RM to Supervisors: Don’t advance Campos amendment

June 27th, 2010

This past Friday, the Rules Committee of the Board of Supervisors met to consider a proposed charter amendment that would, among other things, split the appointees to the MTA Board between the Mayor and Board (as has been done for several commissions including Planning and Police). Rescue Muni members urged a no vote at the hearing; Chair Andrew Sullivan submitted the following comment.

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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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Elsbernd Amendment hits the streets; general meeting 4/27 to discuss it

April 8th, 2010

first-choice.JPGThe proposed charter amendment to remove the wage floor for MTA operators and make some additional work rule changes is now on the streets. (Our board has voted to support it.) Supervisor Elsbernd was out at West Portal to collect signatures today.

Meanwhile, please mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, when we will hold a general meeting to discuss the amendment. We have invited both Supervisor Elsbernd and a representative from the Transport Workers Union. Further details to follow including location.

Update: SF Streetsblog has a detailed report.

Ford: Combine MTA and SFCTA?

February 8th, 2008

SFCTAMTA Director Nat Ford proposed a new round of Muni reform to the Chronicle this week, suggesting that the SF County Transportation Authority, which administers the half cent sales tax most recently approved by voters in 2003 as well as doing countywide transportation planning, be merged into the Municipal Transportation Agency, to create a single entity that would oversee all transportation funding and operations in SF. This is the structure of the Valley Transportation Authority in Santa Clara County.

This is an interesting idea, not least because SFCTA and MTA have often found themselves conducting related but sometimes competing planning exercises (e.g. Geary and Van Ness BRT, Transit Effectiveness Project). However, it was considered and rejected by the authors of Proposition E, including current Supervisor Tom Ammiano and Mayor Newsom, in part because the state requires elected officials to serve on the board for a congestion management agency, and in part because of a desire to keep the Supervisors in charge of allocating tax revenue.

If this gains momentum we will certainly have specific recommendations. However, the SF voters just passed Muni re-reform last fall, so it’s not likely that another charter amendment (with associated State law changes) will get six votes at the Board so soon after. We’ll keep an eye on this.

Cautious Optimism

November 7th, 2007

Yes on AElection results are coming in very slowly this year because of the Secretary of State’s requirement that they be tallied by hand, but absentee numbers came in last night, and things are looking good.

Proposition H, the nightmarish omnibus parking measure, is trailing 42%-58% in absentees, so it’s clearly headed for a well-deserved watery grave. Proposition A, the Muni reform measure, is on the knife’s edge, leading 51%-49%. People who vote absentee are usually markedly more conservative than people who vote at the polls, and since opposition to Prop A came largely from more conservative quarters (the Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party, etc.) it’s reasonable to hope that the at-the-polls ballots will widen that margin, not tip it over to the No side.

That said, it was a very low-turnout election with a big last-minute No on A campaign push, so only cautious optimism is warranted until we see some counts of the at-the-polls ballots, from precincts distributed throughout the city geographically. But things are looking good so far.

Mayor Newsom has a 70-point lead and our hearty congratulations on winning a second term. And Proposition C is leading 74%-26%. So we’re three-quarters of the way to a clean sweep, and we have reason to think the coming days or weeks will bring good news on Prop A. We’ll keep this blog updated with news on Prop A as we get it. And you can check results as they’re updated on the Department of Elections site here.

-Daniel M.

UPDATE: (4:36 p.m.) With the first batch of at-the-polls votes counted, Proposition A’s lead has increased to 54%-46%, and Proposition H trails even further now, at 36%-64%.