Wiener, Transit Activists Raid Nonprofit Funding

by Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

If Supervisor Scott Wiener and transit activists get their way, San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents will face millions of dollars in budget cuts next year. Wiener’s Prop B raids $22 million in annual funding for nonprofits and sends the money to that bottomless funding pit known as the SFMTA—with no money earmarked for MUNI service.

How is such a mandated money grab possible in progressive San Francisco? How could Wiener, who came to office backed by real estate speculators and only supports tenant measures he has no power to enact, get progressive transit activists, five other supervisors and the San Francisco Democratic Party to raid $22 million annually from already underfunded nonprofit services?

It is a cynical story. It involves Wiener betraying nonprofits, putting the $500 million transit bond at risk, and backstabbing Mayor Lee all for the goal of giving no-strings money to an SFMTA that has failed to translate a decade of steep budget increases into improved MUNI service.

Wiener’s War on Nonprofits

I understand why Wiener backs Prop B. Wiener is the Board member most opposed to nonprofits. He fought to eliminate the nonprofit exemption on Transit Impact Development Fees.  Wiener pushed for the proposed Vehicle License Fee to go 100% to transit, though it had originally been intended to be partially available for human services. He has never led efforts to increase annual cost of doing business funding for the nonprofit sector.

Wiener knows that Prop B takes money from nonprofit budgets. That’s why he recently voted against the David Campos resolution to put the Board on record backing a supplemental appropriation for nonprofit worker salary hikes if the city’s budget is doing well mid-year. Wiener knows there won’t be a dime left for nonprofits if Prop B passes; otherwise he would have backed Campos’ resolution (which got seven votes)..

What’s troubling is that after progressive Board members allowed nonprofit workers to get stiffed in the recent budget process, they then joined Wiener’s plan to take an additional $22 million from nonprofits each year… (more)

We were asked who is fighting Prop B and this is what we found. We were aware of the struggle between non-profits for funding, but Mr. Shaw gives us more details than we anticipated. If you care you should read the entire article and comment at the source.

The SFMTA May Soon Test a Smartphone Ticketing App for Muni Riders

resetsanfrancisco – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency recently announced its plans to run a six-month trial for using a smartphone ticketing app for Muni riders to pay their fares.

Easier for Riders

… Although riders already have the option of buying a Clipper Card, the app would, in theory, best aid riders who don’t want to bother with the card, or don’t want to fumble for their wallet every time they get on a crowded train during rush hour. The app however, is not intended to replace Clipper, though will be a better alternative to light rail fare cards for some.

SFGate reported that the app will “allow passengers to pay single-ride, cable car and special event fares, and buy visitor passports using their smart phones,” however the app will not include Fast Passes on phones… (more)

How many ways can you say “Privileged?”

Smart phone apps are fine for the riders who can afford them and the banks and Apple who will share in the transaction fees that will be added to each ticket charged on the smart phones. How will a smart phone app help the less affluent Muni riders?

Dear Scott and Ed: About Sunday Parking for Religious Orgs

By missionlocal – excerpt

At least one Liberty Hill resident is unhappy. Elizabeth Zitrin sent this letter to Ed Reiskin, from the SFMTA and Supervisor Scott Wiener. She added a link to the church’s website.

If you would like to add your unhappiness, please comment or send Reiskin an email at ed.reiskin@sfmta.com and Wiener an email at Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org.

Dear Scott and Ed,

This picture was taken looking south on Guerrero between 18th & 19th Streets at 6:27 pm on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

This ongoing illegal parking by protected private churches who guard their privilege, and are protected by you and SFMTA, continues to create traffic hazards.

There is, as you well know, no application process for this privileged parking in a public roadway, no permit, no accountability, no person in the government or agencies of CCSF who claims to provide this special service and protection, no enforcement by SFMTA and years of absolutely no help from you for you constituents.

I ask you again to stop this dangerous and illegal occupation of active public roadways by private religious organizations… (more)

Thank you.

Elizabeth Zitrin

Liberty Hill

This is a divide and conquer tactic by the SFMTA. If you don’t like they are handling traffic and parking, privatizing public parking spaces, forcing more vehicles to double park, slowing traffic and creating gridlock, tell the city authorities you have had enough! Vote NO on A and B (no money without accountability) and YES on L: Restore Transportation Balance:
http://www.restorebalance14.org

Walnut Creek Parking Meter Glitch Fixed After Malfunction Produced Unwarranted Tickets

cbslocal – excerpt

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) – A glitch found in some new downtown Walnut Creek parking meters that left at least 100 drivers with unwarranted parking tickets has been fixed, city officials said.

Sensors near the new “smart meters” installed downtown last year are designed to wirelessly signal to the meter when a vehicle enters and leaves a parking spot, city officials said.

But some of the sensors were too sensitive, causing them to erroneously reset and prompting parking enforcement officers to issue tickets, according to Matt Huffaker, assistant to the City Manager… (more)

Or in the case of the sensors in SF, the batteries died.

Enough about the bikes, bikes, bikes

By Joe Wos: post-gazette - excrept

Sure, make more bike lanes, but Pittsburgh has bigger transportation issues to deal with. In case you missed it, on Sept. 3 our Mayor Bill Peduto and representatives of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust held a press conference for a bike rack. This will come as little surprise in a city that launches fireworks for the opening of an envelope. But this press conference for the illustrious inanimate rack was just the beginning. That same day the city installed five bike racks — allowing for the parking of literally tens of bicycles in the Golden Triangle. The mayor has made it one of his prime initiatives to make this a bike-friendly city. The bike rack itself had no comment.

Pittsburgh is now the 35th best city to bike in, according to Bicycling.com. The press conference was a harbinger of things to come as Pittsburgh ramps up its ongoing efforts to gather as many “best of” list rankings as possible. Throughout Lawrenceville, hipsters rejoiced when Pittsburgh added bike lanes heading into Downtown, enabling white men with bushy beards and black-rim plastic glasses a quicker way to get Downtown to play their banjos on street corners…

Drivers are not unwilling to share the road, but they do expect bicyclists to abide by traffic laws, too. How many times have you seen bicyclists run red lights or drive on city sidewalks — flying above the law like some sort of magical Pegasus-Unicorn combination of bike and pedestrian?

Safety is a real concern, and we need to educate not just automobile drivers, but also bicyclists. Drivers are willing and able to share the road responsibly. But saying that will just further pump up the ire of bicyclists who argue that automobiles are the problem, period…

The bike movement is a convenient distraction from issues such as race. Make no mistake; this is partly about race. It is about white privilege and entitlement… (more)

Some claim that parking is a privilege not a right.
Is living in San Francisco is a privilege as well?
And who gets to determine who is privileged?

Transportation Planners Consider Program To Keep Cars From Blocking San Francisco Intersections

By Jeffrey Schaub : cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The City of San Francisco is considering initiating a program called “Don’t Block the Box’” to get drivers to stop clogging up intersections as they leave during the afternoon commute or head to a Giants’ games.

It’s become epidemic on the city’s streets: Frustrated motorists sitting in the middle of an intersection blocking pedestrian crossings and stopping cross traffic.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recently completed a six-day increased enforcement period, including tests on two South Of Market intersections. Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., 1,100 vehicles blocked the crosswalks and few nights later, parking control officers wrote up $100 tickets. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the number of cars sitting in the intersection dropped significantly… (more)

If SFMTA really cared about clearing intersections they would do a better job of timing traffic signals.

Dan Walters: If bicyclists want respect and safety, they should act like they deserve it.

By Dan Walters : sacbee – excerpt

Hilary Abramson is one of the most talented and prolific journalists ever to practice the craft in Sacramento.

She’s also a personal friend for the past four decades, and thus it was horrifying to learn that she had been clobbered by a young bicyclist who was riding illegally on the sidewalk near her downtown apartment, causing very serious and permanent injuries.

The bicyclist paused briefly, then pedaled off without leaving his name – which, if he had been a motorist, would have been felony hit-and-run driving and earned him up to four years behind bars.

Hilary wrote about the incident in a lengthy Sacramento Bee article last month and about her mission to protect pedestrians from bicyclists who commonly use sidewalks as their personal paths…

We get it that bicyclists want respect and protection as they share roads with cars. But the flip side is that bicyclists need to drop the arrogance that too many exhibit as they cut in and out of traffic, blow through red lights and stop signs, and imperil pedestrians by careening down sidewalks.

The three-foot clearance law should be matched by one that absolutely prohibits bicycles on sidewalks statewide with stiff fines for violation, and another that makes hit-and-run bicycling just as much a crime as hit-and-run driving.

Moreover, if bicyclists want to be taken seriously, they should also be paying some of the cost of marking bicycle lanes and building bike paths, rather than making motorists pick up the tab, as the pending bill would do.

Fair is fair. With privileges come responsibilities, both legal and financial. And receiving respect means acting like you deserve it(more)

Costly New Parking Garages Still Gobbling Up Land at BART Stations

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

BART continues to encourage the construction of multi-story parking garages at its stations, despite the exorbitant costs and lost potential for valuable land that could be put to better use…

Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich, who sits on the BART board, said he’s “appalled that we wasted tens of millions of dollars building a commuter garage at an urban station like MacArthur.”

“Ridership kept growing at that station despite the reduction in parking during construction, which demonstrates that we could have done perfectly well without it,” he said. “Many of our highest-ridership stations — Balboa Park, Berkeley, 19th, 16th, 24th, Glen Park — have little or no commuter parking. At stations like MacArthur, Ashby, West Oakland, and Lake Merritt, we should be phasing out parking as we build transit villages, and enhance walking, cycling, and local transit access instead of building structured parking.”… (more)

What happened to customer service? BART is trying to bring it back by building more garages and extending late night hours by partnering with bus lines:
BART to try late-night bus service for passengers

In spite of the BART Director, the majority of elected BART Board members appear to be more inclined to listen to their customers than the appointed SFMTA Board. That may be why many SF residents are planning to vote No vote on Props A and B and Yes on L.

Citizens want more parking garages built near freeway exits and transit hubs and do not expect to have their wishes met by the current MTA Board. Transportation issues along with housing will determine the outcome of some Supervisor races as voters become ever more fed up with gridlock and the parking wars. And, as Engardio points out in the sfexaminer, Commuters can have a say on BART service. Do your own research before you vote on anything. Make sure you are voting for your interests, because no on else is.

Home Story Bad roads, congested commutes cost state drivers $44 billion a year, report says

California drivers pay a staggering $44 billion a year in extra car costs because of traffic jams that seemingly grow worse by the day, spreading potholes and outdated roads and bridges, according to a national highway advocacy group.

 Some Bay Area drivers fork over as much as $2,200 a year, according to a report released Thursday by The Road Information Program, or TRIP.
The latest report isn’t telling regional transportation officials anything they haven’t heard before, but it remains sobering…

Driving on deficient roads costs each San Francisco-Oakland-area driver $2,206 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs, according to the report. In the South Bay, it’s $1,723 a year per driver, and Los Angeles drivers have it the roughest, forking out $2,458 a year.

 The TRIP study found that 49 percent of major roads in the San Francisco-Oakland area are in poor condition and an additional 30 percent are mediocre, costing the average motorist an additional $795 each year in extra vehicle operating costs.
 That’s due to accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased gas use and tire wear, said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, a TRIP spokeswoman…
Traffic officials spread out across the state Thursday to spread the worrisome news and promote measures to raise funds for more pavement and public transit. Alameda County will seek a sales tax hike in the November election, and Santa Clara County is expected to do so in two years. A statewide measure to raise the vehicle license fee could also be on the 2016 ballot, and numerous cities, including San Francisco, are also considering an appeal to voters… Direct link to PDF of report:…  (more)
MTCfundingchart
According to this chart, the regional transit authority plans to demand more revenues from residents while proving less service. We are working on a list of ballot proposals that voters are facing in November.
So far in SF we have Props A and B that would expand the revenues of the SFMTA and the counter proposal, Prop L to change their priorities.
We favor No on A and B (No more money without accountability.) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation Balance.

 

The SFMTA Has a New, Friendly Blog, and Readers Seem Suspicious.

By : sfweekly – excerpt

Did you know that the SFMTA has a new blog, Moving SF? Seemingly timed with the recent 25-cent fare increase, the parent agency of Muni has decided its image problem has grown dire, and wants to give the everyday commuter (that’d be you!) insight into the workings of one of the most disliked government bodies.

“We want to start telling your our story,” says the Aug. 28 inaugural post.

As SF Citizen already so poignantly put it: That’s just bull shit. But as just as every powerful actor needs a good foil or two, Moving SF’s comments section has already become very lively. Looking beyond the acrimonious debates over the merits of the GBUS TO MTV and its fellow corporate shuttles, it appears that any official attempt at propagandizing the beleaguered strap-hanging populace with the SFMTA party line will at least be matched by well-informed opposition down below.

A subsequent post brought it all out. An introduction to a new Q&A feature about city streets, it solicited inquiries from readers and got a mouthful in reply:…

Could it be that SFMTA and Muni are attempting to curry favor with ordinary San Franciscans in order to get half a billion dollars at precisely the moment when tenants are feeling the squeeze more than ever? Time will tell. If Moving SF doesn’t want to volunteer its motives, its vivacious commenters just might wring it out of them… (more)

The least trusted city agency, that has the gall to blame the public for it’s failures, now wants to “play nice” to convince us to allow them to float another $850 million plus of public debt. (after you add in the interest on the bonds) And the Fed just downgraded Muni bonds this week.

They must think we are dumber than we do.

We say No on A and B (no more money without accountability) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation Balance (demand accountability)

REALATED:
The SFMTA’s New MUNI Blog Urges You to Raise Your Rent by Voting YES on the Half Billion Dollar Prop A, More or Less