Our "Political Insiders" mostly think the Salt Lake City Council made the right choice when they rejected Sen. Jim Dabakis' nomination to the Utah Transit Authority board.
Dabakis had made a promise to be a voice for reform in the embattled organization, but the city council members questioned his lack of experience with transportation issues when they nixed his nomination by a 6-1 vote.
The Republicans on our panel and our readers overwhelmingly agreed with the city council's action to vote down Dabakis' appointment, while the Democrats who responded to our survey were evenly divided.
Selected anonymous comments:
Sen. Dabakis would have been great. He's not a rubber stamp.
Jim would have simply been an obstructionist when there is so much that needs to be accomplished.
The only person who loves a TV camera more than Jason Chaffetz is Jim Dabakis.
Why does UTA need another blowhard?
Bad fit, too much bluster, not enough substance!
Say what you will about the good senator, and there is plenty to say about a loud-mouth, attention-seeking, narcissistic know-it-all -- but that's exactly what's needed to blow the lid off an organization that is more secret society, under-the-table-dealing, incestuous, unaccountable, wheelbarrows-full-of-money-out-the-backdoor personal slush fund for the powerful than transit agency.
I like Dabakis, but the City Council has the legal right to choose whom they will. On the other hand, Dabakis has a history of shaking things up, and UTA is in dire need of that!
If Senator Dabakis had any track record in passing complex legislation, collaborating with others, or caring more about good policy than being in front of a camera and behaving in a bombastic fashion, then he would have significantly more credibility.
The UTA Board, from its creation, has been more susceptible than most boards to group-think and slavish reliance on the opinion of executives and the outspoken members who follow them. Jim would have spoken up to prevent that tradition.
UTA needs to focus on building trust, and though Dabakis would certainly increase transparency, his firebrand style would likely prove to be unhelpful.
If we want reform at UTA, and polls say we do, then you appoint a reformer. The past SLC board member was there for 13 years and did not reform a thing. So much for a transit background.
Senator Jim needs to concentrate on passing policy/legislation. He has not passed a bill in two years.
Watching the Salt Lake City Council operate is like watching a Marx Brothers' movie...in double. I rarely agree with Dabakis, but I would have loved him on the UTA board to keep those folks honest and open. This was nothing more than the Council saying, "How can we screw the Mayor." What a bunch of idiots.
Dabakis would have pulled back the curtains on the UTA, but the City Council had the authority to deny his nomination. I wonder who lobbied the council members on UTA's behalf?
Dabakis has spent too much time acting like a clown, and no one wants to take him seriously, even the circus we call UTA.
Dabakis would use it for his self serving style. Is this his reward for endorsing Jackie? The council made the right choice.
Dabakis seemed like a fine choice to be on the board, and I find it odd that he was rejected.
When it comes to seeking publicity, Jim Dubakis is Jason Chaffetz squared. He would have used that pulpit to seek the limelight constantly and would have been a major distraction to UTA and its efforts.
UTA has made life miserable for commuters and spent taxpayer money with wild abandon. Something needs to be done.
Sen. Dabakis has no business on the UTA board. He has one session on the transportation committee, and that's it. Outside of his driver's license that's his full transportation experience. He should focus on passing bills that help the people in his district. None of the bills he sponsored last session had any type of productive movement.
Jim's outrage on many issues is not matched by the hard work it takes to make a change. Lots of talk, very little action.
Jim is a very bright and talented guy, but I'm not sure what he brings to the table for UTA. He prosperity to grandstand and seek the spotlight are probably not the traits the organization needs at the moment. There will be future roles for Jim that are better suited to his style.
There is no better skewer of legislative hypocrisy and double-speak than Sen. Dabakis, but he is not as effective at building bridges and shaping better policies that SLC will need on a smaller, more responsible board of directors.
UTA does not need more people on its board whose first goal is to attract headlines.
I love Jim, but even he isn't heartbroken about this appointment.
He is not qualified in any way. Also, his legislative record is clear that he is an obstructionist. We need qualified candidates who are willing to look for actual solutions rather than simply promoting their political agenda. Great decision!
It seems UTA needs a strong, loud voice to help bring an open book to UTA. I don't agree with Dabakis but what you see is what you get, and he is not afraid to call out anyone.
Dabakis is a worthless buffoon who has no qualification whatsoever to be in any position of responsibility.
Jim is an intelligent watchdog, but his flamboyant, media seeking style diminishes his credibility. Disruption for disruption's sake?