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Thanks, Brian

One of the sage conclusions of those who study warfare is that of the distancing of the airplane pilot from the battlefield. The reality of destruction on the ground is never experienced - though of course John McCain might differ with that.

A similar conclusion can be said about those who crunch numbers for a living - there can be a distancing from the reality of peoples lives. Demographers are, as a group, I think best at avoiding this. Economists deal with the reality of it all, but it is the 'dismal' science. Sociologists get caught up in the whole welfare mind set. Transportation engineers can be old boys, but I do think that is changing rapidly.

Accountants, well, accountants can be among the worst. They sit in their ivory corporate towers crafting up finance schemes that make no sense save to the bankers and those titans of the modern global world, the successful corporate bureaucrat.

As such the continued leadership of long time State Auditor Brian Sonntag about the performance of our local transportation planning efforts stands as a shining example of responsible leadership. Traffic congestion is a real impact upon people's lives - it steals time from their families and adds to environmental pollution - whatever the actual impact of that is. Traffic is also a question of public safety, and there is much we can do with newer technology to reduce all these impacts through congestion management.

In his accounting audit on the subject Sonntag captures this reality and advances himself as the single best leader on the subject in the entire State. I think it might have something to do with being a numerically literate Democrat - something some Republicans hate - not to mention quite a number of the 'politically correct' left.

I don't know if the rest of the State can follow his well positioned and focused leadership, but I sure hope we do in Pierce County, where he got his start as the Pierce County Auditor (also responsible for elections).

Sonntag's op-ed on the subject, published in the TNT, is here. (Current policy of the Tribune is to charge for archives after a few weeks) The actual audit report is here.


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