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 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 2, 1999


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

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

Muni Reform Measure Passes by Wide Margin;
Voters Speak: Fix Muni Now

Rescue Muni celebrated their biggest milestone to date in their battle to fix San Francisco's ailing transit system: Voters passed Proposition E, the Muni Reform Charter Amendment "We worked for almost three years to bring serious, comprehensive Muni reform to the voters. Tonight, the voters agreed to give Muni the tools it needs to recover, and to hold Muni responsible for the results," said Rescue Muni chair Andrew Sullivan. "This changes everything."

The Muni Reform Charter Amendment sets performance standards of meeting 98.5% of the published schedule and running 85% on time, phased in over four years and enforced through a program of merit pay. It bans Muni's "missout" policy, which allows employees to miss work without calling in. It expands the city's Transit First policy, gives a new Municipal Transportation Agency broad powers to manage the organization, including authority over purchasing and contracting, and insulates the new agency from political micromanagement.

"The voters aren't suggesting or pleading; they are demanding better Muni service. They wanted a measure with teeth in it, and that's exactly what they voted for," said Rescue Muni vice chair Daniel Murphy. "Proposition E is truly unprecedented in its scope and depth. This is no-excuses Muni reform. It doesn't let anyone off the hook."

Rescue Muni, in partnership with SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research) and EOC (Environmental Organizing Committee) drafted and circulated an initiative charter amendment earlier this year. While being circulated on the streets for signatures, Supervisor Gavin Newsom introduced the measure at the Board of Supervisors. Negotiations at City Hall followed, conducted first under the auspices of Supervisor Tom Ammiano's office, then under Mayor Willie Brown's office, led to a single consensus measure with broad backing. In addition to Rescue Muni and its partners, the negotiations were attended by representatives of labor, management, government, and the mayor's Muni task force.

"This proves once and for all that you can't ignore Muni riders," said Rescue Muni co-founder Ken Niemi. "Proposition E says that the purpose of Muni is to provide service to riders. That shouldn't be a radical concept in 1999, but I'm afraid it is."

"It's important to remember that Proposition E doesn't fix Muni," said Sullivan. "Proposition E makes it possible to fix Muni. We all have to roll up our sleeves next year and hold the new agency to the promise of real Muni reform embodied in Proposition E."

"We're enocuraged by the direction [Public Transportation Director] Michael Burns is taking with Muni," added Murphy. "We hope the passage of Proposition E, and the enormous public sentiment behind Muni reform, will give him the tools he needs to finish the job. Rescue Muni will be there from day one, tracking Muni's progress."

Sullivan emphasized that Rescue Muni had not done it alone, and thanked, among others, their partners at SPUR and EOC, attorney Michael Wilmar for drafting the first Muni measure pro bono, Supervisor Gavin Newsom for being the first to back the measure, Joe Blue and Adopt-a-Muni for their help with the signature campaign, and all the volunteers in the signature campaign who brought pressure on City Hall "to embrace a reform so radical than it would have been considered impossible just one year ago."

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Posted 11/2/99.