The Washington Times, the DC area's conservative alternative to the Washington Post, has been doing some tough investigative work on the subject of the Washington Metropolitan area's subway system, known by residents as the "Metro." And while such an item would usually only warrant local interest, the level of incompetence involved stands as a parable about both public sector unionism and how racially-motivated hiring can spin wildly out of control.
Let's start with some of the most interesting charges - according to the Times, a former PCP dealer has acquired a management level position in the Metro, while people with college and even graduate degrees are passed over for positions in the Metro leadership. And not only that, but people who are qualified and/or concerned with efficiency are directly and purposefully weeded out under the bizarre mantle of "anti-elitism." Moreover, women, especially white or Hispanic women are targets of harassment, sometimes to the point of their safety being threatened. One woman reported being deliberately shocked with electricity by fellow track engineers, with no consequences being imposed.
Read some of the details below:
Ninety-seven percent of the bus and train operators at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are black, with only six white women out of more than 3,000 drivers, according to Metro documents — a lack of diversity at one of the region’s largest employers that has led to an acknowledgment of failure in affirmative-action documents and spawned a series of lawsuits.[...]
White and Hispanic employees who allege discrimination have found a deaf ear at Metro’s civil rights office, whose 17 employees are black. Until at least 1999, that office tracked complaints via a handwritten ledger on a series of taped-together sheets of paper, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. The system “made determining statistics impossible,” said a civil rights employee from the time.[...]
For example, Ms. Townsend said, by 2004, many trains were operating without radios in defiance of federal rules. Other drivers confirmed that was common knowledge. So she authored a study and included a recommendation that Metro start substituting cellphones.
“I was read the riot act: ‘You had no right to compile these statistics,’ even though it was my job. They didn’t want people showing problems,” she said.
There are also stories of how unions can vote to veto punishment for their members, while imposing it on others for no reason other than personal enmity (usually motivated by race). People working the night shift also frequently shut themselves into offices and fall asleep.
In other words, in one of the most supposedly progressive, pro-government cities in the United States, one of the most widely used and arguably essential public utilities operates on the basis of racial favoritism and willful support for incompetence, because there are are no plausible consequences of failure. A parable about socialism? Weigh in below.