Yesterday, Metro issued a press release trying to bolster Catoe's charge.
The Post's headline and lede would lead one to believe Moneme was "fired" because he "oversaw safety when the transit agency banned safety monitors from live tracks in the spring."
Catoe has a point about the headline and lede, but Metro's high-priced communications consultants should realize the article doesn't represent the first time in journalism history that a headline and/or lede was sexed up for effect.
We read the whole article and came away with the sense that the job cut was for economic reasons--a whopping $500,000 on a $175 million budget gap, mind you, but mostly a penny pinching move nonetheless.
So, Metro scores a point point here, but the key is hardly anyone is listening to Metro. According to our poll, only 13 percent of you said you trust what Metro says. That's horrible even if you double it; it's still pretty bad if you triple it. It's not even very good if you quadruple it. Metro is losing the important battle of public opinion--in a big way, and letters to the Washington Post aren't going to turn things around.
In the current climate, even if Metro became a model of safe operation tomorrow, it would have a hard, perhaps impossible, time getting people to believe it.
What could Metro do to improve it's "rap gap" in your mind?
One idea for starters: Perhaps Catoe should let us all know that he's profoundly disappointed in how Metro has performed lately. We're not holding our breath.
###With regard to the Tri-State Oversight Committee's ability to inspect the tracks or not, that has always seemed like a red herring to us. It does look as if Metro wasn't enthusiastic about letting the TOC conduct inspections at the very least, but even if the TOC had unfettered access, we're not sure they have the power to make Metro any safer. A more robust agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, can only make recommendations, which Metro can, and does, ignore.
We suppose allowing TOC officials on the tracks is a start, but it's a very tentative one, and much more strenuous oversight of Metro's practices is needed. Not holding our breath on this count either.