Light rail at the polls

Light rail squeaked by in Houston, where 52 percent of voters gave it the nod. According to Mayor Lee Brown, light rail was the only thing standing between Houston and greatness: “Tonight, once and for all, Houston truly joins the ranks of the great cities in the world.” Does he mean “great” like San Jose where light rail carries .17 percent of motorized passenger miles? Tucson voters gave that city’s light rail plan quite a drubbing. Pro-rail activist Steve Farley (who thinks rail is sexy) had the money quote: “We don’t go away …” I believe him. When rail fails at the polls, it rarely goes away. Kansas City voters also said no to rail, but they said yes to more express routes for buses. In other election news there will be no peace in Denver. Citizens rejected the “peace initiative” which was backed by a transcendental meditation guru and would have required the City Council to fight stress. And it wouldn’t be election day without San Francisco raising the minimum wage: [V]oters backed a measure imposing an $8.50 minimum wage on all employers in the city. The new wage – one of the highest of its type in the country – will take effect in three months for most for-profit businesses. It will be phased in over two years for non-profits and businesses with fewer than 10 employees.