Perception, in the minds of many an elected official, IS reality. Nothing illustrates this better than recent comments by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo regarding crime being a creation of the media and County Commission Vice-Chair Jonathan Barfield’s assertion that all is well with mass transit ridership.
The mayor has this to say about crime in Wilmington over at WWAY. “If it’s a slow news day and something is going on at the bars it’s going to get attention,” said Saffo. “Unfortunately the perception of downtown is that it’s violent. I can tell you I’ve walked down late hours and I’ve never been bothered, but if it bleeds it leads.”
He may well have been safe but overall crime was up in the region according to the state statistics, so he might want to pass along the “safe corridor” he supposedly walks during those “late hours” downtown. The mayor later apologized.
With Barfield, it is the view that transit is full of riders. ”I’ll tell you that our ridership is extremely high,” Barfield said. “We always get a lot of comments that people say they don’t see people on the buses, but I think it depends on what time of the day you’re looking at but also on the routes you’re looking at, because our numbers are through the roof in terms of that.” Barfield says using the Wave buses is not only a great way to go green but also helps with the wear and tear of our roads.
The problem here is that facts are contrary to Barfield’s assertions which are, again, based upon anecdotal evidence. For some real facts on NC Transit, check out this new study by the John Locke Foundation on the cost of transit in NC.
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