The Hall County commission and others want to back out of a decadelong relationship with the Red Rabbit, the city of Gainesville, and public transportation uses. Why?
I’ve seen no compelling reason to change horses in the middle of a stream. There’s no more outcry to kill the Rabbit this year than it was last year. No group has come forward with a petition containing a hundred names or a thousand names.
If there is a ground swell of people suddenly driven to killing the Rabbit, let them sign a petition. Let them put their names and addresses on public display. Others have petitioned this commission with hundreds and hundreds of names. The commissioners have given a deaf ear to every such petition! What silent and secret constituency compels 3 elected officials to destroy an existing program?
Commissioner Billy Powell alleges the city mismanages the employees and drivers. But he offers no proof. When has there been a devastating accident caused by the negligence of a Red Rabbit driver? Has there ever been a death caused by a driver? If Powell has these proofs, let him show it.
Some commissioners claim they need more control. Having seen how well they handle libraries, parks, water and sewer, I don’t trust them with more control. I don’t like the power they have now or how they use it.
Some say the riders pay no taxes. Or at least no county taxes. That’s not true. The county collects property taxes inside the city limits. The sales tax paid by even the smallest consumer goes to the county before the city. Elderly riders have paid a lifetime of taxes. Respect that contribution just like you respect their wisdom and age.
We are in the second decade of a program which benefits mostly elderly people. The annual cost per capita is a dollar. The county gets $400,000 return on its investment of roughly $200,000 into the Rabbit. That $400,000 does create jobs. It does feed into the local economy. It does make a difference in the quality of life for hundreds of people.
If there are hundreds of people demanding the county terminate this decadelong program, let them be heard. Sign a petition. Put your name and your face and your address out in public.
I know who rides the Rabbit. I want to know who is killing it.