Me and My Beliefs

I have degrees in systems analysis & engineering; transportation engineering; and city and regional planning.  I’ve been working in transportation planning in the Washington region since 2006, first at the the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and for the past 10 years in the Office of Planning at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro).  

Beliefs

Environmentalism is my core belief:  without a healthy planet, nothing else matters. We must consider and further sustainability in every deliberation.   

I’ve been convinced over the past decade or two that capitalism and profit create a system of winners and losers.  Over the long run, the pool of winners grows smaller as more and more people get left behind.  This is not a sustainable solution.  We need to build systems and institutions where everyone wins. I believe it’s possible.  

I believe everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have.  If you think someone can do better, question their tools… do they have the same toolset you have?   Perhaps your perspective is influenced by your background, education, upbringing, financial status.   Imagine what realities of life must be true for their “best” to be not good at all by your standards.  Then maybe you’ll start to see that those realities are true.  You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have boots.   Don’t get me wrong, there are some bad people out there.  But I believe most people “bad” people are simply victims, they are hurt people continuing the cycle of abuse because they don’t have the tools to do anything else.  

I believe that people are inherently lazy efficiency seeking. Everyone will do the thing that’s best and easiest for them.  If the right thing to do isn’t the easiest thing, guess what most people will choose?  It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s how we’re wired.  To ensure success in public policy, we need to make the right thing to do the easiest.  To flip it around, if someone screws up, first blame the infrastructure.  Speeding and speed cameras come to mind.  Residents and pedestrians hate cars speeding through their neighborhoods, and drivers hate speed cameras.    What’s the solution that is best for everyone?  How about making some changes to the street to make it easier to go the speed limit.  Fewer speed-camera tickets, fewer speeders.  

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