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
|FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2000
Chair, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee
Rescue Muni Reaffirms Opposition to MTA Appointees,
Raises New Doubts About Qualifications
Rescue Muni reaffirmed their opposition to all seven of the mayorís nominees to the new Municipal Transportation Agency Board, and raised new questions about the qualifications of several nominees.
"The Board of Supervisors should send the mayor back to the drawing board," said Rescue Muni chair Andrew Sullivan. "The best way to do that is to vote against all seven candidates." Sullivan said some of the candidates might be qualified for the board, and could be supported by Rescue Muni as part of a reconstituted slate of appointees.
"The fact remains that there are no rider advocates, no bicycle advocates, no pedestrian advocates, and barely any transportation experience among these appointees," said Rescue Muni vice chair Daniel Murphy. "We see representatives of organized labor, downtown business, and the Republican Party, but where are the voices for the people this system is supposed to serve?"
The organizationís greatest concerns centered on nominee Welton Flynn, currently the president of the Public Transportation Commission. Flynn presided over Muni for decades, Sullivan said, and deserved a share of the blame for its current state. "Mr. Flynn fiddled while Muni burned. When funding was cut, he didnít make the hard choices to preserve system reliability. He didnít seek public support for additional funding; he submitted supplemental requests and threw his hands in the air when they were turned down. During the Metro Meltdown, he did nothing. Thatís not leadership."
Rescue Muni leaders were especially alarmed that, at his confirmation hearing, Flynn appeared unaware that the cityís Transit-First policy is set in the charter. "Has he even read Proposition E?" asked Murphy. "The Transit-First policy has been in the charter for years. Perhaps one reason itís so poorly implemented is that the president of the Public Transportation Commission never heard about it. Riders wonít have much faith in a board that includes Mr. Flynn."
The ridersí group also raised questions about the ability and qualifications of two other nomineesĖMike Casey and Jose CisnerosĖto serve on the high-profile board. They cited Mr. Caseyís public comments about how difficult it would be to find the time to serve. Additionally, they raised concerns about Mr. Caseyís difficulty coming up with specific service improvements he would seek, despite claiming to be a Muni rider for 15 years. "Our members rarely have trouble coming up with specific suggestions," noted Sullivan. "Additionally, weíve been told Mr. Cisneros had a poor attendance record on the New Muni Task Force," said Sullivan. "This appointment requires a major commitment of time and energy. This is a huge undertaking, nothing like most city commissions. People who donít have it should look to serve the city in some other capacity."
Rescue Muni sent a letter to supervisors asking them to reject all seven nominees and enumerating specific concerns about Flynn, Casey, and Cisneros. The final vote is expected to take place at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, February 22nd.
Rescue Muni is a transit ridersí organization for customers of Muni. It was founded in 1996 by Muni riders seeking to improve the systemís reliability, service, and safety, and currently has about 550 members and continues to grow rapidly. Rescue Muni co-sponsored November 1999ís Proposition E after circulating their own charter amendment earlier that year and participating in City Hall negotiations. Additionally, Rescue Muni sponsors an annual ridersí survey measuring the systemís reliability and performance.