The Shenanigans Begin on the Eve of Today's Budget and Finance Committee Meeting...
At 1:30 today the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee Meeting will be held, and Sup. Chiu's move to veto the SFMTA budget and ask them to come up with a more realistic plan will be up for discussion. If you haven't already done so, email your Supervisor and ask them to support this measure, and if you can make it to the meeting, show up and give 'em a dose of reality. I would love to attend, but I have a day job that doesn't allow me to go to City Hall today, unfortunately.
Today's Chronicle had some new political shenanigans being tossed around by absentee Mayor Newsom, though. Even as the MTA released new statistics showing on-time performance is improving (!), the Mayor was out there defending a budget plan that will ensure these gains are lost, and that will balance the budget in such a way that creates long-term problems we'll pay for years to come.
It's clear Newsom has been caught off guard by this situation. You can hear his beleagurement when he says things like "We're at the point now where we can't get down to zero (deficit) without tough decisions," Newsom said. "I hate the idea of raising fares. I don't want to cut Muni service. But I ask (critics), 'What ideas do you have that do not eviscerate public safety and health and human services?' ""
Well, sir, people offered plenty of ways to do so. They asked you to stop using Muni as a cash machine for other departments, looting all the money Prop. A allocated to Muni and use it for fat overtime paychecks at other agencies. The MTA staff made recommendations for more revenue, but you and your allies on the Board of Supervisors pressured the allegedly politics-free MTA to back off of them. And finally, when discussions were being held, you were out of town raising money for your race for governor, so you didn't lift a finger or do a thing (besides re-allocate Muni money to pay for staffers in your expensive office) to live up to all those green platitudes you speak of outside of San Francisco.
Because of the arcane structure of the MTA, vetoing it and forcing a do-over is the only thing we can do to make true "tough decisions." Perhaps if the Mayor actually made some and showed some leadership, he might know what that is.
Until then, it's up to the rest of us to show some leadership instead. It's no way to run a railroad, for sure, but until we fix how the MTA is governed, we'll have no other option but the nuclear one to effect change and force all those well paid "staff" to put in a day's work for a change. No one is delusional enough to think that something isn't gonna give, but the budget "as is" is a joke at our expense.