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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MTA: Muni Can Meet 85% Standard … By 2012

September 25th, 2007

The MTA gave a briefing yesterday morning to its Board of Directors on what would need to be done to meet the Prop E mandated 85% on time standard, and it wasn’t pretty. According to staff, Muni would need an additional $150 million per year to achieve the standard mandated by voters in 1999, and it won’t happen until 2012, five years from now and thirteen years after it was passed.

Update: Detailed powerpoint on On Time Performance is at the MTA website. (pdf)

Couldn’t it happen faster than that, particularly if basic steps like expanding and enforcing transit lanes, consolidating stops, implementing Proof of Payment systemwide, using already installed signal pre-empts, and dispatching trains in order from Embarcadero were taken? The SF Transit Effectiveness Project is studying these proposals and others.

Son of Muni Reform Goes to the Ballot

July 31st, 2007

This afternoon, the Board of Supervisors voted to put Board President Aaron Peskin’s Muni charter amendment on the November ballot. A very big thank you to everyone from Rescue Muni who called the supervisors to let them know we support the measure.

Seven supervisors voted to put the measure on the ballot: Aaron Peskin, Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Bevan Dufty, Sean Elsbernd, Sophie Maxwell, and Ross Mirkarimi. All seven deserve our thanks for letting this go forward now. Voting against the measure were: Michela Alioto-Pier, Ed Jew, Jake McGoldrick, and Gerardo Sandoval.

The vote was a bit different from last week’s, when supervisors considered various amendments which would, effectively, kill the measure. We should extend a very special thanks to the five supervisors who not only voted to put the measure on the ballot today, but also voted against all of the attempts to deep-six it with amendments. They are: Board President Aaron Peskin, and Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty, Sean Elsbernd, and Sophie Maxwell. All five of them deserve a very big thank you from supporters of better transit; all five, incidentally, carried Rescue Muni’s endorsement in their most recent elections.

Now for the hard part: This measure, because of the parking limitation language, which runs counter to the pro-parking, anti-transit ballot measure also appearing on the November ballot, will be more controversial than was Prop E. The supporters of the parking measure will surely be out in force to oppose Muni Reform II. Passing this measure will require a major effort on all our parts.

-Daniel M.

Update: The Chronicle and Examiner report on the measure going to the ballot, and the Guardian comments.

Muni: “When It’s Bad, It’s Really Bad”

June 10th, 2007

Detailed article today in the Chronicle about the wide range of issues affecting Muni reliability. In particular, Muni’s chronic budget problems are highlighted, as well as Supervisor Peskin’s proposed labor and budget reforms. Mayor Newsom and Rescue Muni vice chair Daniel Murphy are quoted (among others).

Muni Re-Reform? Peskin introduces charter amendment

May 22nd, 2007

Supervisor Peskin will introduce today (or soon?) a measure to amend the Charter to make some pretty significant changes to Proposition E, which governs the Municipal Transportation Agency. We’ll have analysis soon but wanted to get the news out right away.