Crosscut published a piece by transit advocate Richard Borkowski last evening. In an unusual turn for Crosscut, he makes entirely practical arguments why a directly elected board not only doesn’t solve any actual problem, but in fact can make things worse. Money paragraphs:
However, there are lots of problems with this proposed cure. The districts would be huge (about 235,000 citizens in each one). Some fear that the elected directors would become like the Port of Seattle, a rubber-stamp arm of business and labor that leaves the public in the dark and draws little media or voter attention. A recent audit by the state’s auditor provided evidence of this fear with the Port of Seattle. The devastating audit was made more difficult by port employees who were uncooperative with the state auditor. The problems raised in the audit have led to an investigation by the FBI.
Sound Transit, on the other hand, has been audited on a regular basis over the 15 years of its existence. Each time, the results were a clean audit. Such an audit is a strong accountability measure that provides much clearer oversight than an election every six years, and it certainly doesn’t require a directly elected board of directors to achieve this accountability.