A Transit Riders' Association for San Francisco
P.O. Box 190966
San Francisco, CA 94119-0966


Hotline: (415) 273-1558
Email:
board at rescuemuni.org
Web:
http://www.rescuemuni.org
FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 2, 2003

Contacts:
Andrew Sullivan
Chair, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
(415) 673-0626
andrew@sulli.org

Daniel Murphy
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee
(415) 665-4074
daniel@well.com

Rescue Muni Endorses Gavin Newsom for Mayor;
Supports Prop K Sales Tax for Transportation

Rescue Muni, San Francisco's transit riders' association, announced today that its members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Gavin Newsom for mayor. Members also voted to back Proposition K, the extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation.

“Gavin Newsom backed our efforts to fundamentally reform Muni, improve service, and hold the agency accountable, and we’re glad to back his campaign for mayor,” said Andrew Sullivan, chair of Rescue Muni. “Newsom proved he could make the tough decisions to support Muni riders; he’s the candidate we trust to lead the way to better service.”

“When no politician in this city wanted to touch our ideas for real Muni reform with a ten-foot pole, Gavin Newsom was there, backing us every step of the way,” said Daniel Murphy, Rescue Muni’s vice chair. “When we took our fight to the streets, with our petition campaign, he supported us in the face of powerful, well-organized opposition. That means a lot.”

“Newsom believes in putting customers first,” said Sullivan. He proved it with his support for Rescue Muni, and he proved it by making customer service a central focus of his tenure on the Board of Supervisors.”

“Newsom isn’t the only candidate in this race with a good record on our issues,” said Murphy, “but he’s the one who backed the dramatic changes we needed first, back when supporting real reform was a lonely endeavor.”

Rescue Muni’s rules require an unusually large majority—two-thirds—for an endorsement. Members voted at a well-attended general membership meeting on August 21st; Newsom won the requisite supermajority on the first ballot.

The organization also supported Proposition K, which extends the half-cent sales tax for transportation capital expenditures, including a number of key Muni projects. “Proposition K is vital to maintaining and expanding Muni service,” Sullivan said. “It provides for expansion of Muni rail lines and for the beginning of a real bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the city. And it’s critical to keeping Muni’s existing equipment and infrastructure in good repair.”

“Leaders from all over the city came together to draft the expenditure plan for this money,” said Murphy. “There were certainly some difficult compromises, but we’re happy to add our voice to those who support this measure. If it doesn’t pass, Muni will face some huge obstacles as it tries to deliver service with an aging fleet without adequate resources for maintenance and renovation.”

“Proposition K’s funding for a new Transbay Terminal and for the Caltrain downtown extension will benefit Muni riders too,” said Sullivan. “A major regional transit hub will help speed Muni riders to destinations outside San Francisco, and move the Bay Area closer to a world-class mass transit network.”

Rescue Muni is a transit riders’ organization for customers of Muni. It was founded in 1996 by Muni riders seeking to improve the system’s reliability, service, and safety. The organization conducts an annual riders’ survey, serves as a citizens’ watchdog group for Muni, and promotes expansion of transit service in San Francisco. Rescue Muni co-sponsored November 1999’s Proposition E for Muni reform after circulating its own charter amendment earlier that year and participating in City Hall negotiations. Rescue Muni is an independent, nonpartisan group run entirely by volunteers and supported solely by its members’ dues.

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Posted 9/21/03.