Sunday, May 6, 2018

Candidates Bus With Us For #ConChaCo May 12

Charleston, SC- Political Candidates and Elected Leaders who represent or seek to represent voters living in zip codes 29401 and 29403 are invited to “bus with us” on May 12 for #ConChaCo a transit focused community festival which joins five great Charleston events and could join your campaign with voters.
Signing the Citizens Commitment to Tranist
ConChaCo will be a great day to ride the #20 for any candidate or elected official, but the free bus route runs exclusively through the downtown area and is of profound value to the community, connecting residents with downtown’s only value grocery store, Food Lion on Upper king Street. It’s particulary important for candidates and officials from those areas to ride.
Two candidates for Governor, Phil Nobel (D) and James Smith (D) have already tentatively accepted. Two candidates running to represent the 1st. Congressional District have also indicated the expect to ride: Dimitri Cherny (Radical American Republican) and Joe Cunningham (D). Patrick Bell, a candidate for Register of Deeds is expected to ride.  The Chairmen of the Democratic, Republican and Green parties in Charleston have all been provided detailed information on ConChaCo and been asked to encourage their candidates to ride.
The entire CARTA Board, Mayor Tecklenberg, Charleston City Council, Catherine Templeton (R- running for Governor), Congressman James Clyburn and Representative Marvin Pendavis have been invited to ride.
Congressman Mark Sanford, who has twice introduced bills to eliminate federal funding for public transit and who has not yet made a public commitment to assist in seeking federal matching funds for the planned Summerville, Lincolnville, Ladson, N. Charleston and Charleston Bus Rapid Transit line was personally invited to ride during #ConChaco at Mt. Pleasant’s blessing of the fleet on April 29 by Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit Executive Director, William Hamilton. Hamilton was leading a team which was inviting the 2000 people at that festival to come downtown for ConChaCo. Two weeks earlier Sanford committed to ride local transit with Hamilton before the general election, but didn’t specifically commit to a date and time.
Best friends of Lowcountry Transit has been running a candidates bus with us program for six years.  Most candidates and elected leaders ride early in the morning on work days to meet those traveling to work.  Over 50 elected leaders and candidates have been on the bus with us.  State Senator Marlon Kimpson rides often and helped revamp the "bus with us" effort a few years ago. Kimppson later sponsored and got a bill passed with provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for new bus stops and funding for new vehicles to improve routes critical to getting tourism, hospitality and F&B workers downtown. 
Help make this effort work by contacting your elected officials or candidates and ask them to ride the bus with you during ConChaCo on May 12. The bus is free and parking is available along the route. If they’re really serious, ask them to ride into the City with you on your regular bus. The #7 Hop Shuttle, 10, 11, 30, 31, 301, 40 & 41 all connect plentiful free suburban parking with the #20 Upper King / Meeting Bus line and the fun and voters of #ConChaCo.
Candidates should comply with CARTA’s probably unconstitutional restrictions on free speech on it’s buses, but they’ll find the first amendment remains fully functional and available at all the bus stops along the route, which are on public sidewalks, a “traditional forum” for free speech according to the US Supreme Court.
Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit staff.
We hope all the candidates and elected officials who do ride to stop by our #ConChaCo information tent at the Corner or Grove Street and King (in the SE Corner of the Food Lion Parking Lot) so we can get their  picture getting on and off the bus and recognize them. We’ll be presenting framed certificates featuring their image to all the candidates who ride at later political events. We’ll also have “Transit Voter” stickers available there.  Candidates are welcome to greet voters there as well. Scott’s BBQ is just across the street and they can check out the Bike Share program collocated there as well. They'll also have the opportunity to sing the Lowcountry Commitment to Transit, a massive documents with hundreds of signatures pledging to work to be sure our half penny sales tax money goes to provide the transit we were promised for our half penny sales tax votes in Nov. 2016.
Candidates should include #conchaco and #chstransit in their tweets when the ride so everyone involved will know they’re participating.
When National Tranist activist Ben Ross visited Charleston on May 1 at the start of his cross state Uphill for SC Transit Tour he shared four big lessons with us learned in his 11 year leadership of the successful fight for the Purple Light Rail line in Maryland:  democracy still works; think big; go on the offensive and avoid preemptive concessions.
Let’s see if our community can apply those lessons when our candidates and leaders bus with us on May 12.

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