AARP features a story on Mayor TenHaken

I was actually surprised they were able to track him down for an interview, wait, the article came with a photo shoot, so of course he showed up;

After the summit, TenHaken created a Department of Innovation and Technology, hiring as its leader Jason Reisdorfer, who had previously worked in sales. Reisdorfer got to work on redeveloping the city’s transit system. Among the city workers he and TenHaken picked for the Core Team, only one had previous transit expertise. The diverse team included a firefighter, a police officer, a librarian and a health care worker.

“We didn’t want to have a bunch of people in the same room who said, ‘This is how we’ve always done it,’ “ Reisdorfer says.

So he headed this team up with a former tool salesman (who BTW just quit) that came up with a plan that has failed in other communities across the continent. Seems like a good thing for the AARP to write about.

TenHaken allowed the team freedom to work on its own. “When a mayor gets involved in any sort of meeting, his or her voice trumps any other discussion in the room,” he says. But his presence was felt. The team communicated using a messaging app, and TenHaken frequently chimed in with uplifting emojis.

That’s because one of the first things PTH did as a Mayor was give his COS executive authority so he could jet set all over the country and world. As of right now I guess he is in Haiti trying to set up more missionaries over there with a team of local bankers and businessmen. While I am all for charitable work, all the mayor has to do is drive about a mile east from his city hall office to Whittier neighborhood and see people right here in our community that need charity and help.

If the pilot works, part of the bus fleet would be replaced with vans and cars.

TenHaken embraced the idea, but also the possibility that it might not work. “We’re experimenting and we’re innovating on a very public stage,” he says. “The alternative is to do nothing at all.”

And it won’t work, or it will work but help very few people. There is an alternative, fix paratransit and the fixed route system first, get ridership up and make it more affordable, than screw around with taxi apps.



4 comments ↓

#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.18.20 at 12:27 pm

AARP sends out too much junk mail. Ten Haken sends out too many social media videos. They’re a perfect match…. Oh, I got to go, my bus is finally here…

#2 "Woodstock" on 01.19.20 at 7:55 pm

“You know when you’re in with the mayor, because he sends you emojis”….”It’s like when a teacher would put a sticker on your ‘A+’ paper”… “And that doesn’t happen to a ‘B’ student too often, just sayin “….

#3 D@ily Spin on 01.20.20 at 8:24 am

There’s a distinct difference between mass transit and private livery. Transit is routes. Door to door is a private taxi service. It wouldn’t surprise me if Uber, LYFT, and taxi companies formed a class and sued. A fortified law firm would make a national example of the city. Cost, lost profit, and (likely) punitive damages would be millions. Evidence brought to trial would include how the city infringes local commerce with TIF’s. The city wouldn’t and couldn’t build parking ramps for years to come.

#4 The Guy from Guernsey on 01.21.20 at 12:01 am

There was a time when a ‘business result’ was necessary prior to claiming success from innovation. Some modicum of performance was necessary to provide validation and substance for a feature article like this.
Before being recognized as an innovator, one needed to put in place a process guided by your plan, then monitor and report results over an extended period of time.
It seems this generation of ‘leaders’ are content to communicate via the most-recent addition to the world of messaging apps, gather the sticky notes from the activity board, write an app and proceed directly to the glad-handing and back-slapinping actions of self-congratulations.
Has the On-Demand transit model even progressed to pilot, trial run status yet?
Celebrating success in transit innovation seems entirely premature.

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