What Do You Call A One-Time Solution to Muni Cuts? “A Bold Solution to Agency Woes!”

Whenever people start talking about “saving Muni,” the tendency is to not talk about things in the broader context of what’s happened, but instead take a hyper-focus on the immediate press releases and hot air downtown. That makes for easier stories to write, but it doesn’t give you, the Muni owner, the full picture.
For example, Mayor Newsom’s been breathing more hot air than a dragon on crack lately. He’s been doing a good job demonizing the Muni operators way beyond what’s fair (this is to make him look “tough” to out of town voters). Now he’s screaming at the SF County Transit Authority about a one-time $7 million grant the SF MTA went, hat in hand for, a few months ago. As the SFCTA is not an ATM for the MTA, and has a responsiblity to administer sales tax revenue, it wisely said “not without conditions” which would ensure the money wasn’t blown on Newsom work orders, big pay for management, or other nonsense.
Claims are being made such conditions have been met, and this one-time cash grant to the MTA is likely to go through. But the Mayor being the Mayor (and egged on by his PR minions) had to go all “FU” to the Board of Supervisors (who also serve as the SFCTA board), which is unecessary and stupid. I suppose if the Board and the Mayor agreed to make July 1 “Rainbows and Puppies Day,” he’d be screaming about how they didn’t love puppies enough or something. WhatEVER!
But let’s toss aside the shenanigans. Muni has always betted on getting this cash in the first place, even though there were no guarantees. That’s part of Muni’s budget game – bet on getting money that may never show up. Think of it as you deciding to pay your rent or mortgage payment with a magical bag of gold coins that falls from the sky, then hoping that it shows up by the end of the month. Crazy? Yes. SOP at Muni. Yes.
More importantly, the Orwellian doublespeak downtown will sell this as “saving” Muni, when it doesn’t. It’s a one time cash grant that’ll keep away cuts for a year. That is all.
Same goes for the proposed federal money for operations some people were demanding yesterday – from an even more unreliable source than that rainbow showering gold cois (AKA the Feds). Mayor Newsom’s crew spews bile at anyone that dares suggest auto drivers share the pain in any form, and TWU does as well when asked for a short term pain sharing agreement to alleviate cuts now, until we have a long term plan.
Oh, that long term, stable source(s) of revenue for Muni? What’s that you say? Something to actually save Muni for good instead of fiddling around year to year? Well, as always, it’s easy to propose short term solutions from short-time politicians, and it’s easy to latch on to easy-sounding ideas that make ideological sense.
It’s much harder to come up with a comprehensive plan that divorces our fate to that of a failed state and federal governments and builds back a functioning Muni (vs. Ford’s “smaller” system of FAIL). But that doesn’t make for a nice press release, does it?

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2 Responses to What Do You Call A One-Time Solution to Muni Cuts? “A Bold Solution to Agency Woes!”

  1. MrEricSir says:

    Newsom’s constant bickering with the BoS just makes him look like a whiny brat who can’t play well with others. Is this really the image he wants in the lt gov race?

  2. Greg Dewar says:

    In this case they’re in agreement, and the Board has said now that they know the money isn’t going down a rat hole, they’ll do it but he has to bitch and yell at them anyway.
    It’s his way of pretending to be a Tough Guy, egged on by his handlers, but he ends up looking petulant. Then again he owns a piece of that gusher in the Gulf…

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