Muni cuts ties with contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging, federal fraud

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transportation agency is severing ties with Derf Butler, a city contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and federal fraud last week.

Butler, named in a federal indictment as the owner and president of Butler Enterprise Group, was also named in the federal trial of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow when court documents revealed transcripts of FBI wiretaps where a colleague claimed Butler bribed a San Francisco official.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency told the San Francisco Examiner Monday it has terminated its outstanding contracts with Butler Enterprise Group following Butler’s guilty plea in U.S. District Court last week. The company was awarded two $1.6 million public outreach contracts by the SFMTA in August last year, even after Butler himself was federally indicted in April 2017 for an alleged bid-rigging scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Energy. The company also previously was a subcontractor on the Central Subway project… (more)

Supervisors vent frustrations over reportedly slow, unnecessary roadwork

By Joshua Sabastiani : sfexaminer – excerpt

upside-down

This sign on Bryant and 16th Street illustrates the lack of direction and focus we feel as we navigate the “complete streets” projects springing up in patches all over the city. The anger and frustration is boiling over and being directed at the supervisors. Photo by zrants.

City agencies responsible for roadwork were in for a bumpy ride Wednesday as supervisors aired their frustrations over such issues as sluggish pothole repairs and allegations of wasting $40,000 on an unnecessary bulb-out project at one intersection.

The frustrations built up during a hearing Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee over a road condition report. But the hearing quickly turned into litany of complaints from members of the board. (See meeting transcript Item 1. Update on Street Resurfacing Program and Analysis of the 2016 TRIP Report.)

The tension comes as The City is increasingly investing in repaving roads and changing streetscapes to make them safer for pedestrians and bicycles and more efficient for Muni, in addition to greater investments in sewer and water infrastructure. Complications arising from a private sector development boom have also added to such frustrations…(more)

The Supervisors appear to have divided up the job of investigating various coplaints.

Supervisor Breed complained about an popular $40 K bulbout, but, she missed the extremely expensive sidewalk extensions along the bus stops cost upwards of $250 K. The bulbout campaign to slow the cars is capturing the Muni buses and fire trucks, slowing down instead.

Supervisor Peskins took on the potholes and discovered that the 311 coplaints are marked completed when they are passed to other city departments to be fixed, not when they are completed. He also complained about multiple digs in one area.

Supervisor Fewer voiced her concern that the SFMTA plans to put off pothole repairs on Geary until they start the BRT project. The heavy filled buses do as must damage to the streets as the trucks, so the more buses you have the more larger potholes and Geary is full of heavy full buses.

The hearing comes as Mayor Ed Lee’s budget, which was approved on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, includes $90 million in roadwork investment during the next two years. That investment will fund the resurfacing of at least 600 blocks annually…

“Given this huge investment in our streets, we need to get things right, and that includes investing in and prioritizing coordination,” Peskin said…

Thomas said the coordination is occurring with weekly design meetings among the agencies, bi-weekly meetings with PG&E and a project database charting out work five years ahead.

“Coordination is the key to everything that we do,” Thomas said.

But Fewer said they need to look for ways to augment it.

“We are seeing this added need for greater coordination,” she said…(more)

Residents would say this coordination needs to come with public scrutiny, input and prioritization. the five year plan needs to be a two0-year plan that matches the budget allotment.

RELATED:
Analysis: Traffic-slowing construction projects have doubled in SF in past decade

The Unpopular SFMTA Used to Poll Neighbors Before Permanently Installing Traffic Circles, But Not Anymore – Why’s That?

sfcitzen – excerpt

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because the SFMTA dramatically overestimated its popularity and the popularity of traffic circles being plopped down in the middle of intersections.

Isn’t that pathetic? It held all these mini-elections and it lost every last one.

So these days, there are no more mini-elections and the SFMTA is free to spin however it wants…

See how that works? Instead of trying to win community support the way it did ten years ago, today’s SFMTA simply assumes whatever it does has “community support.” ‘Cause if the SFMTA had any more neighborhood plebiscites about traffic circles, it knows that it would lose once again…  (excerpt)

That is why voters are expected to vote for the Restore Transportation Balance initiative and vote against the $500 million dollar bond measure. Cutting off the money supply is the only way to stop them. It stopped the escalation of parking meters and is the only thing, short of a Charter Amendment, that voters and Supervisors can do to stop the SFMTA.

When you vote in November support Supervisors who share you opinions on the SFMTA.

Report: Muni Breakdowns Cost Commuters $4.2 Million Last Month Alone

by Dan McMenamin : sfappeal – excerpt

San Francisco Municipal Railway service disruptions cost commuters at least $50 million in economic production annually and the system remains far away from its on-time service goals, according to a report released today by city officials.
The quarterly report by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials and city economist Ted Egan was requested earlier this year by Supervisor Scott Wiener, who held a hearing of the Board of Supervisors’ land use and economic development committee to discuss the report’s findings.
The report, which Wiener said he believed was the first of its kind in the city, found that Muni breakdowns cost at least $4.2 million in lost productivity for commuters in April, or at least $50 million each year…
Wiener is also considering various ways to boost revenue to fund Muni improvements.
Last week, he asked the city controller’s office to assess the economic impact of a surcharge of $1 to $3 that could be added to prices of tickets for large events such as baseball games and concerts and would go toward maintaining the Muni system… (more)

Suggestions for other revenue sources:
Portland City Club Report Recommends Taxing Bike Sales to pay for bike lanes

Time for SFMTA to quit spending all their money and their time on future perfect projects and get down and dirty with the engineers and mechanics and help them do the job of getting the people who need the Muni where they need to go. Leave the rest of us alone.

Comments welcome on the source site.

SFMTA Steps-Up Parking Enforcement in Bayview

Yael Chanoff : potreroview.net – excerpt

Anyone who has driven a car in San Francisco knows how challenging parking can be. Vehicle owners often need to find creative solutions to store their cars. One trick, parking on the sidewalk, can trigger a $110 ticket. But that sanction isn’t always enforced.
In response to frustration expressed by Bayview residents, who want more cars ticketed for sidewalk parking, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently cracked down on the practice. On February 28, parking citation officers (PCO) issued more than 200 tickets to cars parked on Bayview sidewalks. The tickets were in response to citizen complaints, said Paul Rose, SFMTA spokesperson.
According to some Bayview residents, when they see PCOs — also known as metermaids — they’re often accompanied by police escorts. PCOs, said one resident, “get threatened. If someone’s going to threaten you, your family, or your life, with a gun, because that’s what happens around here, you ain’t writing the ticket.”… (more)