The Bend Area Transit is such an easy target, that I've more or less laid off. I'm still surprised that no one was held accountable for the mess, but I also hesitate to have anyone lose their job.
One comment by Transit Manager, Heather Ornelas, is hard to ignore. After making the case the smaller type buses do the job adequately, the Bulletin then says,
"Transit Manager Heather Ornelas asserted the symbolic importance of having larger transit buses on the road to establish the system's presence in the city."
She then subverts her own argument, according to the Bulletin, "But ultimately, having a more reliable system in place may be more important for riders than what the buses look like."
Reliable more important than looks?
So we spent hundreds of thousands of dollar in tax money, federal and local, for "symbolic importance?"
Later on, she is quoted as saying, arguing in reverse that BAT should retire the 'larger transit buses' that keep breaking down.
"We just can't rely on these buses and when they break down they create a huge operational issue and the problem is very visable (sic)"
Apparently, symbolism works both ways.
But if you want to know what the frikken core problem of the whole fiasco is, it's the concern over 'looks.'
It looks bad that we don't have a transit system, so put one in place by all means. No matter what. No matter that we might save money by waiting. Never mind the due diligence. It's embarrassing that Bend is the biggest city west of the Mississippi without mass transit system (as I heard asserted for years.) We're a big city, by god.
But they've got me thinking. I've decided that it is symbolically important that my store have a solid gold sign. We want downtown to look prosperous, don't we? I think the city ought to be more than willing to grant me the money to have the solid gold sign, because it's important that downtown make a statement.
You guys don't mind, do you? Sure a nice wooden sign says the same thing. Wood just doesn't make the proper symbolic statement, you know?
1 hour ago