It’s Time to Call Capt. Gavin Planet and His Planeteers on BS: Using Lawyer’s Tricks to Rob MUNI

planeto1ms.jpgI’m violating a basic rule of blogging I’ve tried to keep to in all my online writing – never blog when you’re ticked off. But then I read about the crap the Mayor’s gang are pulling to rob MUNI of stable funding we voted for and were promised in 2007, and well, I can’t just sit idly by and sing the praises of Dear Green Gavin.
This is someone who runs around talking about how frakking “green” he is, gets on magazine covers and praised by So-Called Liberal San Francisco as a Captain of the “green movement,” but when push comes to shove on things that might actually do something about the things he claims to care about, lets loose the dogs to MUNI, and gives them shady lawyer’s tricks to help out in the brutalization.
Now, in and of itself, budget shenanigans aren’t enough to call out Gavin the Green on his nonsense. Everyone’s doing it – the birds, the bugs and the state is doing it (let’s call it f*cked!)*** – and the Obama “stimulus package” has been a bitter fight for anything not more subsidies for cars and nonsense.
What makes this worse is that this Mayor, who clearly does not want to spend time in San Francisco, doing the job he was elected to do, who has stolen MUNI money in the past to pay political staffers’ salaries in his office, and blew money we did not have on plasma TVs and pricey office goodies all in the name of “getting good ideas to run San Francisco” dares to call himself a Captain of “green” thinking, asking his flock to his Facebook page. Remind me how this is better than having a C-Student take us to war in Iraq and bankrupt the country? Hmm?
News flash, Mayor (and his team of boys running things): why don’t you spend more time in the city you were elected to run, not in high priced mansions for your fundraisers? Try talking your silly during rush hour when those of us who work for a living are late because your overpaid Smart Kids (who apparently are up for a big job in Los Angeles!) couldn’t run a two-car parade, much less a simple transit system in a city of less than 800,000 people.
This is a Mayor, who, during an election year, jacked up salaries arbitrarily for key city employee groups for his own benefit, blowing out the deficit. Had it not been for the bumbling alliterative talents of the so-called “progressives” in illustrating this fact, perhaps we might have avoided some of the budget pain we have, now that times are not so flush with taxpayer cash. D’oh!
You’ll have to pardon me if I’m sounding harsh, but I’m sick and tired of being “punished” for the fact I don’t drive my old, gas-guzzling, big, annoying Lexus (yes, really, I had a Lexus) and opted out of a car-dependent lifestyle when a crash offered me a way out.
More importantly, I am getting very sick and tired of hearing political platitudes from a Mayor/Captain who claims to be “green” while driving a gas-sucking 20 mpg SUV, and demanding we lay roses at his feet for his oh-so-pious-green silliness.
However, I’m not someone to simply post blog rants and run. Oh no. If city departments can loot MUNI based on spurious claims, well then, it’s time for MUNI to issue a little payback.
The police are now billing MUNI for doing traffic duty(!) whenever a bus shows up. Well, then I propose MUNI bill the SFPD for every stolen fare the SFPD fails to capture because they don’t patrol MUNI for crime. And for every person harassed by a criminal (think that criminal who beat up people on MUNI, only to later kill a family in SF), well, another bill. And for every drunk driver, or heck, every fool driver who causes MUNI delays that surely the SFPD could have prevented, another bill.
But why stop there? Let’s get crazy. Let’s bill the library system for every person who didn’t read a MUNI map and thus, delayed the buses when someone asked directions. Let’s think up all kinds of crazy stuff, and start a war of attrition, where lawyers and bureaucrats and accountants bill overtime, and everyone who pays taxes and lives by the rules, gets screwed. Hey, I hear that if you read, you should bill MUNI! Bill ’em!
Sound like a bad idea? It is. It’s time for a clean slate. Time for us to stop the nonsense. And we start by not electing pretty boys and girls who make us feel good, but don’t have a record of doing something that actually benefits the people of Our Fair City.
***50 points if you can guess what I’m spoofing here. Hey, we gotta have some fun in a time of crisis, right?

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10 Responses to It’s Time to Call Capt. Gavin Planet and His Planeteers on BS: Using Lawyer’s Tricks to Rob MUNI

  1. Alex says:

    Greg,
    Newsom’s green is of the gilded variety, no doubt. Cutting funding for public transportation sucks, agreed. This b.s. infighting is absurd, no arguments here. If I had to choose between public health funding and the MTA, I’d chose the former every single time… and I’d sleep damn well.
    But… the city budget is more or less a zero sum game. Now that Norton is gone, we’re not printing money. In a recession, there ought to be the flexibility to remove money from any agency, and adjust the balance to favor perhaps more important things. Earmarking money (like SF voters have tried to do, and California voters do all the freaking time) encourages wasteful spending and budget problems like we have at the state and local levels.
    It’s easy to talk about waste, and that fedora festooned cad of an ex-mayor makes a great example:
    – How many billions of dollars will be wasted on the subway to nowhere
    – Hundreds of millions spent on the train control system that still doesn’t work
    – Hundreds of millions spent on (the initial purchase only) trains that don’t work, how many more MTA man hours have been wasted trying to fix them
    And under Newsom’s watch (but really, shouldn’t the head of MUNI — Natty Tatty Ford bear some responsibility for reigning these things in):
    – Raises (merit or otherwise for Ford)
    – Tens of millions of dollars a year on accident payouts
    – Those freaking biodiesel stickers (the city’s running B20, and they want to toot their horn? ugh)
    – The million or so wasted on the culture bus (and the requisite extra driver training!)
    From what I can see, what’s not being taken into account are the strings that are attached to the ‘wasted’ money. The billions that will eventually get spent on the subway to nowhere came in large part from the federal government with the requirement that the monies be used for this doomed subway. The trains we have are such because only a select few bidders wanted to comply with the arcane Buy American requirements attached to the monies used to purchase new trains (the Boeings were craptastic for the same reason — BART is to a large extent soldiering on with their original trains, go figure).
    Likewise I’d be somewhat inclined to give the mayor a pass on hiring more civil servants until Matier and Ross can be bothered to do a brief analysis on how much overtime costs vs how much a new employee or two costs.
    M&R make for great headlines, but often not a whole lot of substance… hence not blogging while intoxicated with anger is usually a good thing šŸ˜‰

  2. Barna says:

    Greg, if you decide to run for office, you have my vote.

  3. sfmike says:

    Good rant. You should write more when you’re angry.
    I can’t believe that you didn’t see this coming, though. The Newsom administration, from the very first, has shown itself to be every bit as corrupt as Willie Brown’s, except with half the brains. His “green” schtick has always been empty and has actually done more harm to environmental advocacy than good. I’d argue the same is true for “gay marriage.” Nothing’s going to change until Newsom and his ugly cronies/handlers are out of office.

  4. Eric says:

    I have to agree with sfmike on this one. Newsom has screwed up everything he’s touched. His progressive-sounding programs only last as long as the photo-op, then they’re killed in a backroom deal.
    Remember Healthy SF? Or the beautiful streets initiative? Or Shop SF? All programs that Newsom’s croonies started, then slashed to bits.

  5. marc says:

    Hey Greg, aren’t you glad that San Francisco does not have a progressive mayor or that those wacky, zany progressive Supervisors are less powerful when it comes to stopping this law breaking?
    And what about Prop A? What a fucking crock! No labor reform other than a floor on wages, so that portion of the TEP is DOA, no provision for enhanced services with additional dollars because they’re all being raided so that portion of the TEP is DOA, and an abdication on the part of the Mayor, MTA Board and Supervisors to take guidance from Section 8A.109 of the City Charter–thou shalt raise revenue for the MUNI, and in exchange for all of that, all we got is that it now takes 9 votes to add more parking.
    Whoop de fricken doo.
    Newsom is running for Governor and attempting to take on Jerry Brown from the right, so that he can go to the red counties, those where he dared not tread during the Prop 8 campaign, and tout his ability to stand up against those tax raising liberals in San Francisco to bring a new era of fiscal discipline by cutting expenses, especially labor jobs.
    This political baby needs to be drowned in that bathtub Grover Norquist always talks about, and the baby thrown out with the bath water. Recall his charlatan ass and kneecap his gubernatorial ambitions!
    -marc

  6. Greg Dewar says:

    Wow I guess I need to rank on the Mayor more often…comments and pageviews are through the roof. Now if folks would just buy some T Shirts I’d be set.
    Everyone brings up good points here. I’m not really surprised the Mayor is being such a doofus – it’s just that now not only will SF suffer with goofball policy making, but in the end it won’t help the Mayor one bit politically in a primary where he won’t have a few papers to back him up constantly and paper over his many mistakes (big budget busting payraises in 2007, anyone)?
    Marc I’m reminded of a slogan I proposed for any credible progressive that was to run against Newsom. It was simply “They Told Me If I Voted Progressive in 2003, We’d Have Out of Control Crime and Wasteful Gov’t. Spending. I Did, and We Do”. Personally I wish progressives would spend a little less time on symbolic stuff, and I wish “moderates” would spend more time on practical solutions for real problems, and stop trying to nuke labor in a labor town. Both sides waste a lot of energy that way.
    I’d gladly take David Chiu for Mayor at this point. I don’t care how long he’s been in office. At least he seems to want to do his job. The Mayor could easily resign early and devote his own resources and all his time to being a gubernatorial canidate, and leave us alone.

  7. tangobaby says:

    Wow. Greg. Now this is a post I’m going to read over and over again. I’ve never seen you like this before.
    My hope– since I’m wondering if Gavin reads any local blogs and if he does, then hopefully he reads yours– is that somehow this issue will get elevated to the level it needs to be. I haven’t lived in SF all that long, just over two years, and like you, gave up my car because I did feel like I could opt out of the car ownership syndrome here, but in a short span of time, even I can see that Muni has deteriorated to the point where I wonder if I made a bad decision.
    I’m with the rest of the commenters, you should run for office. You have my vote!

  8. Greg Dewar says:

    @TB: well I don’t like being pissed or push out negative energy, and don’t want the blog to sink into that, but there are 2 things that will always annoy the heck out of me:
    1. seeing people getting picked on for no good reason
    2. seeing people in office be so crass about being twofaced. I don’t expect politicians to be perfect but to see this glossy green nonsense being bandied about on the interwebs by “the team” and the Sort Of Mayor, and then see a 60 minute wait for a bus to go home at night, well that’s pushing it.
    but like I said, I try to keep things mellow or at least positive in a “yes we can” kind of way, but some days you just gotta go all “Network” and stuff.

  9. marc says:

    Look, we all have our hobby horses that we like to ride. Some hobby horses are broad, like the way that I focus on luxury housing, others are narrow and pointed, such as the Republicans focus on “earmarks” or Greg’s focus on “symbolic” acts.
    Symbolic acts, were they to consume the majority of the legislature’s time would be problematic. But our federalist system thrives when there is up and down give and take expressions of evolving sentiment, that really represents a circulation system of ideas that keeps the system as agile as possible.
    The City is not a railway or an airline where you can make things run on time based on academically “provable” formulaic theories. Governing at the local level in hyper pluralistic San Francisco involves legitimating a variety of interests, and if the cost of building those relationships is very small has the side effects of advancing the dialog while evincing the clucking of tongues, well, cluck away, because some of today’s symbolisms are tomorrow’s advances.
    Add to that the evaporation of the economy, and it requires someone who gives a damn about doing the jop they were elected to do, not someone who is just coasting through on our dime.
    Leave it to the politicians to put forth the sunny disposition, I prefer a healthy balance of yin and yang.
    -marc

  10. Greg Dewar says:

    marc I’m happy to see you participate here and appreciate your comments, but one might suggest your hobby horse is long comments on every blog in town šŸ˜‰
    When progressives do things that improve the functions of gov’t they are doing what they should be about. When they blabber on and pull stunts like daly does, they do not help the cause.
    When they let a guy like Newsom off the hook like they did in 2007, they gave this guy a pass that created the climate that allowed him to think he’s governor material. No one won in that situation, most importantly, the voters.

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