by Ron Gregory
The Uber driver shooting spree in Michigan might underline my concern for de-regulating taxi service in West Virginia in favor of “ride-sharing.”
To be honest, we had “ride-sharing” in rural areas of the state years ago. We called it “hitch-hiking.” Our version was likely safer.
Honestly, I fail to see the difference except that when one was hitching rides, he or she usually knew the driver on some sort of personal level. With ride-sharing, I suppose people are somehow relieved that they can watch their driver on a cell phone while he or she approaches the pickup location. Frankly, I might have trouble identifying Jack the Ripper if he appeared on my cell screen, but that’s just me.
Why seeing the driver on a phone provides assurance and consolation to prospective riders is beyond me. I suppose if the driver decides to detour and murder someone on the way to pick the next passenger up, they get a bit of an advance warning.
While I am not saying I am strictly opposed to Uber, I have suggested that lawmakers look at some of the problems the company has had in its worldwide operations. I clearly do not think the coming of Uber would be the Godsend some legislators and Uber fans think it would be.
Like the Walmarts of the world, every job created for Uber will eliminate at least one from the current taxi industry. I am not one for over-regulation by government, but I do not see why it is wrong for those who will be transporting you and me to go through some serious regulation and background checks.
It has never been easy to provide cab service. It shouldn’t be any easier when a person is getting into a car with an unknown driver. Uber makes that too commonplace. I hate to see the small-town taxi services go by the wayside.
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I want to keep small taxi companies, yet I am usually branded as the non-true-believing conservative while my “conservative” friends push a Paris, France business to replace our American jobs. No wonder I stay confused.
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It’s difficult to understand why the state legislature is not turning cartwheels to pass bills that would help the state’s dire economic straits. Other than taking the rights of those who do not look, act and talk like the majority and giving guns to babies, I still can’t figure what they’re doing in Charleston.
While roads are filled with potholes and it would take millions to bring them up to reasonable standards; while every day brings news of more job losses; the legislature seems satisfied to change every social norm in the state. What about the roads; what about the jobs; what about the state’s future?
Let’s bring broadband to as many West Virginians as possible and build as many cell towers as companies will use. Let’s legalize marijuana and make it THE cash crop that can almost instantly replace coal.
West Virginians overwhelmingly support medical marijuana. What’s the holdup? Are we waiting for the last person to leave?
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As a Marshall fan, it truly makes no difference to me if the University of Southern Pennsylvania at Morgantown School (US-PMS) ever plays us again in any sport, I still wonder how West Virginians can embrace that school’s philosophy.
Some months ago, WVU basketball Coach Bob Huggins made his feelings about the state clear as if we didn’t already know. Huggins, you may recall, was not at all interested in coaching at WVU until a year after he was fired at Cincinnati. Then, he got teary-eyed and homesick for his “home in the mountains.”
But Huggins took issue with remarks made by a real West Virginian, MU Coach Dan D’Antoni. It was in his response that Huggins revealed that his contempt for West Virginia has not changed. Huggins had no real defense for his goal to stop playing a basketball game in Charleston between Marshall and WVU except to say “West Virginia basketball” was his top priority.
So, the head man at the state’s “flagship” university puts the good of the state at some secondary level to “his” basketball program. He doesn’t care if the game sells out or if the capital city gets the benefit of seeing the two Division I programs face off. His top priority is WVU’s basketball program.
Huggins said he is “not afraid” to play the Herd and then went into a 15-minute rant underscoring how he IS afraid to take a chance on losing.
As I have explained many times, I am not just anti-WVU because I am pro-Marshall. I am anti-WVU because their administration loves to take advantage of ignorant West Virginians and claim to have some concern for the state. Yet, regularly they show that they do not. I guess I have sympathy for morons in the legislature who put on bow ties every time they think WVU President Pee Wee Herman (aka Gordon Gee) is headed to town.
WVU loves to take state tax revenues, donations from West Virginians and then thumb their noses at the natives. The school is embarrassed when they end up with a coach who “sounds like a West Virginian (i.e. the late Bill Stewart).” They blast “Country Roads” on their public address speakers, a song written by a non-West Virginian, and wouldn’t know the words to the original state anthem, “The West Virginia Hills.”
AND James Kelly is the best Division I player in the state. There’s something to be said for that.
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Speaking of Uber, discerning readers are likely aware that before the driver’s shooting spree, a passenger tried to alert Uber that he was behaving erratically. He couldn’t reach the company to report the problem.
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Like school consolidation, West Virginia usually comes in on the tail-end of developments. Perhaps before awarding Uber the right to ride-share with everyone in the state, the legislature should take a serious look at the record. School consolidation had already been proven wrong before the Mountain State started implementing it.
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Your comments, story ideas, rumors and plans to bankrupt EVERY small business in West Virginia are welcome. Use my listed email or call my cell, 304-533-5185.