There’s a valid difference of opinion as to whether the referendum on transit funding can be won or lost. But everyone agrees on this: If the referendum is just about TransLink, it loses.
Then the referendum becomes an opportunity to ‘send TransLink a message.’ And there’s a menu of messages to choose from.
Here’s the news on TransLink as of a few minutes ago:
From salaries to safety to the cost of it all – and now social-media reaction to the roll-out of the Compass Card – every voter, regardless of their support for transit infrastructure, will have a reason to vote no.
It’s almost as though it was a strategy.
Since there are so many unknowns about this vote, including the actual wording, it’s left a vacuum – one that can be filled with an incessant litany of complaints and criticisms of TL, led by the professional anti-government critics and magnified by a media already comfortable with the frame. Building public disdain constitutes a good ol’ fashioned hate-on, with no competition for the media microphone, that will shape the public opinion no matter what wording is proposed for the referendum. It’ll be just about TransLink, and whether it’s worth the money.
Those who want to get out a yes vote will have to defend TransLink first – something they really don’t want to have to do. Starting from a defensive position is not the way to get support for raising taxes.
And there are only 457 days left – assuming the vote is left as long as possible.