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

Hotline: (415) 273-1558
board at rescuemuni.org
MAY 24, 1999

Andrew Sullivan
Chairman, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
(415) 673-0626
[email protected]

Daniel Murphy
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee
(415) 665-4074
[email protected]

Rescue Muni Opposes Yaki, Ammiano Alternatives,
Reaffirms Support for Muni Reform Measure

Rescue Muni, the San Francisco transit riders association, announced its opposition to two alternative charter amendments proposed Monday by Supervisor Michael Yaki and Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano. Rescue Muni reaffirmed their support for the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC measure now being circulated for voter signatures. Supervisor Gavin Newsom introduced text identical to the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC measure at the board several weeks ago.

“Yaki’s measure conains no service standards, no merit pay, and actually weakens the city’s transit-first policy,” said Rescue Muni chair Andrew Sullivan. “It doesn’t even eliminate miss-outs,” Sullivan said, referring to the practice by which Muni employees can fail to show up for work without even calling. “The Yaki measure won't improve transit service in San Francisco. It could, in fact, make things substantially worse.”

“We appreciate President Ammiano’s efforts to bring riders and labor together to reach some sort of compromise,” said Rescue Muni vice chair Daniel Murphy, “but the text introduced today falls short on several fronts, particularly when it comes to reforming Muni’s antiquated work rules and cumbersome ties to a civil service bureaucracy.” He said that Rescue Muni could not support the Ammiano measure in its current form, and that the organization will press ahead, along with coalition partners SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research) and EOC (Environmental Organizing Committee) with efforts to gather enough signatures to put their own measure on the November ballot.

“Politicians in City Hall keep telling us that putting tough service standards and merit pay in the charter isn’t ‘good government,’ that we should trust the politicians to develop their own service standards,” said Rescue Muni co-founder Ken Niemi. “Riders know better. Riders know that City Hall has been asleep at the switch for years on Muni, and that if we want better service, we have to be specific.”

Rescue Muni urged supervisors to support the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC alternative, which was introduced verbatim at the board by Supervisor Newsom. “The mayor says he wants one ballot measure for Muni. We agree, but we think it should be the measure that does the most to improve transit service. The supervisors should vote to put Newsom’s version before the voters,” Niemi said. “None of the alternatives measure up.”

“If the voters don’t like what’s coming out of City Hall, they should sign one of our petitions,” Sullivan added. “While City Hall keeps looking for new and innovative ways to water down our tough, customer-centered reform package, we’re making better than expected progress gathering signatures. We fully expect our measure to qualify and appear on the November ballot. We think Muni riders deserve at least the choice of real reform.”

Murphy pointed to recent endorsements from the Sierra Club and the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters as proof that the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC measure was winning the battle for public opinion. “We’ve seen all these alternative measures, from the mayor’s New Muni Task Force, from Yaki, from Ammiano, and even some alternatives that never saw the light of day. So far, the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC measure is the only one supported by anyone other than its own authors. We’re very happy that the environmental community endorsed our measure early. We’re very grateful that Supervisor Newsom took the lead on this at the board while many others hid under their desks and wished Rescue Muni would just go away. We expect to have other endorsements to announce soon. Our plan is gathering steam while the other plans are gathering dust.”

Interested volunteers can call the campaign at 415.522.9819 to volunteer to help circulate the Rescue Muni/SPUR/EOC petitions.

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