Dear BART: I Will Do Linton Johnson's Job Twice as Good for Half The Price
Dear BART Board Members:
It's been tough lately, hasn't it? I mean what with shooting and protesters and the like? And the whole "not having an adult in charge because you fired the Big Boss" thing isn't helping either. Tough times.
Here's one thing that is not helping your agency right now - your PR people. It seems like every day I'm reading of a new and improved way to drag a mass transit agency into the mud thanks to bad PR. The whole "Jack Bauer"-esque stuff with the cell repeaters just poured gas on a raging fire. Then to read this latest blundered "staging" of support just made me laugh. Not laughter because it was funny, but laughter because if one doesn't laugh, one needs a bourbon to deal with how foolish this all is(and I'm cutting back these days).
Now I'm not a genius from Smarton 5*, but I've been around the political block enough times to know how to do basic public relations. It's not Monday morning quarterbacking to know that a) turning off some cell repeaters wouldn't stop a protest anyway and b) if someone in upper management decided to do so, the first thing I'd do is STFU and keep quiet, since there's so many parts of the Muni/BART tunnel that have no cell service anyway (it being several stories underground covered by concrete, steel, and buildings), it's not like anyone would have known**. More to the point, that call should never be made by a PR person - that's simply not their job.
Oh, but it's the details too. Things like sending out an email to the entire Bay Area press, and not BCC'ing it so we all end up with a big email list in our inbox. Things like, oh, I don't know, not escalating things with these protester types. Here's a hint - you can never go wrong with being honest with the press and the public, and make your points in the court of public opinion. Most importantly, the spokesperson does not run the agency, and is not the star - the agency is, and that agency is owned by the public.
Again, I'm not saying I wouldn't make mistakes. But I sure as heck would know when to stop, take a breath, and assess if what I was doing was in the interest of the public or not, before storming around like a bull in a china shop. I also wouldn't let the foolish antics of ill-informed, poorly organized protesters drive my actions, either (because let's face it both sides at this point are both piles of #fail right now).
Let me know what you all think. I'm available starting October 1st. Oh, and as a bonus, if I do get the job (and get some decent health benefits for a change), I'd totally take all the transit bloggers on a ride on BART or something similarly fun, and I'd make sure MyBART gave out more prizes.
*I totally borrowed that joke from comedian Tom Kenny from a bit he did in 1992.
**Do not even try and change my mind on the cell phone repeater issue. I honestly don't give a fuck about the protesters since they can't muster up one bit of sympathy for a BART patron stabbed by a crazy schizo with a knife. Nor do I give a fuck about them since they so bravely busted up a privately owned flower stand. How "brave" of the trustafarian left in this city. Not.