For $550/hour Peter Rogoff is getting private lessons in leadership and listening skills as reported by Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times. When you pay someone $328,545 to lead an organization that spends $90,000,000,000 to build a transit system, I would expect leadership skills and listening skills to be primary prerequisites for the job. I’m not talking about learning cultural differences between east coast and west coast, like his use of east coast profanity. I’m talking about how to lead and how to work with people. It is ironic that Toastmasters just formed a new club at Sound Transit. Perhaps Mr. Rogoff would do well to join the club for $90/year and learn from his employees how to be a better leader?
The Seattle Times article also mentions Sound Transit’s claim of an increase in train ridership. It’s hollow propaganda. Much of that increase is just people who were forced to shift from buses when several heavily-used bus routes were eliminated at the same time they opened the train line. This is not a net increase in transit ridership. Also, the claim that Sound Transit had a 6% increase in ridership is also misleading. The reality is the population growth in the region was proportionally many times greater than the increase in transit ridership. That transit growth is even less significant when you consider that the total transit ridership is less than 5% of the trips made. That actually translates into an overall decline in transit ridership as a percentage of the population in the region. Confused? Yeah, that’s the whole idea. This is one of the techniques used to obfuscate the truth as described in this book “How to Lie With Statistics” Chapter 4. Much Ado About Practically Nothing. And this “selective misrepresentation” comes all too easy for this organization led by Peter Rogoff.
The Seattle Times Traffic Lab could do us all a great service by breaking this data down into actual numbers to clarify the truth behind Sound Transit’s misleading percentages.
Whether it is through a Toastmasters club for $90/year or with a private coach for $35,000/year, it really won’t help Rogoff. You can teach someone leadership and interpersonal skills, but you can’t teach integrity.