You probably saw last week’s lead article in the Daily Republic about MV Transportation.
The company gave $10,000 election donations to several council members a few years ago. There was a distinct inference that there was a “quid pro quo” wherein the company was treated more gently when it came to safety violations after the money was turned over.
I was assured by City Councilwoman Catherine Moy that the donation did not lead to a more easygoing attitude toward MV Transportation’s possible violations. Having known Catherine for many years, I have no reason to doubt her explanation for the actions of the City Council. Since we can’t prove a negative, for now I’ll have to leave it at that.
Let me add that, although I haven’t talked to John Mraz about this issue, I strongly doubt that there should be any questions about his integrity, either. John is a retired police officer who takes political ethics very seriously.
The Daily Republic article and my conversation with Moy triggered my curiosity about MV Transportation. I hadn’t given the company much thought, but, for some reason, I assumed that they only operated in Solano County. I was grossly mistaken. Wikipedia’s entry refers to MV Transportation as “the largest private provider of paratransit services and the largest privately owned transportation contracting firm in the United States.”
The Wikipedia entry goes on to say that MV operates 7,000 vehicles and employs 16,000 people. MV was founded in 1975 and remained small for its first 20 years. Then it transformed its business and offers “cities, counties, transit authorities and private companies transportation in paratransit, fixed route, flex route, commuter service and Medicaid transportation management.”
There was another milestone that surprised me, although I was vaguely aware of it: “2004: MV debuted on Black Enterprise Magazine’s B.E. 100 list as the 16th largest black-owned company in the United States.”
I realize that this discussion of MV’s size and reach has no bearing on the possible – I think unlikely – influence buying of several of our own council members. That is not to say that unsavory allegations have never been leveled against Fairfield’s public officials. I won’t use their names because, for the most part, they weren’t found guilty in a court of law.
In addition, if we include Vacaville, our community has a blue-chip list of large employers: Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, InBev Anheuser-Busch, Jelly Belly, and the largest of all, Travis Air Force Base.
There are a few things I’d like to see, however. The first is an update of the freeway signs telling drivers that they are now entering Fairfield.
The signs indicate that our population is just more than 105,000, when in fact it’s closer to 109,000. I’m kidding about the importance of population signs, but I do recall that when my business partner opened a stock brokerage office here in 1979, then-City Manager B. Gale Wilson said Fairfield was nearing the significant population total of 50,000 residents. More importantly, Fairfield has never been known for its upscale restaurants. Those that have tried have eventually shut their doors.
In the article that mentioned council members Moy and Mraz, there is no hint whatsoever that they were preparing to act in a way detrimental to MV Transportation until they got the $10,000 donation. We would have to believe, based on the facts, that minds were changed when the money changed hands.
I think that is highly doubtful.
Bud Stevenson, a stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at Bsteven254@aol.com.