Trends come and go, issues evolve, and the people react accordingly. Each election cycle, politicians take to the stump to brag about their past accomplishments and make new promises to the people. Whether they’ve been in office for years or are running for the first time, their policies are shaped by what’s going on in their communities.
There are some areas where they can honestly tout improvement. The economy is humming and we’ve made some progress in area such as fighting homelessness and preserving the environment.
They there are some issues they shouldn’t be allowed to brag about. That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Here are just five subjects where politicians shouldn’t pretend we’re making strong progress on.
SunRail: Most lawmakers wanted SunRail. They held town halls. They promoted it as a major opportunity for the region and pledged to ride it after it got built. It got built and now it’s in the headlines every week for the wrong reasons. Accidents, low ridership, and lack of funds to move it forward have lead to the shine coming off of the commuter rails system just as municipalities begin to shoulder some fiscal responsiblities for it. Until it improves they shouldn’t sell it.
Cost of living: You can’t say that Orlando is an affordable place to live right now. We have an affordable housing crisis, utilities are still high, wages are still low and we still have some areas still trying to raise taxes. Candidates can pledge to attempt to bring the cost of living down, but you can’t stand on it as an accomplishment.
Roads and traffic density: I could have just lumped this in with SunRail, gone broad and listed transportation as a whole, but that would be unfair to OIA and our reccent advances in ridesharing.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say traffic in Orlando is bad. Ultimate I4 is showing signs of progress but it’s still a slow crawl into downtown from both directions in the morning. Colonial drive is still a headache, and the Dr. Phillips area may actually be getting worse. It’s a bad scene out there right now during rush hour.
Retail business growth: The blame on this one doesn’t really fall on anyone except the internet. There is a lot of empty retail space out there. Shopping malls are dying. Big box stores that aren’t call Walmart continue to see reduced revenues. Politicians need to take a long look at how retail is doing in their areas before bragging about any progress.
Community unity: This is a sad one, but Orlando is not immune to the division the rest of the country is currently experiencing. Social media is perpetuating anger and fear and it’s being fueled by fighting between our lawmakers. From Washington, to Tallahassee, and some areas of metropolitan Orlando, you can go on social media and find politicians hurling insults at each other from both parties. We don’t craft solutions. We create attacks and are constantly bombarding constituents with who’s to blame for what’s not getting done.
You can pledge to be a unifier but don’t pretend there isn’t a problem out there.