By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt
Two San Francisco supervisors want to divide Muni’s parent agency into two departments. Concerned with The City’s allegedly mismanaged transit policies, supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai have told stakeholders.
Under the proposal, one agency would handle just Muni, and the other would handle San Francisco’s parking and streets, sources with knowledge of the measure told the San Francisco Examiner…
The proposal would also allow supervisors to make appointments to the SFMTA’s seven-member Board of Directors. Right now, directors are only appointed by the mayor.
Peskin and Safai have approached stakeholders with the ballot measure over the last week, and discussed introducing it as an amendment to The City’s charter at next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, according to sources with knowledge of the measure…
I think [Peskin is] having buyer’s remorse about his role in Prop. A,” said Tom Radulovich, executive director of the nonprofit Livable City.
The DPT of old was ideologically committed to moving cars through The City, and transit, walking and cycling always got short changed,” Radulovich said.
But while the SFMTA has tried to focus more on transit and the creation of bike lanes over vehicle traffic, Radulovich feels those efforts are lackluster. He said another major reason the SFMTA was created was to free it from political influence; supervisors would sometimes stop transportation changes that would benefit thousands for the sake of one angry constituent.
But the politicians still throw monkey wrenches into modern-day SFMTA operations, Radulovich said.
The reforms just allow that to happen “behind the scenes,” Radulovich said...(more)
The City is reeling from the disruptions on our streets. We need to shed light into the dark corners of the SFMTA and dissect the billion dollar budget that they have controlled while creating a traffic nightmare. Radulovich is right about the backroom dealings. The fact that the SFMTA Board members have no private emails to communicate directly with the public they are supposed to serve should alarm voters. Who are the gatekeepers who determine what the Board sees and when they see it? Who benefits from the removal of bus seats and stops when the Muni riders overwhelmingly oppose them?
Perfect timing! A change in priorities and policies is needed now. Peskin and Safai are coming through with a brilliant move at the right time. An initiative aimed at changing the power structure of SFMTA would force the candidates for supervisor to take a position showing their true colors, making it easier for voters to determine who to support in those important races.
Top Down Government is losing public support. If the voters approve the move to alter the power structure of SFMTA, making it more accountable to the public, they will send a warning to other government entities that there is a popular revolt against government overreach.