Friday, February 15, 2019

Presidential Candidates Need to Bus with Us in SC

Presidential Candidates Need to Bus with Us

From     Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc.
To          Candidates for President of the United States
Re          Riding Transit during your campaign
Date      Feb. 15, 2019

William J. Hamilton, III
(843) 870-5299, (843) 577-5231, (843) 870-3624

If you cannot ride transit with ordinary people, you cannot expect to ride a limo to the White house on inauguration day.


Kamala Harris invited to ride- Feb. 22, by packet delivered to staff
Cary Booker invited to ride- March 2, by packet delivered to staff
Julian Castro was invited to ride on on March 17, by personal invitation to the candidate
Beto O'Rourke invited to ride, March 22 by packet delivered to staff and by email to scheduler
Invitation to President Trump being prepared.

Our Work on Transit

Fighting for Bus Service to Folly Beach, June 2018
Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. and it’s affiliated PAC, Up is Good, have worked to obtain improved public transit, affordable housing and a living wage for residents of the Lowcountry for 8 years. During that time, we’ve helped pass a 600-million-dollar local appropriation for construction of a bus rapid transit system and improved regular bus service in a November 2016 referendum. The PAC was instrumental in the primary defeat of Mark Sanford, who had introduced bills in the US congress to end all federal public transit funding. 

We’ve successfully pushed for redevelopment of the old Navy Hospital site as a mixed-use community with affordable housing. In the past two years, we’ve had over 70 thousand local face to face conversations about improving public transit and making sure affordable housing in constructed along the transit lines here. All of these fights are ongoing, and progress can always be reversed when enabled by public inattention.

The Politics and Economics of Transit in the Lowcountry and America

Since 1980, South Carolina has seen a quadrennial circus come to town of Presidential candidates from both parties who suck time, money and attention away from the needs of our community. Our state was instrumental in the nominations of George Bush, Barach Obama and Donald Trump. However, after each big, noisy national show the lives of people here in the Lowcountry return to a bleak landscape low wages, inadequate transit, dysfunctional schools, rising housing costs and a soaring cost of living. Local wages are far below the national average. The cost of living, driven by wealthy retirees from elsewhere and tourists, is now far above the national average.

The people whose votes you are campaigning for make up the difference between what they are paid and what it costs to live here by working increased hours, moving to cheaper, more dangerous areas to live and accepting a declining quality of life that is invisible to visitors or the wealthy retirees displacing them from their neighborhoods. In the process their children, if they can afford to have them, get worse schools and reduced opportunity.

Why Candidates for President Need to Bus with Us

Mayor Charles Duberry, Lincolnville, SC
This year, our organization will be asking candidates for President of the United States to ride an ordinary local bus with us as part of their campaign. We expect them to wait with us at the stop, to talk to local people and to demonstrate an understanding of the increasing pressure ordinary people here confront in their struggle to survive. We’ll be documenting these rides online and maintain a list of those candidates who have and have not been on the bus with us.

We understand that you are busy and the issues in this Presidential election are connected to a republic in peril, however candidates unwilling or unable to connect with the struggles of ordinary people cannot lead this country out of its decline. Most of our elections are decided by the people who believe there is no point in going out to vote. For those riding local transit, that trip can be almost impossible. Two of the three early voting locations here in the last election were more than a half mile away from the nearest bus stop. The East Cooper location at Seacoast Church was 2 miles from the nearest bus stop.

Jason Taylor, Candidate for CHS City council on the bus
Across the nation transit ridership has begin to decrease because poor people are being gentrified into areas which lack transit, while the wealthy move into city centers to avoid traffic congestion and gain access to a walkable environment. Traffic congestion is slowing down bus routes, increasing costs and driving a push for higher fares to cover the cost of declining service. 10 years ago, the trip from downtown to Health South on Highway 78 cost $1.25 and too about an hour. Today it costs $2 and takes 90 to 120 minutes. A trip to the part of Goose Creek where a downtown resident forced from her rundown apartment by rising rent now lives in a tent takes about 2 hours and is possible only twice a day. For 100 families living in Sangree it is a mile and a half walk to the nearest bus stop, operation 4 times a day and 2.5 miles to the nearest grocery store. 

What We Will Do before the Presidential Primary Here on Behalf of Transit Riders

Developer provided bus stop, Mt. Pleasant, SC
We know those people. They’ll be voting in the primary and they’ll be getting a list of who did and did not ride the bus with us. In many cases, they'll receive that at a community meeting, at a bus stop or by delivery to their door by our trained and experienced "Corps of Conductors."

We plan to publish the results of this effort nationally on Transit Equity Day, Feb. 4, 2020, which is held on the birthday of Rosa Parks, just before the primaries.

We understand that this is an aggressive stance, but the auto centric nature of American politics demands it. With Koch funded attacks on transit taking place across the nation, we’re going to push back for the thousands of people in SC  and 30 million transit riders across the United States being left behind by a system of transportation and land development which sentences them to wasted hours and days of low paid work which begin before their children wake up and end when their struggle to return home finds their children already in bed.

We will not accept that America. We hope you wont either. We look forward to having you join us on the bus.

William J. Hamilton, III
Attorney at Law
Executive Director, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit
(843) 870-5299,

Americans for Transit, Transit Equity Coalition
Transit Center

Tax deductible contributions for the support of this work can be made through our Financial Sponsor, The Coastal Community Foundation, but they and we are 501c3 Nonprofits. Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit does not endorse political candidates.

Up is Good is a federally registered political action committee scheduled for reactivation later this year. Funding for the two organizations is entirely separate. Contributions to Up is Good are not tax deductible. This communication is not a solicitation for contributions to Up is Good.

1 comment:

  1. Those of us, large or few here in Charleston's Tri-County area, are becoming, as I have promised, ever increasingly important to the entire Nation. Yes, I'm not exactly certain on how many of us there are in comparison to those who aren't supportive, and that's OK. In historical times, there has never been a 100 percent effort to promote "Change" in any facet of services rendered. But if you all who are not proactive will continue to watch and read your newspapers, you will indeed be amazed at that which "Almighty God" is doing in your midst in the leading state of your, and our once great nation,"South Carolina." The Charge In Our great state Is becoming noticeable to the rest of the nation, because of those of us who have been selected through "God," in their hearts, to become "national leaders of reform. We need to continue our efforts right here in our state to become the instrumental conversation in America, instead of the current slanderous situation that our news media is covering right now. Since when, did a wall on our borders that costs billions become more infinitive in this nation, than updating our infrastructure to allow access to those already here who are continuously "Keeping America Great." They pay taxable wages just like those who are not of an immigrant background. If we can find a WAY to give incentives to companies who decide to raise the wage that they are paying mostly this class of our citizenship, they will begin to contribute more into what some of us only know as "State, FICA, and Medic, because we are not business owners. Those of us who own our businesses will take our time covering those definitive parts of our business operations. Yes Washington, We're on our WAY to greet you in a positive manner. It will be up to you to "role with us," rather than us "role with you." You have had your opportunities to make "Change For The Better," and in the last few years, you've done nothing of the sort. The "Change" that our nation needs and must have begins right here at home in the back yards of the citizens of our state, "South Carolina." We will not only be the leading area of the nation by 2020, we will be the instrumental leader and factor in the election of the next president of "The United States." You have been notified. We will stand behind our governor, whether we belong to his party, (Republican) or not because we will be showing this nation a "United Front" when we arrive. There will be many of us on both sides of the fence (Republican And Democrat, And we will show this nation that, "Yes We Can" all work together for the greater good of one another than just a certain chosen few. We will stand great in number, because, by the time we get there, there will be many onboard with us who are not actually committed at this moment in time. Yes, We will pull this nation back together through our prayers and relationships which will be "all inclusive" through our efforts that will form "NATIONAL UNITY," after we create that same "STATE UNITY," right here at home. The days of many who are currently employed in Washington at this moment, don't really fit the mold that we are "pouring the concrete into." So, we will ask you to begin to really do your jobs, because we are watching "Every One Pf You," and deciding who we will stand behind, "UNITED." That, which you in Washington DC now, have not been able to achieve in all of your futile actions, will stand with "mouths wide open" when you see and learn what "The United," in "The United States Of America," stands for. We encourage your "United Participation" in each passing day.