Posts Tagged ‘federal’

What’s This? The “Fix Muni First Initiative” Will Let Us Vote to Kill the Central Subway in 2013? Oh, Happy Day

Friday, October 12th, 2012

So it’s only going to take 9,702 signatures to qualify the proposed Fix MUNI First Initiative for the 2013 November ballot?

Those John Hancocks should be pretty easy to get, I think.

Yes, let’s let The People decide if it’s worth $40,000,000 a year to operate a pretty-much-useless subway shortline.

So maybe Chinatown power broker Rose Pak is smoking her celebratory cigar on the veranda of her taxpayer-funded luxury condo in District Six a touch too soon?

Yes.

Let’s see how easy it will be for her to corral stencil voters outside of Chinatown…

All the deets of the Central Subway fiasco, after the jump.

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Do You Think the Rich White People of the Marina District Want a Ferry Landing at Fort Mason? Hells No!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Our National Park Service is thinking about moving the Alcatraz ferry landing from Fisherman’s Wharf to Fort Mason. And maybe they’d go to other places like the Marin Headlands or Sausalito.

Sounds all right to me, but the Marina Community Association is not pleased with the idea of all those non-white people messing things up in the Great White North of San Francisco.

Now, let’s hear from the King of the NIMBYs, District Two Supervisor Mark Farrell:

Check it:

“Adding the potential of 5,000 visitors per day or 35,000 visitors per week will more than double the population of the Marina…”

Except that adding the potential of 5,000 visitors per day or 35,000 visitors per week would not more than double the population of the Marina.

So there’s that.

Anyway, go for it, Feds, go for Fort Mason, why not?

All the deets:

Notice Of Intent To Prepare An Environmental Impact Statement For Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation Site.

In accordance with § 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, and pursuant to the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-08), the National Park Service (NPS) is initiating the conservation planning and environmental impact analysis process for the proposed establishment of a long-term ferry embarkation site for passenger ferry service between the northern San Francisco waterfront and Alcatraz Island. In addition to considering the Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation site, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will also evaluate potential for a secondary ferry transit service offering a cross-bay connection from the San Francisco embarkation site to Sausalito and/or Fort Baker. NPS is the lead federal agency for the environmental review under NEPA, and is developing the project in coordination with the Port of San Francisco (Port) and City and County of San Francisco (City) planning and transportation agencies.Show citation box

As set forth in 36 CFR 800.8(c), the NPS is also using the NEPA process to fulfill certain provisions of § 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act related to consultation and public involvement. In addition, the NPS has requested that the Port and the City be cooperating agencies for the EIS. In the event that a site on Port property is identified as the preferred alternative, environmental review of the project pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) would be required, and would be initiated at a later date.Show citation box

All scoping comments must be postmarked or transmitted not later than July 31, 2012.Show citation box

Background: Alcatraz Island, the site of pre-Civil War fortifications, was the nation’s first military prison. It later became the most notorious maximum security penitentiary in the United States, and subsequently was the site of the occupation that helped ignite the movement for American Indian self-determination. Over 1.4 million people visit Alcatraz Island annually from the existing ferry embarkation site at Pier 311/2in San Francisco, managed by Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation EIS will build upon several studies completed by NPS, the Port, the City, the State of California, and the California Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA; formerly the Water Transit Authority).Show citation box

A 2011 draft feasibility study identified potential sites for consideration located among GGNRA, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the northern Embarcadero. The sites studied included Port piers 191/2, 291/2, 311/2, 41, and 45, and GGNRA piers 1, 2, 3, and 4 at Fort Mason. If suggested during scoping, other sites that meet the project purpose and need could also be considered. The draft feasibility study and subsequent investigations also analyzed the surrounding area, identified the programs and facilities needed to operate the sites, existing conditions at the sites, and criteria to evaluate the sites.Show citation box

The NPS seeks to secure a site on the northern San Francisco waterfront that provides for a long-term (50 years or more) orientation and ferry embarkation facility for visitors to Alcatraz Island. NPS desires an identifiable, adequate, and quality visitor welcome and support area that begins to connect visitors to Alcatraz history, GGNRA, and the national park system. The NPS also seeks to establish ferry connections between the embarkation site and existing piers at Sausalito and/or at Fort Baker, which is managed by GGNRA.Show citation box

The need for the project is driven by the following factors:Show citation box

  • Alcatraz ferry service is currently subject to location changes every 10 years which has led to visitor confusion, community concerns, and inconsistency in visitor support services.Show citation box
  • Ability to make improvements at the existing site is constrained by lease provisions between the Port and the concessioner, with substantial amounts of revenue spent on rent, reducing the amount available to invest on Alcatraz and other GGNRA sites.Show citation box
  • The condition of existing facilities constrains and negatively affects NPS and the concessioners’ abilities to create a recognizable identity and quality visitor experience.Show citation box
  • The current facility has insufficient space to appropriately orient visitors to Alcatraz or provide information to the many visitors who are unable to visit Alcatraz.Show citation box
  • There is very limited opportunity to provide cross-bay ferry service to other GGNRA areas.Show citation box

The objectives for this project include creating a ferry embarkation site that:Show citation box

  • Establishes a long-term (50 years or more) primary location for visitor access to Alcatraz Island.Show citation box
  • Is economically feasible and sustainable, and generates revenue for investment on Alcatraz and other park facilities and visitor programs.Show citation box
  • Accommodates critical visitor and operational programs and facilities, and provides for efficient land and vessel operations.Show citation box
  • Provides an identifiable area for quality welcome, orientation, and interpretation of the natural, cultural, scenic and recreational resources of Alcatraz, the larger GGNRA, and the national park system.Show citation box
  • Provides facilities for cross-bay ferry service to accommodate existing and future visitor demand for travel to Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, and the Marin Headlands.Show citation box

Public Scoping Comments and Further Information: This notice serves to formally open the agency and public scoping comment phase for this EIS. Key impact topics which are expected to be addressed in the EIS include transportation, visitor experience, aesthetics, economics, cultural resources, natural resources, and air quality—however, agencies, members of the public, and interested organizations are encouraged to provide any comments on the spectrum of issues and concerns that should be addressed. Respondents will also assist with defining a suitable range of alternatives; advise on the nature and extent of potential environmental impacts, including natural, cultural, socioeconomic and other topics; and suggest possible mitigation strategies that would reduce potential impacts from project development.Show citation box

Several public scoping meetings will be scheduled in San Francisco and Marin Counties. Meeting dates, times, and locations will be publicized through local and regional news media, by email to the park mailing list (to be included on the EIS email list, please visit: www.nps.gov/goga and click the “Join the Mailing List” link), and via the project Web site http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ALCAembarkation. This Web site will also provide relevant information, including the project description, planning process updates, meeting notices, reports and documents, and useful links associated with the project. You may also contact theGGNRA Planning Division at goga_planning@nps.gov or (415) 561-4700 for further information.Show citation box

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be mailed to the following address: Superintendent, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Attn: Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation EIS, Fort Mason, Bldg. 201, San Francisco, CA 94123. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.Show citation box

Decision Process: At this time, it is anticipated that the Draft EIS will be available for public review in mid-2013. Availability of the document for review will be announced by the publication of a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, through local and regional news media, via the project Web site, and by email to project email recipients. Additional public meetings will be held after the Draft EIS is distributed to provide further opportunities to comment on the proposed project. Following due consideration of all comments received on the Draft EIS, preparation of the Final EIS is anticipated to be completed in 2014. As a delegated EIS, the official responsible for the final decision regarding the proposed ferry embarkation site is the NPS Regional Director, Pacific West Region. Subsequently, the official responsible for implementation will be the GGNRA Superintendent.Show citation box

Dated: April 6, 2012.

Patricia L. Neubacher,

Acting Regional Director, Pacific West Region.

If You See a Federal Judge Crying Today, It’s Because the 9th Circuit Might Cancel Its Big 2012 Maui Trip

Monday, July 16th, 2012

So, Kipahulu: The Seven Pools of O’heo might not be on the agenda. See below.

No judges here. See?

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Judges under fire for Maui conference have history of tropical getaways

All the deets, ROF (Released on a Friday):

“July 13, 2012 / Ninth Circuit Public Information Office – The Ninth Circuit will reschedule its 2013 Circuit Conference to 2014 in Monterey, California. The postponement responds to the current budget constraints facing the federal judiciary and the federal government in general. The decision was reached earlier this week after consultation with the host hotel in Monterey, the Hyatt Regency.

“We firmly believe in the importance of the Conference in educating the federal bench and bar and in advancing governance of the Circuit. But we also recognize the need to conserve financial resources during the present fiscal crisis,” said Cathy A. Catterson, Circuit and Court of Appeals Executive. “We think this approach will meet both goals.”

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference has been held annually since 1944. Conferees include federal judges, lawyers, court staff, academics and government officials. The event provides a rich educational program and the opportunity to hold numerous business meetings.”

And Zumba, always with the Zumba. No matter, all this might be canceled:

“Saturday, August 11
12:00 p.m. – Conference Registration desk opens

Sunday, August 12
5:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Sport Fishing
12:00 p.m. – Golf Tournament

Monday, August 13
9:00 a.m. – Yoga
9:00 a.m. – Surfing Lessons
9:00 a.m. – Stand-up Paddle Board Lessons
12:00 p.m. – Welcome Luncheon & Book Review for Spouses & Guests
2:00 p.m. – Zumba
4:30 p.m. – Opening Program
6:00 p.m. – No-host Cocktail Reception
7:00 p.m. – Maui Dine Around

Tuesday, August 14
9:00 a.m. – Yoga
9:00 a.m. – Surfing Lessons
9:00 a.m. – Stand-up Paddle Board Lessons
1:00 p.m. – Tennis Tournament
2:00 p.m. – Floral Design Workshop (includes flowers & supplies)
7:00 p.m. – District Dinners

Wednesday, August 15
9:00 a.m. – Yoga
9:00 a.m. – Surfing Lessons
9:00 a.m. – Stand-up Paddle Board Lessons
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Day Trip and Tour of Upcountry Maui
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Gemini Catamaran Snorkel Trip (includes gear & lunch)
2:45 p.m. – A special treat! Ice Cream Social
6:00 p.m. – The Aloha Experience

Thursday, August 16
9:00 a.m. – Yoga
9:00 a.m. – Stand-up Paddle Board Lessons”

OMG, TMI TMI!

Aloha.

Popping Up All Over San Francisco: Do Those New Lower-Case “Clearview” Streets Signs Bother You? – Well, Not Me

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I know these new signs upset some people, but not me.

Anyway, here they are: 

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And they just changed the design not too long ago – here’s something from 2008.

But Matt Fuller seems to like the new lower-case lettering.

Hurray for the new street signs, I guess.

Would You Like a “Free Gift?” Well, Then Just Join the U.S. Army: MUNI Bus Stop Recruiting Station, Market Street

Friday, June 29th, 2012

In the Financh, not too far from the official recruiting station on Davis near Broadway:

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Remember, “BRING IN THIS FLYER FOR A FREE GIFT!!!”

The Feds Make a Deal to Set Aside More Space for Western Snowy Plovers, San Francisco’s Cutest Birds

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The Center for Biological Diversity is crowing about more room being designated for the Western Snowy Plover along the west coast.

San Francisco isn’t getting more space for these critters but they already have as much as they need here now, not that some area dog owners agree with the way things are these days.

Anyway, here are some San Francisco Snowy Plovers and the also the deets of the new agreement with the Feds are below.

(Oh, and remember, as always, plover rhymes with lover.)

A snowy plover on Ocean Beach _not_ being harassed by a dog:

Now, Ocean Beach Dog, ooh, somebody over there got an off-leash ticket from the Feds a looooong time ago. (Can you guess what year by looking at the website design? Sure you can.) Oh well. Well, the Feds don’t like Ocean Beach Dog and people what behave like Ocean Beach Dog. The Feds consider us Whacko City, USA because of outfits like OBD, oh well.

Most dogs don’t bother the boids, of course. Can you see the snowy plover?

But some dogs do harass the birds. (These aren’t actually snowy plovers near Lawton and the Great Highway but the dogs don’t know or care about that.)

(Get those Ocean Beach birds, good boy!)

And here’s the sitch up in Crissy Field:

See the birds, see the unleashed dog?

Is is surprising to you that an unleashed dog could find and chase these plovers? What was surprising to me was to hear that this particular boid flew up from Morro Bay (where it was banded and which is like way south of here) all the way up to the Marina District:

Keep on keeping on, plovers:

More Than 24,000 Acres of Critical Habitat Protected for Western Snowy Plover

PORTLAND, Ore.— In response to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated 24,527 acres (38 square miles) of critical habitat to protect the Pacific Coast population of threatened western snowy plovers in Washington, Oregon and California.

“Protecting critical habitat will help this lovely shorebird continue on the path to recovery,” said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist at the Center. “Species with federally protected habitat are more than twice as likely to be moving toward recovery than species without it, so this puts a big safety net between plovers and extinction.”

Western snowy plovers breed primarily on beaches in southern Washington, Oregon, California and Baja California. Today’s designation includes four critical habitat units in Washington (covering 6,077 acres), nine units in Oregon (covering 2,112 acres) and 47 units in California (covering 16,337 acres).

Snowy plovers were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, when the coastal population had dropped to 1,500 birds and plovers no longer bred at nearly two-thirds of their former nesting sites. That Endangered Species Act protection allowed the population to increase to more than 3,600 adults by 2010.

Plovers are recovering but still face many threats, including widespread and frequent disturbance of nesting sites by humans, vehicles and off-leash dogs; crushing by off-road vehicles; global climate change; pesticide use; and habitat loss.

The western snowy plover was first granted 19,474 acres of critical habitat in 1999. In 2005 the Bush administration illegally reduced the critical habitat to 12,145 acres, eliminating protection for thousands of acres scientists believed necessary for the snowy plover’s survival and abandoning key habitat areas crucial for recovery. In 2008 the Center sued over the unlawful reduction of the plover’s habitat protections, leading to a settlement agreement with the Service and today’s revised designation.

Today’s final rule includes the reinstatement of habitat areas identified by government scientists as essential that were improperly withdrawn in 2005; inclusion of some areas not currently occupied by plovers but important for their recovery; and addition of habitats such as back-dune systems in an attempt to offset anticipated effects of sea-level rise caused by climate change.

The western snowy plover is a shy, pocket-sized shorebird that weighs less than two ounces and lives for three years. Plovers forage for worms, insects and crustaceans in wet sand and in kelp that has washed ashore. The word “plover” is thought to come from the Old French”plovier” or “rain bird” because plovers were seen on sandy French beaches during spring rains.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 375,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.”

Oh, and also remember that San Francisco is for Plovers:

OMG, MUNI Sucks Even More Than You Know: Central Subway – Hush-Hush Revenue Bond Vote Coming May 1

Monday, April 30th, 2012

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:

“SaveMuni.com
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.

Particulars

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

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Federal Workers Elect to Not Participate in San Francisco’s New “Market Pricing” Parking Scheme

Monday, April 16th, 2012

See? The Feds park at meters all the live-long day, but they never pay nothing.

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Oh well.

 

A Plea From San Franciscans to Congressional Republicans: Please Save Us From the Corrupt, Useless Central Subway

Friday, March 16th, 2012

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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Off we go:

“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.

PETITION:  http://tinyurl.com/No-to-CentralSubway 

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.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/transportation/2012/01/sfmta-identifies-24-billion-long-term-project-needs

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.

http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/11/27/

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.

http://tinyurl.com/CS-Charts  .

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:

http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/News_release/131263.htm :

“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.”

PUBLIC SENTIMENT:

http://www.gjel.com/blog/san-francisco-muni-faulted-by-california-puc-for-safety-violations.html :

“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”:

http://www.citireport.com/2012/02/lobbyists-turn-millions-into-billions/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended&utm_content=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended+CID_99d18a4d35f8a81996ebeb6e950a1883&utm_source=Email+Newsletters&utm_term=Influence+Peddlers+Make+Millions+at+City+Hall

“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”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/us/willie-brown-remains-a-san-francisco-power-broker.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1330078166-8/XmgibML60WcphWNXyz4g

“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”:

http://epoch-archive.com/a1/en/us/sfo/2011/10-Oct/06/A3_20111006_NoCA-US.pdf

“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”:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904583204576542691025904076.html?

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.

www.SaveMuni.com

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?

The Feds are in Town Today, for the Big 54.5 MPG Fuel Standard Meeting Up in Fishermans Wharf – Plus, Point Counterpoint

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Get all the deets about the Feds’ big meeting after the jump.

Now, here it is, “Support 54.5 mpg auto fuel standard”

Fresh from the latest Washington debate on giving middle-class families a much-needed tax cut, here’s one burden off your future paychecks that you can count on – a $4,400 savings on gasoline.

Uh no, Gentle Reader. Don’t “count on” that.

Just weeks ago, President Obama proposed strengthening fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards for passenger cars and light trucks to require that they get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That means the average California family buying a car in 2025 will save up to $4,400 on gas over the car’s lifetime, even after paying for fuel-saving technology.

Well, gee, won’t “the average California family buying a car in 2025″ be able to get a car that gets 54.5 mpg anyway? I think so. Actually, I know so. And gee, isn’t the average California family buying a car in 2012 able to get a ride that gets 54.5 mpg right now? I think so. Actually, I know so.

Additionally, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. These standards will reduce our oil consumption by 1.5 million barrels per day, the same amount we imported from Saudi Arabia and Iraq combined last year. That’s a big deal.

Uh let’s see here, the lion’s share of oil that America uses comes from just three countries – can we list them now? I’ll give a hint, they’re all in North America. They are America, Canada, and Mexico. How much do we import from Saudi Arabia and Iraq? Not a whole bunch. It’s not a big deal.

Instead of draining our economy by sending nearly $1 billion a day overseas for oil, we can use the savings from new clean car rules to invest in businesses in California that will drive American innovation and industry. Indeed, California is a recognized leader in the United States in innovation and investment in energy-efficient cars.

People can buy more fuel-efficient cars right now, can’t they?

These standards enjoy the support of three-quarters of all Americans and 13 major auto manufacturers, including Detroit’s “Big Three,” which have signed letters of commitment supporting strong standards. It’s not hard to see why fuel-efficient cars are so popular. These proposed policies will drive demand for fuel-saving technology and put money back in Americans’ pockets, which will create 484,000 jobs economy-wide by 2030, including 43,000 in the auto industry.

Three-quarters of all Americans don’t support this standard. Not really. Detroit’s “Big Three” doesn’t support this standard. Not really. Fuel-efficient cars aren’t “so popular in America.” Not really. This standard won’t create half a million jobs. Not really.

We need to recognize that these standards are not partisan or controversial. Saving the average American family thousands of dollars on gas, cutting pollution, decreasing the costly negative health impacts from this pollution, combatting climate disruption, creating jobs and revitalizing the American auto industry as an engine of economic growth are benefits we can all get behind. Equally important, we would be cutting carbon pollution in 2030 by an amount equal to shutting down 72 coal-fired power plants for a year.

This standard is partisan and controversial. Oh, hey, why don’t we just tax the hell out of gasoline? I’d support that. And it would accomplish all your goals, right?

This is the biggest single step that a U.S. president has taken to break America’s addiction to oil. President Obama should keep doing the right thing and finalize these strong standards this summer so that American families get a “tax cut” on gas for decades at the same time we decrease our reliance on foreign oil. It’s critical to stand up to the current efforts trying to oppose or weaken these standards.

Raising the standard for mpg is not a “tax cut.” Raising the standard for mpg is not a “tax cut.” Raising the standard for mpg is not a “tax cut.”

Join the Sierra Club and hundreds of other at a public hearing Jan. 24 in San Francisco, one of the three cities in the United States where hearings are being held, and the only one on the West Coast. Urge Obama administration officials to keep these proposed standards strong so that we don’t need to fight future wars to secure oil supplies. Help American move beyond oil.

Of course, “Help American move beyond oil.”

Linda Weiner is a member of the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Group. For hearing details, go to http://blog.sfgate.com/opinionshop/

Thanks, Linda. You know, you’re not supposed to just make up stuff when you argue.

Even when you know you’re correct.

You understand that, right, Linda?

I mean, are there any consequences to your proposed course?

Yes there are.

But you don’t want to talk about that, do you?

OK fine.

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