|The Lookout Letter to the editor|
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BBB Misrepresented Bus Stops
July 18, 2014 --In your 10 July story about the uproar concerning the new and supposedly “improved” lily pad-style bus benches, an official with the BBB states that “…BBB and the City underwent an extensive public engagement process [my emphasis-RR] during the design phase for the Bus Stop Improvement Project.”
Had the BBB been honest, transparent, and aboveboard from the beginning, it would have gotten instantaneous feedback from the riding public and this entire waste of tax-payer money could have been avoided.
Not only did the BBB attempt to hide the real nature of the “lily pad” benches from the public, it went out of its way to misrepresent them. On the BBB website, we see only a lovely art-deco drawing, in pleasing pastel shades of blue, and casual and presumably content figurines soaking up their newly artistic bus stop under giant massive umbrellas offering shade and shelter to the weary. Just look at all that shade!
This is nothing less than a disinformation campaign designed and executed by a government entity expressly for the purpose of misleading the public that it putatively serves.
To those of us who live in or frequent Santa Monica, the point of the lily-pad benches was crystal clear, to eliminate instances of the homeless sleeping on them and depriving riders of a seat. BBB officials have been quite candid about this: “The pod seating is part of the new bus stop design which required a small footprint…and even a certain degree of discomfort for long time guests.”
The BBB was chosen to be a steward of public monies in the amount of 7 million dollars. We now find ourselves in a situation in which the riding public is not suggesting, but rather demanding, the return of all the benches. This was a misuse of public funding on a massive scale, and someone should be held accountable.
The Santa Monica City Council needs to take the bull by the horn and order an investigation into the bus stop fiasco and especially into the proposed route changes. The city and state attorneys general should investigate just who agreed to what, and the nature of the relationship that obtained between BBB officials, on the one hand, and the manufacturers of the various elements that comprise the Bus Stop “Improvement” Project, on the other.
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