Charter amendment targets mayoral seats on SFMTA board

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Acharter amendment introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee could threaten the mayor’s appointment power over the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors.

The charter amendment proposed by Yee would allow the mayor to appoint four SFMTA board members and the Board of Supervisors would to get appoint three. It would also lower the number of supervisors it takes to reject the transit agency’s budget from seven to six.

Currently, the City Charter allows the mayor to nominate all seven of transit agency’s directors, but nominees still need approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors Eric Mar and Malia Cohen voted in favor of the charter amendment at the board’s Rules Committee on Wednesday. Supervisor Katy Tang voted against it. If approved by the full Board of Supervisors, it would appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Last I checked only six supervisors are needed to put a charter amendment on the ballot.

Yee said at the board’s Rules Committee on June 30 that his constituents from District 7 are calling his office over concerns about some of the decisions that the transit agency makes on The City’s streets: (more comments below.)

“…this is why I am introducing this legislation to see if there is a way to actually change the dynamics so that maybe we could reduce the types of complaints that we get.”…

“There’s an expectation from the public that the Board of Supervisors share the burden of SFMTA’s decisions when we have very little do with who sits on the Board of Directors.”…

“I think a split appoint process allows for a broader, more diverse level of engagement from the public as we have seen at this very committee.”…

“I’m always searching for answers. For me, this is one way to change it. It’s certainly not the only way and I’m willing to sit down with the director, Mr. Reiskin or any of the other Board of Directors to continue that discussion.”… (more)

This is a welcome development in a situation that is rapidly turning into a disaster for many residents and merchants who are lashing out at the Mayor and Supervisors. Complaints are coming from everyone, including drivers, Muni riders, people with families, the elderly and physically challenged. Removal of bus stops and seats from buses is only the last straw.
Plausible deniability is not protecting them from the public anger. This is the year of discord and San Francisco officials are reacting by giving the voters a lot of options to shift the balance of power. The voters should take this opportunity to do just that.

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