Look at this mess:
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I see cops where there ought to be fanboys/fangirls…
If a fanboy camps out on Stockton Street for an iPhone but no one is around to see him, does it make a sound?
Look at this mess:
Click to expand
I see cops where there ought to be fanboys/fangirls…
If a fanboy camps out on Stockton Street for an iPhone but no one is around to see him, does it make a sound?
Here’s the latest anti-Auto Return bit from CW Nevius.
I don’t know, Neve, what do you want? It sounds like you want the City Family to fight harder for the Commonweal, to make better deals when it deals with private companies.
And that’s fine, but you’re a little inconsistent, you dig?
Speaking of digging, what about the corrupt Central Subway project? The last you wrote about that was all the way back in 2008. Why is it that you write about little fish like Auto Return but not big fish like, I don’t know, AECOM?
Oh what’s that, you actually think the Central Subway is a horrible execution of a bad idea but you don’t want to offend all your sources in the City Family? That’s pretty weak, Neve.
Or what about the America’s Cup boondoggle that you used to cheer lead for so much. Didn’t The City strike a bad deal with AC34?
And what about Recology? You seem to support that expensive monopoly and its dealings.
But that’s small potatoes compared with the deal San Francisco made with Auto Return?
What do you want, you want to get rid of the AutoReturn contract and then hire a bunch of expensive new City employees to tow cars? I guarantee you that that would cost SF more money.
Or maybe you want tow fees to be increased overall in order to subsidize police tows?
Or maybe you want revenge against the company what towed your ride last year, you know, when you were a naive newcomer in the 415?
I think that’s it!
We’ve made a lot of progress today, CW. Leave your check with my secretary on the way out…
Right? ‘Cause after the car of C.W. Nevius got towed in February, he stepped up his campaign against AutoReturn, the company what gets called by DPT / SFMTA when your car is blocking rush hour traffic.
So nowadays, he considers San Francisco’s policy of towing away cars blocking rush hour lanes a “scam,” which means he thinks the whole process is a “fraudulent business scheme.”
Does he think that the SFMTA should just leave cars untouched, making all those “NO STOPPING, NO PARKING” signs merely advisory?
It’s not clear.
AutoReturn: Our name makes us sound like we’re a department of the SFPD – isn’t that funny? WERE UNDER UR FREEWAY, DETAINING UR CARZ:
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Now, what the Auto Return tow truck driver should have done was make up some excuse instead of towing the ride of The Nevius on that Fateful Day. You know, “technical difficulties” or something like that to buy some more time for the San Francisco Chronicle’s least intelligent employee. That would have allowed the Neve to correct his mistake by simply hopping in and driving off to the East Bay or wherever the hell he lives these days.
It wouldn’t be hard to implement a NO TOW NEVIUS policy. You know, back in the day, Willie Brown used to get pulled over all the time by the CHP when he was driving waaaaay too fast* on the I-80 back and forth to Sacramento. After Willie got stopped twice in one trip, he put a hold on the CHP’s budget. So the CHP issued Willie’s photo to all the officers on I-80 with instructions to “memorize this face” in order to give Willie favorable treatment. (Read the whole story below.) The point is that AutoReturn should find which cars CW Nevius parks illegally on the Streets of San Francisco and then give a picture of each one to all their tow truck drivers and then tell them“DO NOT TOW THESE PARTICULAR CARS!”
“From UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004 (formerly eScholarship Editions), it’s:
From four decades ago, Chapter 15, Mr. Chairman:
“One afternoon Brown briskly walked into a budget conference committee meeting late and looking angry. He immediately sat down next to [Senator] Collier and asked for a “point of personal privilege.” Collier granted him the courtesy, and Brown asked to return to an item in the budget to appropriate funds to purchase guns and other equipment for the California Highway Patrol. Brown then demanded that the funds be deleted from the budget. The trust between the two was so great that Collier asked no questions, immediately complied, and struck the CHP equipment appropriation.
At the end of the meeting, [aide Robert] Connelly asked his boss what was going on with the Highway Patrol. “He was so mad, he wouldn’t talk about it.” Finally, Brown told Connelly that he had been stopped not once but twice by CHP officers that day on his way to Sacramento from San Francisco along Interstate 80 in his bright red Porsche. Each time, the officers walked over to Brown and said, “Hey, boy, where’d you get this car?”
Connelly quickly found the CHP’s lobbyist and told him what had happened. “The guy’s eyeballs rolled clear back into his skull. He said, ‘We’ll fix it.’” By the next morning, the CHP was distributing photographs of Willie Brown to officers along the Interstate 80 corridor between San Francisco and Sacramento with orders to “memorize this face.” The CHP got its appropriation back—and more.
Brown championed pay raises for CHP officers by authoring a bill that tied their salaries to a formula based on the salaries of large municipal police forces. The measure gave Highway Patrol officers a windfall raise, and then an automatic pay raise every time one of the unionized city forces got a new contract.”
*You’d see him go past as a red blur, hauling ass. He had a Porsche 911, a Mazda Miata (sold to him at a discount, you know, cause Willie is special), an Acura NSX (sold to him at a discount, per the instructions of Honda USA, you know, because Willie is special), and others.
That’s right, the SFMTA isn’t sponsoring this one-day event next week and it isn’t invited neither.
SAVEMUNI.COM FORUM - THE FUTURE OF TRANSIT IN SAN FRANCISCO
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2012, 10:30 AM TO 4:00 PM
Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, S.F.
“SaveMuni.com will be holding a Forum on the Future of Transit in San Francisco at the Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library, on Saturday, August 18. Registration starts 10 am; program begins 10:30 am.
The morning session deals with the current state of transit in San Francisco, and the afternoon session takes up ideas for improvements in Muni service and financing.
transportation engineer Gerald Cauthen,
disabled rights activist Bob Planthold,
Tom Rubin, CPA who has been the chief financial officer of two of the largest transit agencies in the United States,
public policy consultant Bob Feinbaum,
architect Howard Wong, and
foreperson Linda Clardy of the 2010-11 SF Civil Grand Jury.
Co-sponsors of the Forum include the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Tomorrow, Sierra Club and TransForm.”
See you there the Saturday after next!
A few more deets on what SAVE MUNI has been up to the past month or so:
Muni Transportation Forum:
A Muni Transportation Forum, sponsored by SaveMuni and other groups will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Library, beginning at 10:00 am. The focus of the Forum will be on the general problems that prevent Muni from operating at full effectiveness and on some broad approaches to improving the situation.
Central Subway Litigation News:
August 4, 2012: To our knowledge there are at least three separate lawsuits now in progress or pending against the Central Subway. Any of them could block or significantly alter the project. More revelations to come.
Central Subway Disconnected from Muni:
Current: The Central Subway would be disconnected from the Market Street corridor, Muni Metro, BART, Ferries, Transbay Terminal, High-speed Rail, regional and statewide transit networks. Central Subway riders would have to travel on foot for over 1,200 feet to reach the Powell Muni Metro/BART Station. As part of the Subway project, today’s bus service into northeastern San Francisco would be cut by 50%. Most of today’s Stockton Street Muni users would find their subway trips to be longer than today’s bus trips.
Today’s Stockton Street bus riders can easily transfer to Muni LRV lines J, K, L, N, M, F and T and to Muni east-west bus lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 9L, 10, 12, 14, 14L, 14x, 21, 31, 71, 71L and 76. Connections to every one of these 24 east-west lines as well as to all the BART lines would be substantially less convenient from the Central Subway than from today’s Stockton Street bus lines.
Central Subway Milestones:
August 29, 2011: SFMTA’s False Claims: Charts, developed from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s(SFMTA’s) own data, compare Central Subway ridership, costs and trip times. The charts illustrate how the SFMTA was telling the Feds one thing and San Franciscans another. ChartsTARAugust2911.pdf“
Is this what the busy intersection of Stockton and Market is going to look like for the next five years?
Click to expand – looking north from Market and Fourth Street.
Who would design a political system that would assign more power to a former Mayor than the current Mayor?
It’s a mystery…
Anyway, let’s hope the ridiculous three-way light setup at this intersection is now back to two-way light so Market Street traffic won’t be choked as much as it’s been up ’til now.
“The Subway to Nowhere. House Chamber, Washington, D.C. June 27, 2012. Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA).”
This amendment forbids further federal expenditures for the Central Subway project in San Francisco.
The project is a 1.7 mile subway that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion –– and those cost estimates continue to rise. Its baseline budget has more than doubled in nine years and shows no signs of slowing. The current estimate brings the cost to nearly $1 billion per mile. That’s five times the cost per lane mile of Boston’s scandalous “Big Dig.”
It was supposed to link local light rail and bus lines with CalTrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit, but it’s so badly designed that it bypasses 25 of the 30 light rail and bus lines that it crosses. To add insult to insanity, it dismantles the seamless light-rail to BART connection currently available to passengers at Market Street, requiring them instead to walk nearly a quarter mile to make the new connection. Experts estimate it will cost commuters between five and ten minutes of additional commuting time on every segment of the route.
The Wall Street Journal calls it “a case study in government incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.”
They’re not alone. The Civil Grand Jury in San Francisco has vigorously recommended the project be scrapped, warning that maintenance alone could ultimately bankrupt San Francisco’s Muni. The former Chairman of the San Francisco Transportation Agency has called it, “one of the costliest mistakes in the city’s history.”
Even the sponsors estimate that it will increase ridership by less than one percent, and there is vigorous debate that this projection is far too optimistic.
I think Margaret Okuzumi, the Executive Director of the Bay Rail Alliance put it best when she said,
“Too many times, we’ve seen money for public transit used to primarily benefit people who would profit financially, while making transit less convenient for actual transit riders. Voters approve money for public transit because they want transit to be more convenient and available…it would be tragic if billions of dollars were spent on something that made Muni more time consuming, costly and unable to sustain its overall transit service.”
This administration is attempting to put federal taxpayers – our constituents — on the hook for nearly a billion dollars of the cost of this folly through the “New Starts” program – or more than 60 percent. We have already squandered $123 million on it. This amendment forbids another dime of our constituents’ money being wasted on this boondoggle.
Now here is an important question that members may wish to ponder: “Why should your constituents pay nearly a billion dollars for a purely local transportation project in San Francisco that is opposed by a broad, bi-partisan coalition of San Franciscans, including the Sierra Club, Save Muni (a grassroots organization of Muni Riders), the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods, and three of the four local newspapers serving San Francisco?
I’m sorry, I don’t have a good answer to that question. But those who vote against this amendment had better have one when their constituents ask, “What in the world were you thinking?”
# # #
This amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (HR 5972) was approved by the House on June 29th. The legislation next goes to the Senate.
Even if we were going to get the useless Central Subway for free, it still wouldn’t be worth it because we’re going to have to pay eight figures a year to operate it.
That money is going to have to come from existing operations, like, I don’t know, the #5 Fulton, which turns away passengers on a daily basis in the Western Addition.
No room for you, potential passengers:
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This happens every day.
Of course, another bus will come by soon but it too will be full of the other people who’ve been passed by.
Is this how you roll, MUNI, passing people by with full buses every day?
It looks like it will be up to Congress to stop the horrible, out-of-control Central Subway Project. That’s our last chance.
Click on the 13-minute video below to listen to former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin succinctly make the case for killing this turkey.
And here’s some coverage from the local press:
Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly: Central Subway Critics: Costly Boondoggle Can Still Be Stopped
Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle: Reinforcements enlisted in battle against Central Subway
And oh, hey, what about San Francisco’s #1 Mayor Ed Lee Kiss-Ass / Suck-up, you know, San Francisco Chronicle writer CW Nevius, what does he think of the Central Subway?
Oh, but that was all the way back in 2008 and, you know, these days The Nevius doesn’t have the stones, apparently, to comment about this particular boondoggle anymore. Oh well.
(Is Aaron Peskin a good public speaker?
Yes, Aaron Peskin a good public speaker.)
And oh, how can Federal Transit Administration leader Peter Rogoff get away with saying that the Central Subway will reduce trip time from 27 minutes to 7 minutes?
This is a complete fantasy.
Is he seriously misinformed or is he lying? I can’t tell.
Does he mean that the pink bag mafia will spend an average of seven minutes descending 30+ yards down into Mother Earth and waiting for the short line? Is that what he means? But that by itself doesn’t get you anywhere you want to go. It just gets you 30 yards beneath C-Town.
Anyway Congress, please, please, please kill this boondoggery.
If San Francisco could magically get the “Subway to Nowhere” Central Subway installed today for free it would still be a bad deal for San Francisco, mostly owing the very small amount benefits it would provide to a very small number of people and the very large hole it would put into MUNI”s annual budget.
But unless the Feds help out San Francisco by cancelling funding, politically connected players such as AECOM are all set to make a mint off of this project. Oh well.
Anyway, San Francisco officials are still trying to reassure the Feds about how great this horrible project is going, so, as of tomorrow, we’ll be on the hook for another $100,000,000, or so, to make up for the fact that California doesn’t want to chip in the money.
Check it out, from SaveMuni.com:
“On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.
A shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget. In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California.” This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.”
Here are the deets:
April 30, 2012
MTA’s Stealth Maneuver to Commit Additional City Funds to the Central Subway
On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.
MTA Board Agenda, Tuesday, May 1, 2012: See Item 10.4.
The cost of the MTA’s Central Subway project has ballooned from $647 million to the current estimate of $1.58 billion.i The original plan was for $983 million of this total to come from the federal government, $471 from the State of California and $124 million from San Francisco’s Prop K sales tax fund.
In attempting to sell the subway to the public, MTA has repeatedly called the public’s attention to its “success” in leveraging a mere $124 million City & County contribution into a $1.58 billion subway.ii However, a shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget.
In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California”. This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.
The MTA is caught between a skittish Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) appropriately worried about the MTA’s financial ability to handle the Central Subway project and a huge shortfall in the non-federal share of the project budget. The MTA apparently believes the solution to this problem is to skim millions of dollars a year from already overburdened Muni revenues, in order to sell revenue bonds as necessary to make up for the loss in State capital—all in hopes that the action will reassure the feds and therefore put the hoped-for federal grant back on track.
The best that could be said of the MTA’s plan is that it is extremely risky. By far, the most important element of that risk is that the costs of servicing the revenue bonds, coupled with an indeterminate amount of project overrun (estimated by CGR Management Consultants to be as high as $422 million), could result in unacceptably high Muni fare increases and/or unacceptably damaging Muni service cuts.”
Ever more deets after the jump
I’ll tell you, I don’t exactly know how San Francisco managed to get (basically) free water and (basically) free electricity through flooding half of the good part of the Yosemite National Park area, but somehow, through bribery, corruption or whatnot, we got a sweetheart deal to take advantage of Hetch Hetchy in perpetuity.
Of course the right thing to do would be to start sharing the benefits of Hetch Hetchy with the rest of California, or at least pay market price for what we’re getting, or just tear down the damn dam altogether. Something like that.
But the single-party state of San Francisco doesn’t want to do anything like that. The single-party state of San Francisco wants to hold on to the Hetch Hetchy deal for as long as possible. Maybe some Republicans can help us find the right path…
Speaking of which, the federally-funded Central Subway [cough, BIG DIG II, cough - and you know, Boston's Big Dig is different because it had a chance to actually benefit people] project is useless and horribly corrupt. It will burden San Francisco for decades, whether it gets used or not.
Why don’t we stop this thing [cough, BRIDGE TO NOWHERE, cough] right now? And Feds, why not just call it even? So we won’t pay you back the $200,000,000 but you all will end up saving big bucks.
It’ll be up to you, Congressional Republicans, to save us from wasting money on the Central Subway [cough, ROAD TO NOWHERE, cough - hey, I bet you didn't know about that one!]
The Central Subway to Chinatown is the replacement for our long-dead Embarcadero Freeway to Chinatown. And somehow, calling the Central Subway the Subway to Nowhere is considered racist and hurtful, but calling the Embarcadero Freeway the Freeway to Nowhere, well, that’s good times. See?
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“YOUR TURN! RE-SCRUTINIZE THE CENTRAL SUBWAY BOONDOGGLE.
Everyone should re-scrutinize the Central Subway—in light of growing Muni deficits and cutbacks. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) hasn’t granted final approvals. And Congress has a mandated 60-day review period. Instead, let’s shift hundreds of millions of dollars into citywide Muni.
The Central Subway means more Muni service cuts and fare/ fee increases.
The Central Subway Project has drained over $500 million of state and local funding from the citywide Muni system. Facing a $19.6 million deficit in 2012 and $33.6 million in 2013, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) threatens more service cuts and fare/ fee increases—after cuts/ increases in 2009 and 2010. SFMTA projects $1.6 billion in budget deficits and $25.4 billion of capital needs over the next twenty years. While Muni infrastructure crumbles, Muni’s $1.9 billion in deferred maintenance is a ticking nuclear bomb.
Muni wouldn’t have budget deficits—if scarce dollars were used wisely.
The Central Subway Project has usurped over $500 million of state/ local funds from system-wide Muni needs—exacerbating system meltdowns and rider discontentment. Service cuts, fare increases, parking/ meter rate hikes, painful traffic citations and frustrated Muni riders have subsidized the Central Subway Project. No degree of service cuts and fare/fee increases will offset Muni’s mismanagement of assets and existing funds.
PROP K 2003 has higher, legally-mandated citywide Muni priorities.
Instead of the tiny 1.7 mile Central Subway, hundreds of miles of Transit Preferential Streets can be created with the Central Subway’s existing state/ local funds—benefiting all Muni riders, taxpayers and neighborhoods.
With its uniqueness, character, Mediterranean-scale, geographic beauty and topographic splendor, San Francisco’s northeast quadrant is a natural pedestrian realm. The distance from Downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf is 1-½ miles. Columbus Avenue is 1 mile long. Washington Square is 1 mile from the Powell BART/Metro Station. Chinatown is ½ mile from Market Street. As seen in cities throughout the world, these are distances opportune for a pulsating street life.
From an urban planning perspective, robust pedestrian and surface transit assures wider economic vitality—with very efficient costs and more immediate jobs.
The Central Subway’s own reports depict an abysmal project.
CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) cites pervasive Muni safety Issues.
In the 3-6-12 SFMTA Board Agenda: “Conference with Legal Counsel: Existing Litigation—Investigation into the Operations, Practices and Conduct of the SFMTA Regarding Ongoing Public Safety Issues, California Public Utilities Commission, I. 11-02-017, Issued on 2/24/2011.”
CPUC PRESS RELEASE:
“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today began penalty considerations based on CPUC staff allegations of pervasive safety concerns regarding the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA or Muni) light rail system. This action was taken after CPUC safety inspectors found numerous safety violations on Muni’s light rail system in San Francisco. In their report to the CPUC, the inspectors have alleged that SFMTA has been chronically unresponsive to alleged violations and other findings.”
“If you’re a regular Muni rider, you know that delays are common on weekday commutes to and from work. You might not know, however, that San Francisco’s transportation agency has routinely fallen short on safety inspections for the past year and a half, according to a report released this week by the California Public Utilities Commission.”
DON’T LET LOBBYISTS OVERRIDE YOUR INTERESTS.
If the Central Subway were truly a sound transportation project, than politicians, public officials and lobbyists wouldn’t be needed to twist the arms of the public and decision-makers. Instead, a multi-million dollar media campaign has pitched the Central Subway like snake oil and subprime derivatives, using Muni funds to lobby Muni’s own customers, governing bodies and officials.
CITIREPORT: “Lobbyists Turn Millions into Billions”:
“Money Follows Controversy
The top ten clients who promised payments for lobbying surfaces some of the most controversial issues at City Hall.
California Pacific Medical Center promised the most in payments for lobbying, at $750,985. Aecom, which is leading the Central Subway and other projects, ranked second at $360,000. Third was Millennium Partners, also at $360,000.”
NEW YORK TIMES: “Out Of Office, but Not Out of Things to Say”:
“His [former Mayor Willie Brown] law firm represents prominent clients, among them Aecom, an engineering firm involved in San Francisco’s central subway project, and the California Online Poker Association.”
EPOCH TIMES: “San Francisco Mayoral Debate gives Glimpse of Chinatown Politics”:
“CCDC [Chinatown Community Development Center} also gets a juicy subcontract related to the Central Subway project, including $30,000 a month to spend on ‘community outreach’.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL: “The Billion-Dollar-A-Mile Subway Makes Perfect Sense”:
NOTE: Even while the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is evaluating the Central Subway project, the FTA Administrator defended the project in the Wall Street Journal—responding to an Editorial that blasted the Subway Boondoggle. The conflict of interest is worsened by transit data that shows the Central Subway decreasing transit service levels and travel times for tens of thousands of riders.
Instead of Muni service cutbacks, fare/ fee increases and crumbling infrastructure, imagine how the Central Subway’s hundreds of millions of dollars in existing state/ local funds could revitalize the citywide Muni System. Political leaders do pay heed to well-reasoned arguments of their constituents.
Join with SaveMuni.com in lobbying Washington and Sacramento.
And if the blue sky mining company won’t come to our rescue
And if the sugar refining company won’t save us
Who’s gonna save us?