Time to tie pay to Muni’s on-time performance

By Jon Golinger : sfexaminer – excerpt

Jerry Brown had a great idea: The people who run Muni should actually ride Muni.

In 1993, a grass-roots citizens group founded by Brown collected thousands of petition signatures and put a measure on the San Francisco ballot requiring the mayor, supervisors, and top city officials to ride Muni or other public transit to work at least twice every week.

In the voter information pamphlet, Brown wrote: “Government is getting out of touch because too many officeholders and city workers act like potentates, not public servants. Send them a message! VOTE YES on AA to get them back to reality by riding the Muni twice a week.”…

In fact, according to a report presented to the Board of Supervisors this spring, Muni’s on-time performance rate last year fell to an all-time low of 57.2 percent, rising this spring to a whopping 60.2 percent — 25 percentage points short of the required goal. Hearing this, Supervisor Scott Wiener reportedly said that he was “pleased with the progress” Muni is making. If that’s progress, what’s failure?

Two measures on November’s ballot propose that San Francisco taxpayers contribute more money for Muni. I think most Muni riders and residents will support these measures and gladly contribute our fair share to fix Muni – as long as we believe we will actually get better service as a result. But clearly, as the last 15 years have shown, more money from riders and taxpayers alone isn’t the only answer to fixing what ails Muni — we also need something else to ensure we get real results: accountability.

A fundamental flaw with prior Muni reforms is that they failed to link measurable performance standards with enforcement mechanisms that would ensure the penalty for failure was felt by the people in charge who failed to do their jobs, not just by Muni riders.

Instead, the salaries for top Muni executives have gone up at the very same time that Muni service has gone down and riders have been repeatedly asked to pay more. According to a report by the city controller, the transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, is one of the highest-paid department heads in San Francisco, making more money than even the mayor, with a salary of $294,000 per year (Ed Lee makes $285,319). Ed Reiskin has nine top deputies who each get paid more than $169,000 per year — a bigger salary than the director of transportation for the entire state of California.

Let’s ensure some real accountability from the people who run Muni by requiring that, any year that Muni fails to meet the 85 percent on-time performance requirement mandated by voters, the head of Muni and his top executives will have their generous salaries reduced by the same percentage that Muni failed to meet its performance goal, with those funds put right back into improving Muni service… (more)

A Brief History of Baseless Pro-Car/Anti-Bike Movements

By Rachel Dovey : publicceo – excerpt

A group of San Francisco activists wants equal rights for cars. Pushing a ballot measure that would limit parking fees, build garages and create a “Motorists Citizen Advisory Committee,” the people behind Restore Transportation Balance believe their city favors bikes and buses over the horseless carriage and that just isn’t the American way…

Theirs is only the latest in a string of initiatives, op-eds and lawsuits bemoaning the plight of auto owners. But in a country built for cars, where feds bail out the auto industry and pour billions into fuel subsidies every year, they sound a bit like property rights groups — majority shareholders grasping at slivers of lost privilege.

Here’s a rundown of pro-car movements that have emerged in the last few years (as Agenda 21 has, no doubt, tightened its red-knuckled fist), along with a list of ways that, in reality, public policy still favors these activists’ cars… (more)

1. Restore Transportation Balance, San Francisco…
2. Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes et al., Brooklyn…
3. The Faceless War on Cars, Seattle…



Man Gets A Parking Ticket In San Francisco, Even Though He’s Never Been To San Francisco

: businessinsider – excerpt

Charlie Carballo, the webmaster for the San Diego radio station Star 94.1, got a parking ticket for violating street-cleaning signs in San Francisco on June 8. The ticket was for $64.

But not only was Carballo not in San Francisco at the time the ticket was issued, he’s never even been to San Francisco. And he has a Foursquare check-in to prove it.

The ticket notice was sent from a collection agency called LDC Collection Systems, that the San Francisco Municipal Parking Agency contracts to collect the funds for outstanding tickets…

Carballo wrote a detailed letter to the SFMTA about why it couldn’t have been his car that was ticketed. “Regarding an additional clerical error on part of LDC Collections and SFMTA, the vehicle make/color listed on your documentation lists my vehicle as BLACK. I drive a WHITE Honda Civic,” he wrote.

The ticket was issued around 2 a.m. PT. But according to a Foursquare check-in just after 8 p.m. PT, he was at a Lionel Richie concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California… (more)

The San Francisco 49ers’ New Football Stadium Is a Dud

 : businessweek – excerpt

On Saturday night, 48,000 people showed up for a soccer game between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders at the brand new Levi’s Stadium located in Silicon Valley… For me, the big takeaway was that the Levi’s Stadium staff has plenty of work to do, and the stadium does not live up to its billing as a technological marvel at all…

What I did notice was that the parking lots around the stadium were at a standstill and that no one seemed to have thought through the public transportation system at all. The stadium is being fed by a light rail line that travels slowly around Silicon Valley. At the Levi’s Stadium station, thousands of people trying to access four different train lines were all funneled through the same area. Insanely, the path to get on the trains required people to walk across the tracks. As a result, the whole station had to come to a halt every time a new train arrived so that it could be filled up and then sent on its way. It typically takes me 15 minutes to drive from my house in Mountain View to the stadium. It took 90 minutes to get home by train. To get back to San Francisco, fans would then need to catch a larger train from Mountain View and ride another hour home. Things should get really exciting when the whole stadium is opened up for the 49ers and 70,000 people, or about one-third more than on Saturday… (more)