Follow Up: Taking Another Look at that Muni Crime Hearing...With Some Surprises...
So today was the Big Day for that Board of Supervisors hearing on Muni Crime. Predictably, mainstream outlets focused primarily on the individual incidents people spoke to in public comment, while Streetsblog put more of a focus on what the SFPD and the MTA were promising, and other outlets provided their take on the proceedings. You can also watch the show at the SFGOV TV website.
Between these, and others, you can get a good idea of what was discussed at the meeting, and you can download the SFPD presentation and read for yourself some rather interesting statistics about the most crime ridden lines and some proposed ways to more effectively deal with Muni safety. Some of it is really interesting!
Now, let's note a couple of things - the Deputy Police Chief who's tasked with things like Muni safety has only been in office about a week so to be fair, he's new (having been appointed by Chief Gascon). Also, reading at least of these solutions fall in to the "No Duh" category. (Really? Putting a real police presence on Muni deters crime? Don't wave around your iPod or iPhone in public? Who told?).
It's at least promising that someone decided to take a look at statistics and determine where best to put police in the pilot program in the Ingleside police station's part of town to better use resources. Although, as a friend of mine pointed out, as more and more SFPD officers no longer live in SF itself, there are fewer off duty officers riding the bus home who used to be able to respond to incidents too. Interesting.
However, we can read all these Big Plans, and we can have the Board of Supervisors use their (limited) role in pressuring the MTA, Muni and the SFPD to do some actual fighting of crime and ensuring of safety, we have to remember how we got here in the first place. Remember, "Mayor" Newsom was looting the MTA budget for the SFPD, and yet somehow crime was going up on Muni, and down citywide.
During that futile fight over the MTA budget, when it was revealed how much money was going to the SFPD(and other departments), with no agreement between the MTA and the SFPD about how this was going to work. People started to take a second look at this massive transfer of cash, and try and get some accountability so at least the MTA would get something for its money. Fair enough
Due to the byzantine way we run the MTA (you can vote on your neighbor's marriage rights but not for anyone directly in charge of the MTA besides our "Mayor"), it's not easy for any elected officials to intervene to try and do something.
So while yesterday's hearing was helpful in illustrating the challenges we the owners face when we use Our Muni, and it did make the SFPD disclose what they say they're going to do, the hearing was not an end in itself, but instead a first step. Frankly, it'll be up to us to keep an eye out and if things don't improve, it'll be up to us (as owners) to tell our employees (elected officials, the MTA, the SFPD) to shape up. At least now we'll have something we can hold them to, whereas before we had nothing.
And, now a note about the hearing that every news outlet, except the Examiner, missed. Reporter Mike Aldax noted the other day that during the hearing one of the committee members was not participating. Instead that member was conducting partisan political attacks on the taxpayer's dime...on Facebook. That Supervisor was of course, Chris Daly, someone we once actually liked and defended back in the day.
I think you need no better example of a dereliction of duty than this latest outrage. He lies in his Facebook updates (the SFCTA cannot run Muni directly and can only administer specific plans with Prop. K sales tax money). He was more interested in throwing an online temper tantrum than actually being productive on an issue that affects everyone, even people in his own district. Some "champion of the people." Naturally, he has nothing to say, despite being on the SFCTA board and Board of Supervisors longer than Sup. Dufty. Naturally, he has never done anything, as Supervisor or a SFCTA board member to enhance Muni, and offers nothing now, despite the evidence this is a problem. Big Surprise.
But why act like such a goofus? That's because he wanted to be SFCTA chair, but one of his own progressive allies voted for Dufty, ensuring Daly lost. That pretty much says it all. Rather than one-up Dufty with a better way to fix Muni, he'd rather lazily post crap on Facebook.
News Flash, "Supervisor" Daly, and "Mayor" Newsom - the two of you are about as useful as a football bat right now, and yet both of you have plenty of time left in office. The people of SF would be willing to forget all of your political shenanigans if you spend the remaining time in office doing something that makes a positive difference in our daily lives, instead of governing by press release and public temper tantrum. If you really don't feel like doing the job, then please quit, tend to your out-of-town interests, and let the adults take over. We'll all be better off.