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1 Piece of Muni News You May Have Missed, and a Hilarious Recount of One You Didn't

There's two pieces of news regarding Muni (sorta). The first is one you may have missed: State Sen. Mark Leno made good on a promise during his election campaign to once again introduce a bill that would allow counties to vote to raise a local vehicle license tax with a majority vote. I remember hearing then-candidate Leno talk about this in 2008 and was a tad skeptical if this would even leave the State Senate, but it has.

Such a plan is more than equitable. Although Leno's bill does not allow candidates to restore the VLF to the pre-Schwarzengger cut levels (the vote could only raise it 2% of the total value of the vehicle, including the state's portion), the fact that local counties would have the option to vote themselves a tax, or say "Hell No" to a tax, would restore some local control over funding. Gov. Doofinator's arbitrary cut set in motion a good portion of the state's revenue problem, and it had a particularly damning effect on transit and roads (as did his looting, but you know that already if you read this, so no need to go over that point again).

What's interesting about this bill is that a Board of Supervisors in California would have to pass it with a 2/3rds majority (meaning conservative counties need not fear this ever being on their ballot in the first place) and would need a hefty majority to pass. So it's not like suddenly every county is going to pass this - I seriously doubt such a plan would even pass in car-dependent Los Angeles County. It is, however a chance for San Francisco County to go its own way and have local money go to dedicated local projects, such as streets and transit. Besides, wouldn't this be better than borrowing billions and blowing out our local budget that way?

The second piece of news was the report that someone got sick and barfed all over a Muni Metro train, and the operator wouldn't let people off. While news reports were rather dry (oh did I just say that?), TK from 40 Going on 28 wrote up the scene in screenplay form, and well, if you missed it, here it is.

Comments

Driving to work today I passed a trailer hauling a Muni Metro train southbound on highway 280 (around Santa Clara). Do you think there are expert barf cleaners down San Jose way?

Really? This isn't the first time someone's spotted one going up and down on 280. Breda ( the makers of these LRVs) has a plant in Pittsburg, and the cars are being refurbished there. They take a southern route to avoid the bay bridge and other toll bridges.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,2355143

The barf was hosed down here in SF.

Keep in mind that "car-dependent LA County" passed a sales tax in 2008 for transit construction (with a 2/3 majority), and is currently building two major light rail extensions, with two major subway projects in the planning phase along with many more light rail extensions. Once the currently under-construction Expo Line opens, LA Metro Rail will probably have more ridership than BART, and once the Wilshire subway opens, that line alone will have half as much ridership of the whole BART system.

The digestive disaster on the Breda car reminds me of the time I was visiting Muni Central Control back in 1968. A radio report came in using the term "dirty coach" (probably one of the Mack diesels). The dispatcher "translated" for me, saying "it usually means some drunk lost his lunch."

Regarding Measure "R" (the 2008 sales tax) in LA County: I was one of the partisans who did his best to convince skeptical San Gabriel Valley residents to vote "Yes", even though many thought that "Downtown LA" would grab all the money. We made sure that the Gold Line Foothill Extension was locked into the deal, and expect to see construction starting some time this year. For more information, there's a video on YouTube, "Foothill Extension 101" in which I tell about the project, along with some historical background.

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