosing an approach that the majority declared was "forward-thinking" when it came to some social issue.
Oh, and that glorious past?
A past where taxi drivers at FLL airport have routinely ripped-off domestic and foreign visitors left-and-right for years by driving routes to locations around the area that were NOT the shortest distance between any two points.
The disappearance of the simple (and much-missed) southbound exit from the airport onto U.S.-1/Federal Highway towards Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and points beyond, only facilitated this duplicity by the existing taxi drivers, and made a long-festering problem worse and more self-evident to anyone who was paying the slightest attention.
Last year I told some of you the tale of a good friend (and fellow civic activist) from Hallandale Beach who, TWICE, after getting off a flight from Ohio, was offered a taxi drive home to Hallandale Beach... via a trip west to 595 and then State Road 7 and then...
Recognizing the scam for what it was -with the licensed taxi driver using the half-assed, poorly-conceived stop-gap U-turn north of the airport on U.S.-1 as a means to further confuse riders- my friend voiced his strong disapproval before things got worse.
That this same shady and illegal maneuver was tried by a LICENSED Broward taxi driver
Funny how the public never hears anything about taxi drivers getting punished for taking advantage of customers, esp at FLL and Port Everglades.
Meanwhile, how do visitors to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, esp. ones used to taking public transportation from the airport back to their home -in D.C., Chicago and Stockholm to name but three places I know- react when they first encounter Broward's public transit stop at FLL?
Tell me, does that bus stop STILL consist of a solitary bench without any shade or cover of any sort, despite the weather we have here?
Does FLL and its Director still believe that NOT having good sensible direction signs at the airport to the #1 bus stop, in the year 2015, is a good way of #branding?
Yep, that's how bad reputations start -and then get worse when nobody in a position of authority cares enough to resolve the problem on the public's behalf.
And none of the Usual Suspects put forward by the Broward League of Cities and the like who always seem to have as their first goal, gaining more ultimate power and control for local public officials -always at the expense of Broward's beleaguered taxpayers.