The Tacoma News Tribune Editorial Board, August 27, suggests Sound Transit representatives – who met with the Lakewood City Council this week – want to “restore public confidence” in Amtrak before 79-mph trains are run (again) “through the heart” of Lakewood.
“Restore public confidence.”
“If they get their act together, they just might improve public peace of mind.”
‘They’ refers to the “four-layered bureaucracy”, as Lakewood City Councilman John Simpson described those who are “working to fix a broken safety culture.”
Safety. They’re working on it.
Working on the railroad.
“Taking a cautious approach”, you know, for negotiating curves and such.
This multi-tiered, multi-billion funded conglomerate, responsible to get rail passengers from A to B, has a safety culture?
One with “a safety chief”, as in responsible to ensure through due diligence the safety of those traveling those rails?
A “safety chief” who was fired last year and is yet to be replaced?
If there’s any good news from recent discussions as to when (unfortunately not ‘if’) Amtrak returns to the track through the heart of towns bordering I-5, it’s that the ‘when’ is unknown.
For the time being.
“There’s no timeline for putting trains back on the Point Defiance Bypass, Sound Transit representatives told Lakewood city officials this week.”
And that is because?
“A major safety reckoning is happening now.”
You know, safety and all that.
Meanwhile, “Mistrust and bad memories are still raw among some residents and local leaders from Dec. 18, 2017, the morning of Amtrak’s ill-fated maiden run on the Point Defiance Bypass,” writes the TNT.
Well, yes, you might say that.
Speaking for myself, and perhaps for the neighborhood I represent – one of the communities to be railed “through the heart”- here’s what I want to know.
I want to know whether apple juice is in fact made from apples.
Which is to suggest, by analogy, if railways are synonymous – assumed to be – with safety?
Selling fake apple juice to babies seemed a harmless way to make ends meet. After all, Beech-Nut executives rationalized, there was a budget to meet. And besides, said a company executive, “So suppose the stuff was all water and flavor and sugar? Why get so upset about it? Who were we hurting?”
The affliction – aka affluence – that ailed Beech-Nut, is the same that ails Amtrak, as both cut corners to meet their budget, the former – the watered-down version – described in their book “The Ethics Gap” by Joseph W. Cotchett with Stephen P. Pizzo.
It is subtitled “Greed and the Casino Society, The Erosion of Ethics in Our Professions, Business and Government.”
The book is dedicated to the small fish in the shark-infested pool who happen to believe the richest and most powerful giants too often “have lost their compass and become servants of greed.”
In the Beech-Nut case it took “four years and millions of gallons of juice” before the charade became clear – the company’s “‘100% Pure Apple Juice’ was a 100% fake.”
With Sound Transit, Amtrak, et al, it took one day.
The first train out of the station through the heart of the community never reached its destination.
Had that chance.
Once confidence has seriously, significantly been damaged, the erosion of ethics revealed through a cataclysmic event as a first-day derailment, you don’t get it back.