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That Ain’t The Problem

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, PhD.
The Truth Contributor

Your judgment is no better than your information. 
-  Nathaniel H. Bronner, Sr.


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

Rev. John D. Roberts, my mentor in the ministry, has a saying, “Little Prayer is Little Power. Much Prayer is Much Power.”  I would like to adapt and remix Roberts’ bit of wisdom to say: “Little Information is Little Power. Much Information is Much Power.” In fact, access to information has always been a relevant social justice issues for our community.

There are several critical local issues addressing discrimination and equity that are currently gaining political steam. I hope to shine light on many of them in the coming weeks.

The first deals with TARTA’s recent plan to eliminate bus transportation on Sundays and holidays, a decision that negatively impacts minorities, low income and disabled persons.

What do you need to know?

It is MORE than a Sales Tax Issue:

The TARTA public relations machine is in full swing portraying TARTA’s strapped financial condition as “a result of being blocked from good solutions by a small minority of suburban elected officials.”

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!

The truth is that TARTA’s troubles are more likely to “stem from management problems and an outmoded and inefficient business model,” according to several sources familiar with the Authority’s operations.

Yet, it is no secret that TARTA’s predominant role in this community is to help people get to work. The people riding TARTA are likely to be minorities, low income and the disabled who work hard and view TARTA as a lifeline to get to church on Sunday or to and from jobs that help them provide for their families.

While TARTA expands and continues service for other more privileged clients, including University of Toledo students and Walleye hockey fans, the decision to cut services to the vulnerable demonstrates bias towards low income, disabled and minorities – a financial strategy being implemented as TARTA simultaneously advertises for proposals to remodel the lobby of the former Cherry Street Goodwill building it recently bought.

First Things First:

When a transit authority proposes cuts, they are legally required to first evaluate whether their proposal will have a disparate impact on minorities and low-income people—and, if so, suggest mitigation strategies or alternatives to the cuts. TARTA has not met these legal requirements to provide alternatives to avoid the deep and negative impact of its cuts.

 It certainly appears that TARTA has little or no regard for the people who form a significant portion of its client base and who have repeatedly been loyal supporters of its past tax levies.

The Authority, in fact, was also required to hold two public hearings on these cuts, which they did—on the same day—and without an opportunity for dialogue on ways to avoid the negative impact on TARTA’s riders.

Addressing the Real Problem: Either Reform or Replace

There is a need to end the pro-forma, check-the-box responses to issues affecting minorities and low-income persons and to begin real public engagement where decision makers actually listen to the people they are impacting.

In order to solve the real problems, then, TARTA, as an organization, will need to be completely reformed or completely replaced. We must demand such change that will provide financial stability as well as transportation equity for all.

As a result, United Pastors for Social Empowerment, with assistance from Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), has filed an administrative complaint with the Federal Transit Administration's Office of Civil Rights. In addition, the Lucas County Commissioners are currently assembling a task force to examine TARTA’s internal operations and other alternative structures for our regional transportation system.

Little Information is Little Power. Much Information is Much Power!

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/10/19 08:33:24 -0500.



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