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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  Yes, it's a well-documented story. (none)
    Jane's book is wonderful, but another much slimmer volume I recommend is Stanley Hart's "The Elephant in the Bedroom." Here's a selection about the conspiracy you mention:

    Automobile manufacturers, oil, tire and related interests formed holiding companies, like National City Lines, and purchased street car systems throughout the nation. [They did it in my town, I've researched it quite a bit.] They then proceeded to junk the rail lines and vehicles and replace them with their own product - buses, tires and motor fuel. The converted firms, no buses only, were then spun off to become the orphaned charges of local governments. The conspirators were tried and finally convicted in 1976; they were fined $5.000.

    Not $1 as you mention, but still! As Hart points out, however, this conspiracy (and it's fact not theory) is a convenient scapegoat. The real villians

    are the collection of public policies which strongly favored the automobile over the streetcar resulting in the critical loss of transit patronage. The conspiracy was merely the coup de grace.

    "One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native land of hope." Wallace Stegner [-7.13 -6.97]

    by Mother Mags on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:58:51 AM PST

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    •  Sorry, (none)
      block quote should read: "The converted firms, NOW buses only" Makes a difference.

      "One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native land of hope." Wallace Stegner [-7.13 -6.97]

      by Mother Mags on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:01:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No scapegoat (none)
      Who do you think shaped and even crafted the public policies?

      The same economic interests that engaged in the conspiracy!

      I work in plannning anpublic policy, adn only put that stuff out there to counteract a complete misreading of the overall thrust of the diary.

      •  No disagreement there. (none)
        I believe what Hart is saying (and why he calls it a scapegoat - although you may disagree with the label) is that the die was cast before the buy-out, precisely because of the policies steamrolled through Congress by big oil, auto, tire, highway construction, etc. THAT is what we should be looking at, and THAT is what we should continue to focus on. I too work with communities on planning, etc., and one is always struck by the power of the transportation lobby in towns large and small. (I note your Civic Society name. Years ago I did a lot of research and writing in the history of civil society in America. Used to be a Fellow at the Kettering Foundation, if you know that group.)  

        "One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native land of hope." Wallace Stegner [-7.13 -6.97]

        by Mother Mags on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 09:00:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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