Friday, January 22, 2010

Muni: Breaks in the Clouds


On Monday, January 18, 2010, I emailed a version of the Muni Petition to all 11 San Francisco District Supervisors. So, what happens when you email a list of politically dangerous and admittedly drastic suggestions on a wildly contentious topic to City Hall?

District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu responded, suggesting that I contact the MTA Board of Directors, since they are responsible for specific items related to Muni budget and policy. Supervisor Chu pointed out that what District Supervisors are able to do is to vote down a budget in its entirety, forcing the MTA Board (and Muni management) to revisit their decisions. She added the she appreciated the thoughtful suggestions and would take a look at the ideas.

I appreciate her response. I think it was realistic, helpful, and non-patronizing.

District 9 Supervisor David Campos also responded, and said that Muni is a top priority for him and that "we are considering a number of measures to make our municipal transit system something of which we can all be proud." He added that they are asking for a "targeted management audit of Muni" and considering a charter amendment.

The words "audit", "Muni", and "management" together in a sentence definitely sound like music. And while I'd love more detail about what measures are under consideration to turn what we presently have into a source of collective pride, I also appreciate this sympathetic response.

Thank you, Supervisors Carmen Chu and David Campos.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty was sitting in front of me during the second half of the MTA Board Meeting on Tuesday (January 19, 2010) and I wanted to talk to him and hand him a printed copy of the petition, but he left during the session and I didn't get the chance.

From that meeting, I saw firsthand how many Muni employees feel just as betrayed and bewildered as the riding public. Among those taking their two minutes at the microphone were a station agent, a bus cleaner, a mechanic, and a parking control officer, all of whom were apparently being laid off.

I also learned that in addition to the proposed across-the-board service cuts and selected fare increases (including F-line), they were continuing to reduce staff at stations and were planning to shut down Muni pass sales at Montgomery.

Shutting down sale locations for Muni passes. Not a typo.

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