What Questions Would You Ask Daily Transit User Reps. on Advisory Panel to Metro’s Measure R Oversight Committee?
My metaphor of choice to describe transportation funding and policy making is an onion, in which there are a succession of layers representing complexities and multifaceted cross-jurisdictional dimensions. And one cannot be complacent since there are always new aspects to explore and try to fathom.
For example, in a previous commentary I laid out the history of the Measure R Independent Taxpayers Oversight Committee, which per the ordinance (section 8) is composed of three retired federal judges where the Mayor of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Supervisors and the “other cities” of the county each choose one of the three. The Committee is tasked to appoint an advisory panel to assist it, made up of various folks representing various professions or areas of expertise.
My intrigue at all this was that the specified categories for members of the panel included “transit system user”. I was curious how Metro would recruit someone to fill this role. There was even a rumor at one point some folks had me in mind. My thought process was maybe Metro would do outreach via The Source and/or the Metro Monthly take one brochure to recruit interested riders to apply.
What Metro did instead was contact the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and USC School of Policy, Planning and Development and asked if they could provide candidates to fill the transit user slots. The February staff report to the Committee lists Dr. Allison Yoh, Associate Director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, and Gary Painter, Director of the Graduate Program in Public Policy and Management for the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, as the candidates advanced by their respective academic units. I understand the Committee has accepted as suitable to sit on the Advisory Panel all the candidates nominated by the various entities Metro contacted. And I should hasten to add that besides their impressive academic credentials Yoh and Painter are daily transit users.
I am unaware of any documentation laying out Metro’s rational for deciding to seek academics to fill the role of transit users, and I won’t conjecture in the absence of information. Yoh may be familiar to some as from 2001 to 2003 she served a stint on the Metro Board. Her appointment to it by James Hahn was fulfilling a campaign promise he had made to place a transit user on the Metro Board if he was elected.
Yoh and Painter have kindly consented to respond to some questions I have about their new roles. But I first wanted to give the readers of this blog a chance to make suggestions for what those questions should include. If you have some please post them as comments. After a few days I’ll review the suggested questions and at my discretion include some of them among those I use to query Yoh and Painter.
So what is the question you want answered?