Mr. Fix-It: A Mechanic Turns from Trying to Save Muni to Trying to Save the World

By Joe Eskenazi : SFWeekly – excerpt

“Here’s how you gotta start your story, dude,” says Mike Cheney, matter-of-factly. “You create this scene where there’s some sort of ceremony out on Altamont Pass and they’re removing the last windmill. They’re pulling down that sucker like it’s a statue of Saddam Hussein!”
In Cheney’s vision, energy sources — including the windmill — will be supplanted by the one he’s invented, which will set right the existing, flawed order…
Every decade and change, a big Mike Cheney story splashes across a San Francisco newspaper. In 1988, a San Francisco Examiner piece titled “‘Pit Bull’ Hounds Muni Management” was illustrated via a bus sporting Cujo fangs. Ten years later, an Ex article called “The Man Who Would Be Muni King” — in which Cheney held forth on how he’d fix the ailing system — was knocked off the front page of the paper’s later editions when an N-Judah train rumbled between Embarcadero and Van Ness stations without a driver….
 (more)

RELATED:
Mike Cheney’s Media History

Muni Overtime: Mechanic Earned $140K in OT Last Year, Too

By Joe Eskenazi : SFWeekly – excerpt

This morning, the Chronicle ran a story about a Muni mechanic nearly tripling his salary via a gaudy $164,000 earned in 1,954 overtime hours.
Going through Muni’s books is a bit like wandering through one of its vehicles — you’re going to step in something unpleasant very quickly. But reporting that Muni is blowing out its overtime budget — or even that electrical mechanic Khoa Trinh is earning metric shitloads of overtime pay — is a bit of a gambling-in-the-casino story…
Stories like Trinh’s get the headlines — and rightfully so. But the problem is larger. When you have chintzy, aging, breakdown-prone equipment being repaired by too few mechanics and a clubby atmosphere in which overtime is doled out as a reward and siphoned to a few favorites, a handful will earn second incomes, and many will pocket a pile. And, remember, someone signed off on this, ostensibly. It sure would be interesting to know why… (more)

RELATED:
The Muni Death Spiral
Muni Has Neglected Maintenance For Years — And It Shows
Muni arrives in S.F.’s top overtime spot