Subject: The Jeff Outhit Challenge
Dear Ms. Haddrall,
I am writing today to ask you to assign Jeff Outhit to accept my challenge to him. He has declined. I don’t understand why a columnist/reporter focused on transportation would turn down the opportunity to explore transportation options that are not a part of his current practice but which are increasingly being made by others such as myself. Changing people’s behaviours and choices are mandatory if Waterloo Region is to enjoy sustainable growth. I believe it is reasonable to expect Jeff Outhit to have first hand experience with alternatives to owning his own car.
If I had your role, I would make different choices since while transportation issues are important I don’t see them as being more important than many other issues facing our local governments that lack a weekly column. Being a longtime Record reader and subscriber, I would prefer to have a daily column on a wide range of local issues located on the front of the local section as the paper has had over the years. I welcome adding Luisa D’Amato’s occasional columns but wish she had a dedicated, regular column as she has had before. But I recognize that I am not Editor-In-Chief.
Your choice is to have a dedicated transportation columnist/reporter. I would suggest that right now, the perception is that the Record has a pro-car, anti-public transit columnist/reporter who has difficulty seeing life without being able to drive a car whenever he desires. I can’t believe that was your intent when you decided to feature this issue. So let’s have Jeff Outhit broaden his horizons and see if he can live without his car for 30 days.
I’d be happy to consider modifying the challenge if that would help. A shorter time period could be considered though I deliberately picked 30 days since I think that length is best so that he can truly experience a changed mindset. I also don’t expect the challenge to start immediately.
I can assure you that I am not alone in challenging Mr. Outhit. Interest in my post challenging him has been huge by the standards of a modest blog that focuses on Kitchener and Waterloo Region. I have been described as a prolific blogger so I believe it is significant that inn two days, it ranks in my top ten posts for the past 12 months–and is clearly the most read in the past three months. In addition to the comments on my post, local folks on Twitter have been very supportive of the challenge as evidenced use of the #Outhit hashtag.
I encourage people to use the comment section below to co-sign this letter.
I believe that the Record’s credibility on transportation issues is at stake if this challenge is declined. If that happens, you might consider stopping the sale of papers on buses and in favour of putting boxes along the expressway so that drivers can read it when they are stuck in traffic.
Please assign Mr. Outhit to accept this challenge. I look forward to your response. Feel free to use the comment section below.