I think you're missing the point I made. I don't just go with what they nominated, I have my choices made more or less, then ask for feedback. You're intent on calling the people who were nominated "biased", sure some people will nominate people they know more likely than someone they don't, that doesn't take into account my own choices. You're believing that this is purely based on the current pool of veterans and elders, it's not. We have our own staff decisions, we still want to get the feedback from the vet/elders.
You're only focusing on the fact that applications give this "perceived" sense of fairness. Sure, everyone can apply and if things were up to @supremelord1 it'd be a popularity contest. It would cause shit-flinging galore. There are metrics associated with the site, both main and the forums. In my daily scan through topics I notice users who are fit for the role, I don't go around making friends with everyone. So how is it that our current system is biased towards people who are friends with the higher ups?
I know a lot of the veterans are active and helpful, most people feel this way. People will complain about anything, that's kind of the main point. Some complain that MAL mods are too strict, then come here and say we're too lenient. Then when they get a suspension, they say we're becoming too strict and worse than MAL. It's silly, you can't please everyone. You need an iron will in the world, otherwise any little thing will affect you.
I think the issue is that people focus on what they want to. "Oh they got this before me?" Must be favoritism. Yet they shoot themselves in the foot by showing this kind of attitude. I've removed inactive veterans, @David being one of them. I'd consider him a friend now, since I barely knew him before, so is that bias too? One of the prerequisites is to be a pillar to the community, in one way or another. If the community doesn't even know you, why would an application help?
This isn't choosing staff, by the by, that's a whole other process that takes way more time. These are helpful members given some powers to help them help the community. They have a quarter of our powers, but enough to do what they already have been doing with a bit of help. Correctly flagging topics to move them to the correct categories, removing spam, guiding new members to introduce themselves. This is way before they received the title or powers, so no, the only bias is that the chosen tend to be active and helpful. Though I doubt anyone would consider that a true bias.