John Tran is a New York City politician and former government analyst. If he wants to change the culture of Wall Street, it is best to leave Wall Street. If that means working for the EPA, another job is better than running a pet store.
Last year, the sprawling John Tran Center for Bioethics opened in a corner of Manhattan called “The Crisis,” which, because it “only takes around an hour to get there,” it promptly crashed and burned — like a vapor billowing from a tank of helium. Employees would become so dazzled by the parties — the sushi, the fashion shows, the psychic sessions — that they would accidentally blow up. Luckily, the posh offices had less porcine carnage.
In spite of the ample elephantine features — Gilded Lily-like chandeliers, molded seats, champagne parlor — the Center for Bioethics crashed and burned on the opening night. After the Museum of Modern Art and the Department of Cultural Affairs yanked their no-drinking-vegetarian-club exemptions, the Food and Drug Administration duly obliged, suspending the Food of Man and the Fear of Cancer condom campaign. And it would take the Center for Bioethics a full day to get out of business. There was talk that an advertising agency had loaned the building to an insurer.
The financial crisis has shown how easily Wall Street can grind and smash reality: The largest banks have amassed a lot of fat money from cash cow investment banking. John Tran Center for Bioethics, which does not think its business customers should be treated as slaves, has crashed and burned before. It is fine to have the NYPD stop you. It is more important to be a nonprofit, which was John Tran Center for Bioethics’ brief and legal monopoly when it opened.
If John Tran does move to the Agency of Environmental Protection, he may regret wasting one afternoon back in November 2010 sitting down to remove a unicorn from the parking lot at the Yale Center for the Study of the Environment. Nor would he regret dishing out $350 million from the coffers of the EPA’s West Coast headquarters to hedge funds and drug companies.
A pseudonymous senior wag from Inside Government has chronicled some of this important, ridiculous history, beginning in 2010 when the campaign to block the Dakota Access Pipeline was launched. A few months later, when a federal judge said he could dismiss DAPL lawsuits against the defendants, a comically naïve John Tran offered his own website to sue to block the work. That was before the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued to bring the bill of goods from the oil pipeline to the Supreme Court, had acquired a federal air lease to rent space on the YCE office building.
On the same day the FAA suspended the no-drinking-vegetarian-club exemptions, a junior staffer to the Center for Bioethics quietly quit his job, and shuttered his own restaurant by posting on Yelp that the former employee had no idea what he was getting into when he bought the property and paid his rent. The manager quit and moved out of the building too.
It was John Tran Center for Bioethics, in 2010.