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And we say goodbye to Richard White, it seems…

January 11, 2006, 11:39 PM

According to this January 11, 2006 press release from Metro and this January 12, 2006 Washington Post article, it seems that Richard White (Metro’s General Manager), and Metro will be parting ways.

But don’t expect to see Richard White sitting next to the street escalators outside Metro Center chasing away the pigeons. According to the Washington Post:

Because three years remain on White’s contract, he will receive a severance package that includes a cash payment of $238,000, continued health insurance and an annual pension of $116,000 for the rest of his life. Upon his death, his spouse will receive $58,000 annually until she dies. He also receives a SmarTrip card good for free travel on Metro for life.

They also said that White has told his staff that he is considering job offers in the private sector. So it seems he will be landing on his feet.

Replacing him as General Manager is Dan Tangherlini, who is director of the DC Department of Transportation. He also served as an alternate on the WMATA board.

So there you go. I was a bit surprised to hear that they got rid of him, though I read in a Washington Post article on December 9 that the board was considering ditching Richard White for new talent. So I was indeed a bit surprised to actually see it happen, though I kind of saw it coming, and was waiting for that shoe to drop.

Otherwise, though, I still don’t understand why the Washington Post continues to pay so much attention to Jack Corbett, founder of Metroriders.org. It certainly shows the power of talking big. They started a Web site, and host a discussion forum. And that’s about as far as it goes. I used to be a regular participant on Metroriders, but got a bit tired of it, because there was so much whining on that board, and it started to grate my nerves.

Back in September, my summary for an edit I did on the Washington Metro article on Wikipedia put it very nicely: “Defining single-tracking, and removing some “opinion” words, and cleanup. And as for Metroriders… don’t kid yourself (seriously).” And with that I removed the following text: “and dialogue with the newly formed MetroRiders advocacy group.”

I’m sorry, but I view Metroriders as being mostly a bunch of whinybutts who would rather just complain than do something about it. I have a great amount of respect for a few of the people on that board (and they know who they are), but the vast majority of them are just a bunch of whiners.

Now what I’m curious about is whether or not Dan Tangherlini will continue the Lunchtalk chats that Richard White had been doing for a little over a year now. I’ve actually found those to be somewhat helpful, as they have answered a number of my questions, and also provide a great insight into the workings of WMATA. Of course, Richard White tended to beat around the bush on a number of questions. Case in point: this post of mine from October 7. I asked the question straight up: Why did Metro not adjust its schedule for track work when it knew well in advance of this very large protest in the works? As you probably know, I was out in all of that on that particular day. The Blue and Yellow Lines were a complete mess due to single-tracking from Pentagon City all the way down to Huntington and Van Dorn Street. Some people that day wondered if the mess on the Metro was politically motivated. I defended Metro on that one on DC Indymedia later, and Mike Flugennock of sinkers.org agreed with me – this was just typical Metro. So that’s why I put it to Richard White, who proceeded to not answer the specifics of my question. I understand that track maintenance has to happen, and that events such as September 24’s protest are beyond Metro’s control, but that day was ridiculous on the Metro.

Stepping off the soapbox for tonight now…

Web site: Where to go with this, since I was kind of all over the board here... but I think this is appropriate enough.

Song: Don't have one today. Too many other thoughts going on to give any mental bandwidth to a song right now.

Quote: No more Richard White. Hmmm...

Categories: WMATA