by Examiner Editorial : sfexaminer – excerpt
There are now two incidents in which officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have used handshake agreements with companies to either expedite a process or to avoid it altogether — as was the case with recently revealed news about commuter shuttles. The egregious backroom dealing by the SFMTA and its proxies needs to cease immediately.
In an SF Weekly article in early January, the newspaper documented a handshake deal for new Muni buses that would have the coaches in San Francisco in a more timely manner. The issue is that the buses were delivered to an East Bay facility before the Board of Supervisors approved the contract for the new buses. Officials argued that the deal would have allowed the agency to send the buses back if the contract was not approved.
Then in a Wednesday front-page article, The San Francisco Examiner outlined a handshake agreement between the SFMTA and commuter shuttle companies for the buses to use Muni stops without being penalized. The deal — outlined in a series of emails between the charter companies, the companies that contract with those firms and SFMTA officials — was apparently solid enough that the companies felt they could ask for fines for blocking Muni stops to be waived.
In both cases of the handshake deals with SFMTA officials, it is clear that the agreements sped up what could be a laborious process. And in both cases, it is also clear that the deals may not have exactly broken the letter of the law, but they surely toed that line and broke the spirit of the public process…
If the agency is unable to admit its shortfalls in these situations, it perhaps needs to be left up to the Board of Supervisors or another city office to step in and put additional safeguards into place… (more)
Boundaries, we don’t need no stinkin boundaries!
Then they don’t need no more of our stinkin money. Will someone please put these people out of their misery or must they completely destroy our streets first?
Emails show ‘handshake agreement’ for tech buses using SF transit stops: Emails from The City’s transit agency over the past three years indicate that a “handshake agreement” exists for commuter shuttles to use Muni stops without being cited.
The correspondence also shows that there was internal discussion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency about whether to ticket for the illegal use of the public-bus facilities, while companies and their lobbyists called for leniency and requested citation dismissals.
The inquiries include emails sent to the SFMTA by shuttle providers and the companies that use shuttles…
The identified representative of Google was lobbyist Ross Guehring of the well-known local firm Barbary Coast Consulting, who wrote in an April 10, 2012, email, “I think it would go a long way if these tickets could somehow be reined in during this policy development process.”… (more)