How Self-Centered Can You Get?

I have come to discover that there are some people who are so focused on their own lives that they are out of touch with the so-called "big picture".

One such individual is Bruce Roberts, who wrote a letter to the Daily News which was published on June 17. In it, he attacked MTA for taking advantage of Warner Center's annual RideFest to display the new articulated bus, to be used on the Orange Line, and the recently-completed Warner Center Transit Center. Roberts said -- and I quote -- "How typical of the MTA. It shows just how out of touch its officials are with the very people who are going to use this new bus line."

He went on to berate MTA for the timing of RideFest (it was held at lunch hour on a Thursday), pointing out that -- again, I quote -- "Most of the working-class citizens in the Valley cannot take time off work to go see a new bus!" and then expressed his hope that Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa would take steps to correct what Roberts sees as cluelessness on the part of MTA officials for not selecting a weekend for RideFest.

Well, for once I didn't write a rebuttal letter. This isn't the first time Mr. Roberts, who apparently sees himself as the self-righteous voice of the working class, has written to the Daily News without getting his facts straight first. Look at the quote I included in my April 25, 2003 rebuttal to his letter condemning the Metro San Fernando Valley governance council for not being bus passengers. He was wrong on his presumption then, and he was wrong this time as well.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that his statements could not go unanswered.

It is not the "poor working-class citizen" like Roberts that MTA needed to show off the bus to. As he already indicated, the Metro Orange Line will attract those who are already willing to use public transit. The people MTA needs to get out of their cars and onto the Orange Line are the people who work at Warner Center, and there is a far better chance of reaching them at lunchtime on a weekday than on a weekend.

He also, if he had bothered to check, would have discovered that RideFest was scheduled not by MTA, but by Warner Center's Transportation Management Organization. His uninformed pointing of the finger of blame at MTA officials -- as if they had control of the scheduling -- is unwarranted.

Is it fair for Roberts to attack MTA for trying to attract potential passengers who aren't already motivated to ride the Orange Line? I think not, but as long as he can't see beyond his own limited range of vision, I'm sure his attacks will continue.

Some people just don't get it.

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