by Dan Gibson
Josh Brodesky is clearly a sharp guy and a solid writer, but there are occasions when it's difficult to understand what we're exactly supposed to be so upset about. Some of his columns are clearly softballs, like Sunday's exegesis of a poll posted on pseudo-news outlet the Huffington Post, not worth giving too much thought, and I get those...I post pictures of monkeys on a semi-regular basis. However, today's attack on the Regional Transportation Authority and former Oro Valley mayor Paul Loomis starts off really intense and sticks to that bubbling rage, even when it's not clear what exactly is the moral crime being perpetrated here.
Paul Loomis, you just got Brodeskyed!
I can't pretend to understand the deep history of the RTA or Loomis' time on the board, but for me, it doesn't seem that strange that someone with experience in regional transit might be qualified to continue doing regional transit work even if he lost an election. But, hey, what would the Executive Director of the RTA and their lawyer know? Josh Brodesky's on the case, and he's going to get his little remarks in, even if that means bumping detail or clarity.
"So we have a six-figure RTA consultant who can't actually speak to the RTA board for a year. This is so Tucson."
"Maybe Paul Loomis is worth every penny, but Hayes never showed the public that. Instead it's just another reminder that in this town it's really not what you know, but who you know that makes a difference."
BOOM GOES THE REPORTING DYNAMITE!
I'm going to throw this out there...Brodesky didn't prove what Loomis does or doesn't know, so maybe there's a space for someone being qualified because of who they know and what they know.
It's not like the contract was given to Gary Hayes' daughter's out-of-work fiancee with no experience in government at all (note: I don't actually know if Hayes has a daughter, much less if she has an unemployed love interest). Loomis spent quite a bit of time on the board. Hayes seems to think he has something to contribute that's worth paying for and in general, RTA has actually worked, maybe Hayes is making a good decision. I haven't really been convinced otherwise by today's paper, at very least.
Now, if there's really a larger issue with Hayes giving out small no-bid contracts as kickbacks and patronage (as Brodesky seems to imply), then investigate that. Figure out where the (by my quick math) less than one percent of the budget that's doled out without bids is going. Is the firm headed by Hayes' "daughter-in-law's brother" qualified to receive $89,000 in contracts? I don't know, and it doesn't seem Brodesky does either, but it's far easier to cast a line of suspicion than to really delve into the details. Between Brodesky and Rob O'Dell, the Star has seemingly taken a position that the RTA is a wildly corrupt organization, throwing money around like the Pima County version of Tammany Hall. Maybe that's so, but I'd rather see proof of it than an occasional blast of seemingly manufactured snide outrage. For a guy who bashed blogs for not trying to see both sides, the inductive reasoning that goes into giving someone the Brodesky treatment doesn't feel that much like journalism either.