Bullying, verbal abuse, a ‘culture of silence’: independent investigator makes first report on sexual harassment inside SFMTA

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transportation agency is a haven for bullying and verbal abuse — but there is hope for change.

Those are the conclusions of the first report from Mayor London Breed’s independent “ombudsperson” Dolores Blanding, who in October last year was assigned to investigate an alleged culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni.

Blanding’s appointment by Breed on October 5, 2018 followed a series of stories by the San Francisco Examiner that exposed unresolved complaints from women who were groped by colleagues and, in at least one case, allegedly bullied into sex by a superior… (more)

SF Transit boss catches heat for Muni Metro rush hour breakdown

By Rachel Swan : masstransitmag – excerpt

Feb. 06–A switch failure that caused major Muni Metro delays Tuesday morning drew a scalding rebuke from the chair of San Francisco’s transit board, who said it pointed to larger problems with the bus and rail system.

“I have to say this isn’t acceptable,” Chairman Malcolm Heinicke said during Tuesday’s board meeting. Heinicke said that malfunctioning switches have been an issue at Muni for years. He noted that the city’s transportation chief, Ed Reiskin, formed a rapid response team to handle them — which apparently didn’t work…

Reiskin blamed “staffing and communication issues” for preventing Muni from fixing the broken switch more quickly. Normally the San Francisco Transportation Agency keeps two staff members at the switch near Church Street and Duboce Avenue, and another two at the tunnel near Embarcadero Station. But on Tuesday morning only three workers showed up at Embarcadero, and no one was stationed at Church and Duboce… (more)

Muni’s HR director out after allegations sexual harassment complaints were mishandled

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Employees at San Francisco’s transit agency have for months alleged that sexual assault and harassment allegations go largely unheard…

SFMTA Director of Human Resources Don Ellison’s “last day in the office” was Friday, according to an email sent by SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin to all 6,000 SFMTA staff on Monday, which was obtained by the San Francisco Examiner and verified by the SFMTA…

Ellison’s role will be filled, at least temporarily, by interim Acting Director of Human Resources Derek Kim…

Ellison’s exit is not the only SFMTA leadership turnover that appears related to these allegations — John Haley, SFMTA director of transit, retired from the agency last October following a lawsuit from a subordinate alleging he groped her… (more)

Scoot, Skip fail to deliver on promises in first e-scooter accountability report

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : examiner – excerpt

Scoot and Skip pledged helmet lockboxes, low-income programs and more in the applications to The City that helped them earn highly-sought e-scooter pilot program permits.

But in their very first compliance report to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which the agency required after 90 days of permitted operation, those companies revealed they’ve yet to deliver on some of those promises.

“Those were critical promises and commitments made in their original applications. We’re working to ensure their compliance,” said Ben Jose, a spokesperson for the SFMTA.

He added that failing to come into compliance with promises to San Francisco that earned those permits in the first place could lead to dire consequences for the e-scooter companies…

SF’s legal e-scooters, by the numbers
Oct. 15, 2018 — Scoot and Skip launch in SF
22 — Riders who signed up for Skip’s low-income discount program
39,015 — Drivers Licenses approved by Skip to join its platform
4 — Scoot “Kicks” riders caught driving unsafely and warned by the company
39 — Scoot “Kicks” riders caught parking badly and warned by the company
58 — Self-reported collisions on Skip e-scooters… (more)

How can this business plan work when there is little incentive to rent the things, and so many people hate them? They are really cheap to buy, take up no space in your house or  and lightweight enough to carry up stairs to store in an apartment or leave in any bike rack. Just buy one if you want one.

If only our former Mayor now Governor would take it upon himself to take control of the CPUC we might be able to solve some of the problems our state is faced with. CPUC was set up to regulate, not support the public utilities. They are supposed to manage them for the benefit of the public.

When you think about the power the CPUC has over our lives you should worry about the people wielding that power. They unleashed private corporations on our streets and denied local governments the right to regulate them. The traffic jams they created are bad enough, but now they are poised to allow PG&E to pass their legal costs to the ratepayers in the form of higher rates.

Now the Governor plans to tax our drinking water to finance the needs of millions of new citizens moving to California to fill the millions of units of new housing being built. CPuC will likely support that tax on drinking water. If that doesn’t get your attention, not much will.

 

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees

By Richard Speed : theregister – excerpt

And if traffic is slow, that’s just another efficiency saving

New research anticipates congestion problems as owners of self-driving cars allow their steeds to prowl the streets instead of forking out for parking charges.

The paper by Adam Millard-Ball, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was published in the rivetingly named “Transport Policy”.

Millard-Ball makes the point that far from requiring automated parking abilities, such as those trumpeted by the likes of Volkswagen, a self-driving car need never actually park at all. The robotic chariots can simply putter around the streets until the driver is ready for collection… (more)

Is this the nightmare our CPUC is planning to unleash on us next? Constantly prowling auto autos, that never park will congest our streets, waste fuel, and add to the emissions a lot more than private cars that park will. Everyone has noticed the increase in traffic since TNCs arrived on the scene. All hte TNCs at least park at night, while the drivers sleep so the streets are clear at night. Allowing corporation to flood the streets with cars that never park means the traffic will never stop.

We need to implore our Governor to take control of the CPUC.by appointing a new board that will regulate the industries not support them. No one is happy about the PG&E fiasco. Suing them while the CPUC gives them free reign is a waste of taxpayer money. If we had a regulatory agency that regulated the industry we would not need to take it over.

Supervisors call for financial aid fund for merchants harmed by construction

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

From Chinatown to Van Ness Avenue, long-running, much-delayed Muni construction projects have threatened businesses and even caused some to shut down.

Now San Francisco leaders may have a solution: cold hard cash.

The Board of Supervisors, acting in their capacity as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, pitched the idea for a “city construction impact mitigation fund” Tuesday morning

Later in the day, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin told the San Francisco Examiner the proposal could potentially throw a wrench into future transit projects.

Right now, “we’re doing record levels of public construction, the likes we have not seen,” he said. But if project costs go too high “depending on how you set the parameters, it limits the amount of work we could do.”

On Tuesday, however, nine out of the eleven supervisors either signaled future support for a construction mitigation fund openly during Tuesday’s transportation authority meeting or told the San Francisco Examiner that they support it… (more)

Right now, “we’re doing record levels of public construction, the likes we have not seen,” he said. But if project costs go too high “depending on how you set the parameters, it limits the amount of work we could do.”

DO NO HARM sounds like a better goal. Protect the businesses by limiting the projects. The goal to finish the projects not start them. The Supervisors could limit the number of contracts in each neighborhood by only awarding one at a time. Finish the Central Subway before cutting up any more streets within a quarter mile of it. If the project is overly complex, move the businesses into empty storefronts on other streets during the construction.

I remember hearing rumors about rules that used to exist that precluded more than one construction project per block. Limiting SFMTA projects to one per neighborhood would save the taxpayers money instead of adding to the cost. Maybe we should have some incentive built into the system that would award the contractor and the project manager for finishing the projects instead of starting them. All those workers can be directed to the few projects that are underway instead of spreading them thinning all over the city.

If you agree, write your supervisors. This could be the key to solving many of our traffic problems faster than anything else we can do. Less construction would get traffic flowing again. Limiting the noise and dust in the air would improve our healthy and relive the stress on our streets while protecting our businesses.  And best of all, it would cost us nothing because doing less costs less.

‘Da Mayor’ Willie Brown moves into sinking Millennium Tower

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Seriously, readers, some news is too ridiculous to believe — but I swear on my red-dyed mop that the following is a true-blue scoop.

The sinking, tilting Millennium Tower has a new tenant: Da Mayor, hizzoner, Willie Brown…

Citizen — Uncle San Francisco wants you!

The City doesn’t make decisions in a vacuum. From multi-billion dollar rail projects to replacing your neighborhood park’s grass with AstroTurf, citizen commissions weigh in regularly…

The new year brings new opportunities for citizens to join The City’s myriad commissions: There are roughly 83 vacancies across more than 64 commissions, according to the newest annual listing from the Office of the Clerk of the Board.

(That listing doesn’t even include the 20-or-so San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency citizen committees, and a smattering of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission committees.)…

To see the list of vacancies and apply for yourself, check out the list here: https://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/Maddy_Act_Report.pdf (more)

$10 toll considered for Lombard Street

By

Crooked street attracts 2.1 million visitors each year and ire from nearby homeowners

It may sound like a crooked business, but driving down the famous and scenic stretch of Lombard Street switchbacks may soon cost as much as $10 under a plan being considered by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority [SFCTA].

Homeowners on the postcard-famous street have complained to City Hall in recent years about the chronic attention their block receives. The county estimates that this one block, noted for its curvy slope, receives roughly 2.1 million visitors per year… (more)

Can anyone else see where this is going? How many decades of tourists have inched slowly down Lombard taking in the bay view? Why are they a “crisis” after all these years? Could it be that the pubic streets that used to have great views are now clogged with high-rise towers, and only Lombard and Coit Tower are left with a views in North Beach? That would account for the super crowds we are hearing about. How protected are those views?

What next, we charge to ride up Twin Peaks? How about Bernal Heights? Maybe the crisis is brought on by the fact that the public views that used to be so abundant on San Francisco’s famous hills are dwindling as disappearing in the towering condos rising to the sky. We know they block the sun, create shadows and wind tunnels, but, they also kill the views that San Francisco is famous for.

There has been a chorus claiming that views are not legally protected when it comes to personal views, but, how about public views? Are they worth saving? If some people have their way and build high rises at Ocean Beach, the views of the ocean we all get to enjoy as we meander down the hills West of Twin Peaks may disappear. behind a towering condo or hotel. Perhaps it is time to consider how to protect those views while we still can.

Let’s call this what it is. This is a congestion fee. Since the Board of Supervisors took away the absolute power from the SFMTA Board they are lashing out with what they have left. No way are we going to give up our free views in the name of congestion fees. Let your supervisors know how you feel about losing your free pubic views. https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

Taxi drivers ask mayor for reprieve from airport ban

By Kevin Hume : sfexaminer – excerpt

Taxicabs lined up and honk as drivers and advocates rally outside City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 to protest the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s upcoming ban on legacy medallion taxicabs from picking up at San Francisco Airport that begins on February. 1

Taxi drivers rallied outside City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 before dropping off a letter for Mayor London Breed, asking to speak with her about a decision by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to ban taxi drivers with legacy medallions from picking up people at San Francisco International Airport. Taxi advocates estimate the decision, which is to be implemented Feb. 1, will put 60 percent of The City’s taxi drivers out of work… (more)

Mayor Breed was out of town, but Supervisors Fewer, Haney, and Safai spoke at the rally on the San Francisco City Hall steps.

 

She handed a stranger $2,220 cash in a paper bag. Her reward: a BART parking spot

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt (include waiting list, and fill time charts)

It was like a drug deal.

Once a year, Joy Hoffmann would arrive at a Safeway parking lot next to the Lafayette BART Station clutching a paper bag with $2,220 cash. A white car would be idling there, with a woman waiting inside. Hoffmann would furtively hand over the bag, and the woman would give her a plastic tag to hang in her car windshield: 12 months of permitted parking at BART…

Today, the list of applicants is just shy of 41,000 people for 6,512 monthly parking spots scattered throughout the BART system. Board directors will discuss the crunch during an intensive two-day workshop that starts Thursday, where parking likely will emerge as a contentious issue

Board Director Lateefah Simon, whose district stretches from Richmond to downtown San Francisco, said she gained a new perspective on suburban commuting last August, when she moved from West Oakland to North Richmond.

Simon doesn’t drive, so she takes Uber or Lyft to Richmond BART each morning.

“A bus to BART would take 45 minutes, and as a single mom with multiple jobs, I don’t have that kind of time,” Simon said. “I now understand in a different way the complexities of why people need a place to park.”…(more)

Winning comment: “It sounds like a lot of people making decisions about things of which they know little.”

Riders are voting with their feet away from pubic transportation that does not meet their needs. It is a silent boycott of a failed system.