State Board Denies Drivers’ Petition to Block Service Restoration

September 7th, 2010

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) denied a request from the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A to pursue an injunction to block the partial Muni service restoration that went into effect over Labor Day Weekend.  The drivers’ union sought the injunction after SFMTA announced a plan to restore 61% of the service cut in May.

Had an injunction been granted, service would have reverted to the levels in effect after the May service cuts.  In their petition filed with PERB, the union claimed they would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if, among other things, new absenteeism rules went into effect and union chairs at each division were no longer paid full-time salaries by the city to do union work.

Muni Drivers Try to Block Service Restoration

September 2nd, 2010

You just can’t make this stuff up.

The Muni operators’ union, TWU Local 250-A, filed a brief with the California Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) to block the restoration of 61% of the service cuts that took effect in May.  The restoration is supposed to take place Saturday, but if the board grants TWU an injunction, the service cuts will remain in place.  SFMTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford says Muni is moving forward with the restoration, at least for now.

One thing is clear: TWU has given up even the slimmest hope of defeating Proposition G.  Having alienated San Franciscans thoroughly by insisting on pay increases during a severe budget crisis, just as other city workers were accepting pay cuts, they’ve decided to go for broke and litigate their way to cushy jobs for union leadership and less service for Muni riders.

PERB isn’t scheduled to meet until October 14, according to its web site.  It’s hard to say from here whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing for Muni riders.

Muni Un-Reform Un-Proposed

July 28th, 2010

SFMTAThe Board of Supervisors did the right thing yesterday and rejected a proposed charter amendment that would have changed the makeup of the SFMTA Board, and would have been in effect a takeover of the SFMTA by the Board of Supervisors. (Rescue Muni members spoke several times in opposition.)

Instead, a task force is being created that will review MTA governance issues, including the important question of whether the current split between the SFMTA and SF County Transportation Authority is effective or not, and whether the “work orders” currently used to transfer SFMTA money to other city departments are being handled properly. (We have objected to these in the past.) We will be following this task force closely – there have been many of these in the past, not all effective, but with proper citizen participation it might lead to useful (rather than counterproductive) reforms.

Thanks to Board President David Chiu for being the key vote to kill this misguided proposal, and thanks also to our members who wrote or spoke in opposition! Now back to the real work of improving SF transit.

Update: The SF Weekly covers this, as does Streetsblog.

SFMTA: Partial Muni Restoration Hearing

July 1st, 2010

Save the date: July 6th at Noon.

The SFMTA Board of Directors will seek input from riders for the restoration of some bus route and rail lines that were cut during the May 8th service changes. Stop by city hall, Room 400, and get your comment cards in so the SFMTA knows which routes need restoration the most (weekend N service to Caltrain?). Call 311 or visit SFMTA.com for more information.

Move On Dot Supes

June 9th, 2010

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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  Voters already rejected—by a 29-point margin—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.

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