|MARTA: Yes, it really is moving blacks around Atlanta|
Or completely run as an employment agency for blacks.
The way MARTA(the light rail system) in Atlanta is run crystallizes the problem of how government - be it local, state, or federal - is run for the betterment of a particular racial group.
Back in 1998, the Christian Science-Monitor reported that Mayor Bill Campbell appointed Laura Lawson, a resident of Atlanta's 99 percent black public housing, as MARTA board chairwoman
[Atlanta's New Transit Chief
African-American woman from the projects takes job in stride, January 27, 1998]:
The new leader of Atlanta's mass transit board will never need to interview riders to find out how well the subway and bus system serves them. She is one of them, depending daily on rail and wheel to take her to her job, church, and children's schools. It's a first for Atlanta - having a transit chief who doesn't even own a car - and unusual even in cities where public transportation is more a part of life than it is here.
But while the move makes sense, the promotion of Laura Lawson from Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority board member to MARTA board chairwoman has stirred quite a storm. At its eye are questions of whether common man or powerbroker should lead this organization, and where the organization should be led: to serve affluent suburban commuters or the car-less?
Critics have focused on her years in public housing and wondered if she will be beholden to players such as Mr. Beasley and Mayor Campbell who have helped her achieve what she has. "We know that she describes herself as a paid community organizer of Herndon Homes," writes Atlanta commentator Dick Williams. "Paid by whom? Is she a political operative? A conduit for street money?"
As MARTA chairwoman, she'll be paid $75 per meeting, the same rate as other board members. The board meets once a month. Lawson stresses that her role as chairwoman of the MARTA board is to solicit input from the 16 other members and work with them to reach a decision agreeable to all - not to push her own agenda. She talks often of teamwork.
"First and foremost I want each and every board member to know that I respect their opinion on every issue," she says. "I wouldn't want any member to feel like their input is not important."
Except for the fact that she lives in public housing, Lawson's path to public service mirrors that of many women leaders today. She first became active in her four children's parent-teacher associations and went on to lead the equivalent of a neighborhood association. She parlayed that into her multiple roles on appointed city boards and now says a run for city council may be in her future.A perfect representative for the city of Atlanta and a wonderful figurehead for MARTA indeed. This of racial cronyism, putting residents of public housing in charge of a board controlling a quarter of a billion dollars a year, can only be highlighted through employment numbers of the 4,000+ person organization:
Now, currently MARTA serves only DeKalb and Fulton County. (DeKalb is roughly 55 percent black and 35 percent white; Fulton is roughly 49 percent white and 47 percent black.) But a look at the 2011–2012 employment data show that Sen. Fort and Mr. Evans’ fears of discrimination are entirely unfounded: MARTA is currently plagued by a gross lack of diversity, with 83 percent of the 4,527 employees being black.
Of 50 employed dispatchers, only one is not black; 96 percent of the 1,227 operators are black; 100 percent of the recruiters are black; 85 percent of the 42 MARTA representatives are black; 94 percent of 295 people employed in services are black; 95 percent of the station agents are black; 84 percent of the superintendents are black; 88 percent of the 171 supervisors are black; and 82 percent of the transit police are black.Why is all the racial data of the employees of MARTA important? Eighty-three percent of the employees of MARTA being black represents a racial stranglehold on good paying jobs within a system that is hemorrhaging money. Worse, it's a system that has always been a black jobs program and a system designed for, ahem, Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta. [MARTA calls on marketers for image aid/Can soft drinks fill empty seats?, Atlanta Journal Constitution by John McCosh, 2-12-2001]
Public transportation can work: however, when it's run as a jobs program for otherwise unemployable-in-the-private-sector black people, and as a dumping ground for social engineering by appointing a black woman living in public housing as the board chairwoman... public transportation will be ineffective and costly.
Just how costly is MARTA (whose ridership is 78 percent black) being a dumping-ground for otherwise unemployable black people? [Audit: MARTA spends $50M too much, should privatize some functions, AJC, 9-24-2012]
MARTA is spending $50 million above the national average for employee benefits, but if it revamped its health care, retirement and worker compensation plans, it could erase a projected $33 million operating deficit, an audit released Monday reveals.
The transit authority will have to cut services even more in a few years if it doesn’t control runaway costs, according to the KPMG audit, commissioned by the authority’s board of directors to give it a blueprint for stabilizing the troubled finances and to expand its services.
The audit said that, in addition to the labor and retirement savings, the authority could save between $60 million and $142 million over five years by outsourcing many functions. According to the audit, the five-years savings if cleaning services were privatized would be $29 million to $49.5 million.
Moreover, the report said, the high rate of employee absenteeism cost MARTA about $11 million a year, while worker compensation claims were costing $5.5 million more than the national average.
The report will undoubtedly provide ammunition to MARTA’s critics in the legislature, who have long contended that the authority’s finances were out of control. State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, who chairs the legislative committee that monitors the quasi independent MARTA, has advocated privatization of some areas, such as payroll, human resources and cleaning.
“The amount of the savings is pretty staggering,” he said Monday. “I think it is pretty clear that there are things to be done.”The audit of black-run (but largely funded through white tax-dollars) MARTA also showed this:
Whoever is chosen for the Atlanta job will be heading an agency with projected financial shortfalls of $114 million by fiscal 2016 and of $248 million by 2021, according to the audit. That could meanpotentially large service cuts. The audit also found that the authority needs another $6 billion to $7 billion for capital improvements by 2021.
“For long-term fiscal sustainability, MARTA must alter its revenue or funding sources or decrease its cost structure by a minimum of approximately $25 million annually,” the audit said.
Black-Run America is unsustainable.
But don't think this won't stop those black people in charge of protecting primarily black MARTA employees [Union leaders say MARTA audit unfairly targets workers, AJC, 10-16-2012]:
MARTA union leaders don’t see the recent management audit of the financially troubled transit agency as a blueprint for survival. They see is as an assault on labor.
“It is a clear attack on labor, and ultimately it is an attack on the community,” said Curtis Howard, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union chapter at MARTA. “We’ve been giving concessions (for years) to keep our jobs. We don’t have any more to give. … We’re down to the bone.”
Howard said the audit — which says the transit agency is spending $50 million above the national average for employee benefits — glosses over realities and management shortcomings and makes it appear that employee benefits and loafing workers are pushing the transit agency toward insolvency. Bad management is the root of the problem, he said.
“This issue is critically important to the future of MARTA, our customers and our employees,” MARTA spokesman Lyle V. Harris said. “But any attempt to draw conclusions about how we intend to proceed, or to predict outcomes, is extremely premature at this point. ”
KPMG auditors delivered a draft of their in-depth analysis of the transit agency — which has a $33 million operating deficit — last month to MARTA officials. The auditors zeroed in on key areas to focus on to reshape MARTA finances and made the following recommendations:Chronic absenteeism? MARTA's personnel is 83 percent black. Who's to blame here? The evil auditors who dared point out the inefficiencies in the almost entirely black workforce of MARTA?
But here's the key quote:
Moreover, he said, assaults on bus drivers prompt absenteeism — and the union has been pushing to make buses more secure. Last November, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution documented a rise in physical assaults on drivers over the first quarter of the fiscal year — 15 assaults and seven robberies.
“If I get assaulted, I’m not coming to work tomorrow,” Howard said, adding that assaults lead to stress. “That is absenteeism.”
MARTA is currently spending $17 million to install video cameras on buses and trains — partly funded with a $9 million federal grant — that transit officials say will help police investigate crime and the agency resolve customer complaints.MARTA ridership is... what again? Oh, 78 percent black. And assaults are up on MARTA employees (83 percent black). Correlation?
Perhaps you now know why white people stay away from MARTA, and the organization with huge financial shortfalls is trying to remake its image MARTA calls on marketers for image aid/Can soft drinks fill empty seats?, Atlanta Journal Constitution by John McCosh, 2-12-2001]:
MARTA's No. 1 image problem is a perception that the system is unsafe, but that could be fixed, in part, with a few well-placed Coca-Cola vending machines. So says a marketing proposal to renovate MARTA's image as the transit agency embarks on a $700,000 program this month to win more riders and expand its reach. People feel safe and comforted when they're near the familiar red-and-white Coke logo, says the Atlanta marketing firm Turner Fernandez Turner.
Acknowledging "this is going to sound crazy," the firm suggests that putting Coke vending machines on MARTA trains would conjure up "all sorts of positive images of childhood, security, stability and Americana."
In many ways, MARTA's image problems are typical of systems throughout the country.
"People in the suburbs think MARTA is a black, transit-dependent system," said the agency's chairman, Bill Moseley. "Some people are saying they don't like the MARTA name."
For three decades the MARTA acronym has been the subject of a racially charged joke: "You know what MARTA really stands for, don't you? Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta."Some things never change.
MARTA's No. 1 image problem - like public transportation across the nation - is because it's a black-run system, whose primarily black ridership makes it unsafe for sorely needed higher white ridership levels.
There, in a nutshell, is the reason America is failing. Just one public transportation system serves as a powerful reminder of the impediment to growth and stability that the endless promotion of 13 percent of the United States population represents.