A Record Scratch WTF Moment In Today’s Chronicle With Mayor Newsom

Today’s paper had some notable MUNI news. First off, we read a report by Rachel Gordon on efforts to improve the on-time reliability of MUNI, which is showing some signs of progress on paper, but riders don’t seem to be “feeling the love,” so to speak. That’s mostly because no matter how much overall the system seems reliable (at what, 67% now?), none of that matters if you’re trying to get your errands done or get to work and have that “oh God is MUNI going to crap out on me when I need it most” feeling.
There’s been some progress, of course, since the Bad Old Days of the T Rollout, but that is not saying much given how completely frakked up the whole thing was. On the other hand, turning around a big, old institution like MUNI can’t happen in a day, either.
That’s where the record-scratch WTF moment came, with this comment from Mayor Newsom, who prides himself as being a “green” eco-conscious kind of guy:

“The concern about reliability is not a surprise,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is running for re-election this year and knows that Muni is a bread-and-butter issue for a San Francisco mayor. “We are working on making improvements, with more resources, more staffing.”

Um, really? As I recall, when this Mayor, who is literally bulletproof from any threat to re-election, pulled a John Kerry-like flip-flop when a serious, difficult proposal to reform MUNI was being negotiate. Rather than tell some special interests to “stick it” since he is virtually un-opposed for re-election, he ran away from a tough choice.
Now that the dust has settled, and his pals aren’t against the reform amendment any more, presumably he can “safely” support it now. I tried calling the Mayor’s office, but no response was forthcoming. Maybe I should act locally, instead
The other record-scratch moment , of course was news of the lovely budget our Greenie Governor and so-called Greenie Democrats from San Francisco passed in Sacramento. This floater not only includes a $1.3 billion cut in transit funds for MUNI and BART (and every other agency in the STATE), the fiscal fiddlers up north are now taking bond money (borrowed money) to fill in the gap (after telling you that they were going to use that money for “infrastructure.”)
It’s quite interesting to see Assemblyman Mark Leno run around with a picture of Mother Earth in his campaign signs, and see Assemblywoman Ma drive around in a Prius in her election ads last year, but when push came to shove, they voted to cut MUNI funding. Next time you see one of them and hear them talk about “fixing MUNI,” you might want to remind them of this little maneuver of theirs and see what happens.
PS: Be sure to order a any one of our shirts ASAP since we’ll be closing down the store very soon now! Check ’em out! There’s something for MUNI fans, Battlestar Galactica fans, “Playa Hatahs” and more!

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3 Responses to A Record Scratch WTF Moment In Today’s Chronicle With Mayor Newsom

  1. Mayor Newsom was also responsible for cutting MUNI’s service a couple of years ago when the 1.50 fare went into effect. Remember the City’s own budget crisis when tax revenue dwindled – 2005 I think. Anyone holding him accountable??
    How many times have we voted for transit bonds or initiatives either City or State (or region wide – like Amendment 2) and had the governor or our legislators gut the funding for something use elsewhere?? It’s very discouraging.

  2. Greg says:

    @Steve: excellent point, which I forgot in my haste to post this before my stupid laptop battery died.
    and, the guy who recommended the Big Fare Increase/Cut Service Death Spiral, Stu Sunshine, now serves as a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Newsom. He also gets a paycheck from MUNI now too!

  3. Nancy says:

    God, is there any corner of the city where they aren’t scratching each other’s backs. I’m applying to SF State for next year in the “Over 60” degree program but the endless MUNI snarls have me thinking that I don’t want to waste valuable art time sitting on the bus. City was bad enough but I could get there via BART; it looks like the “M” line is my only choice for SF State.

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