Tonight the Waterloo Chronicle put up an article and an editorial about last Friday’s LRT-related meetings in Waterloo. These pieces are from tomorrow’s print edition, which goes to most homes in Waterloo. Unfortunately, the article as currently written contains falsehoods, and quotes which bash TriTAG. We were not contacted for this piece and were not given space to respond to the accusations.
Let’s set the story straight.
Last Wednesday we were forwarded an email originally by Ruth Haworth, spokesperson for Taxpayers for Sensible Transit, which consisted of the following:
From: Ruth Haworth [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:43 PM
To: Ruth Haworth
Subject: Anti-LRT meeting at the Waterloo Adult Recreation Center, Friday at 4:30
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran has said that she wants to take a public stance against LRT, but she says she can’t do it unless masses of residents stand up and tell her to oppose it.
Consequently, residents of uptown have planned an anti-LRT rally at the Adult Recreation Center (185 King St S, Waterloo, at the corner of Allen) on Friday, April 15 from 4:30 PM to 6 PM.
Mayor Halloran, Regional councillors Jane Mitchell and Sean Strickland, Ward 7 councillor Melissa Durrell, media and others will be there.
We’re hoping for as many people as possible – this could be a game changer if we get enough people. I can’t emphasize that enough: the politicians are facing enormous pressure from the pro-LRT group, including Regional staff, and they will not oppose LRT unless we prove to them that the residents are against it.
I hope you can attend. I hope you can also phone or email your friends and urge them to go. Feel free to pass this on.
If you have any questions, you can contact Ruth Haworth at email@example.com, 519-749-9265. (This is not a T4ST event but I am helping out.)
This will be an opportunity for you to speak to the politicians: tell them what you think or ask a question.
We included the above email in a message Tim Mollison wrote to the “I Support Light Rail Transit” group on Facebook, in which Tim wrote:
Dear LRT supporter,
The following e-mail was leaked to us – Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran seems about to turn her back on LRT. Call or e-mail her (contact below) to make it clear that as one of her constituents, you support LRT.
I also personally wrote a comment with similar content on WonderfulWaterloo. Contrary to a statement in the article, there were no @TriTAG tweets about these events, however we did have several links relating to them in our Rapid Transit round-up on Sunday.
The Waterloo Chronicle writes:
Ruth Haworth, spokesperson for T4ST, said she offered to mobilize people to attend what she thought was a public meeting, but it was never intended to be an anti-LRT rally like the one pro-LRT groups held in the Waterloo public square last Decemeber.
This is directly contradicted by the content of Ms. Haworth’s email.
She is quoted as saying:
“The pro-LRT people have had their rally in December and we didn’t interfere with it, and now they’ve interfered with this.”
In fact, at the Rally for Rails, John Shortreed (a member of Taxpayers for Sensible Transit) was standing in the middle of the crowd, handing out anti-LRT flyers. No TriTAG organizer interfered with his participation.
Ms. Haworth is further quoted as saying:
“The anti-LRT people I know are older and are not necessarily ralliers. This was our chance for a bunch to get together and Tri- TAG has interfered with that through tricks.”
Now, this accusation is beyond the pale. We communicated the content of her emails to LRT supporters. It is said that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but directly quoted emails and Facebook are hardly trickery.
We are disappointed that Waterloo Chronicle has chosen to print this piece, and encourage anyone who feels similarly to convey their concerns to Bob Vrbanac, who is both the author of the article and the editor of the Chronicle. He can be reached by telephone at 519-886-2830 x229, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.