Lost in all the election coverage last night was the 46%-54% defeat of Proposition C, a charter amendment splitting appointments to the Film Commission; six members would be appointed by the mayor and five by the Board of Supervisors. Currently all members are appointed by the mayor.
Proposition C had barely any opposition; the only argument filed against it was a screed by Republican Central Committee member and perennial ballot-argument-writer Terence Faulkner. Even the mayor’s staunchest allies on the board supported the measure.Â And yet this nearly-unopposed proposition went down to defeat by eight points last night.
The message couldn’t be clearer: San Franciscans aren’t interested in expanding the powers of the Board of Supervisors over city boards and commissions.Â While such measures have sometimes succeeded in he past, if a split-appointment measure, for a commission hardly anyone pays attention to, can’t win, it’s clear the public is no longer in mood for this sort of thing.
Recently, several supervisors proposed a charter amendment which not only splits appointments to the SFMTA Board, but expands the supervisors’ power over Muni in whole slew of ways beyond the split board.Â It should be obvious from last night’s election results that, if such a measure is placed on the November ballot, it’s dead on arrival with the electorate.Â Voters who won’t let the supes appoint a minority of commissioners on the barely-noticed Film Commission aren’t about to give them a whole Christmas tree of new powers over a high-profile agency with which San Franciscans interact almost every day.Â A doomed campaign to pass such an amendment would serve only as a prolonged distraction from the pursuit of real, viable solutions.
It’s time for the supervisors to read carefully the results from last night and shelve the Campos/Chiu/Avalos amendment.Â Voters already rejectedâ€”by a 29-point marginâ€”one effort in 2005 to split SFMTA Board appointments 4-3 between the mayor and supervisors respectively; the idea that they’ll approve a grossly overreaching, wide-ranging takeover of the agency by the supervisors is fantasy. Whatever the SFMTA’s problems, increased control by the Board of Supervisors is not among the solutions, and even if it were, the public clearly isn’t buying.
It’s time for supervisors and transit activists alike to stop this pointless tinkering with how the SFMTA Board is appointed and divert their time and energy to constructive solutions which put SFMTA on a sound financial footing to preserve and make reliable existing Muni service, and to grow the system into the one envisioned by the Transit Effectiveness Project.