Posts Tagged ‘Howard Wong’

Amazingly, the Corrupt SFMTA Gives the SFBC Money to Say that the Corrupt SFMTA Needs More Money

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Republican Sean Walker is financing a ballot proposition this fall and the SFBC is not amused:

Despite an official “Transit-First” policy in San Francisco, biking, walking and taking transit in our city have been historically underfunded…

Uh, riding a bike isn’t actually “transit,” which IRL is “a system of buses, trains, etc. that people use to travel around in a particular city or area.”

This lack of funding and priority, means Muni is too often overcrowded and unreliable…

Or perhaps MUNI is poorly managed? Oh you don’t care because you get hundreds and thousands from the SFMTA each year? Why don’t you disclose that fact before crowing the SFMTA’s party line? Oh, you used to post your tax returns but now you don’t because you’re worried people might actually look at them? OK fine.

…dozens of people are killed just trying to walk across the streets each year.

Not dozens. Too many to be sure but not “dozens.”

…livable streets…

Our streets currently aren’t “liveable?” What does that mean? How Orwellian is your fund-raising “framing” going to get?

…there is a group of San Franciscans who think that there’s actually too much space given to sustainable ways to get around…

Well now, if you give the voters of the 415 / 628 the chance to freeze for five years the amount of money the SFMTA MUNI makes from parking tickets, they just might say “Aye,” right?

Your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will be working with partners to make sure our transportation system is moving forward

MUNI is a disaster, right? MUNI is not “moving forward.” How much does the SFMTA give the SFBC every year to say stuff like this?

Our Board of Directors voted last week to oppose this “Transit-Last” measure, while supporting two important transportation funding measures on this November’s ballot, which will advance and truly better balance our city’s transportation needs. The first is the Transportation & Road Safety Bond, a $500 million general obligation bond dedicated to transportation capital improvements, including modernizing our transit system and investing in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Will this allow landlords to up rents in SF? Howard Wong, who is not on the SFMTA payroll, says it will “raise property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

(It’s important to note that this measure will not raise local property taxes, as it only infills expiring debt.)

What does this mean? Is Howard Wong incorrect?

And the second is a charter amendment linking population growth to transportation spending, specifically long-ignored transit & safe streets needs. 

So the corrupt SFMTA gives you money to say that the corrupt SFMTA needs more money?

Here’s the rest of what Howard Wong has to say, FYI:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The Ordinance’s legal language makes no definitive commitment to any specific work:  “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bondmay include but are not limited to the following: 

Then, for eight project types, all eight begin with:  “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” 

In financial decisions, never sign a contract when the terms and deliverables are ambiguous.

Throwing billions of dollars at bad Muni projects hasn’t worked. 

Since 2006, Muni has cut service in every neighborhood, decreased annual vehicle revenue miles/ hours, eliminated 6 bus lines, shortened 22 routes, deferred maintenance, increased missed runs/ switchbacks/ late buses, increased fares/ fees/ fines/ meters (1,549,518 parking citations annually)…. Large project cost overruns have cut funds for infrastructure and maintenance.  The Central Subway alone has taken $595 million in state and local funds.  Huge subway cost overruns loom ahead, unveiled by the Central Subway’s cost engineer, whose whistle-blower’s complaint alleges a cooking of the books.

Bond Does Not Restore Muni Service Cuts

Muni has cut neighborhood transit, cross-town routes, night service and route frequency, hurting the low-income, families, disabled, youth and seniors.  …  Eliminated bus lines will not be restored—Lines 4, 7, 15, 20, 26, 34, 89…  Shortened bus routes will not be restored:  Lines 1, 2, 10, 12, 16X, 18, 21, 29, 36, 38, 42, 48, 53, 67, 88, 91, 108…  Muni has been an integrated citywide transit system, interconnecting outlying neighborhoods.  By cutting neighborhood transit, driving is encouraged—then penalized by more fees/ fines/ parking elimination.

Learning From the Past:  SFMTA’s Poor Spending Habits 

·        In 1999, Prop E created the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and a 85% on-time performance mandate.  Instead, Muni falsified on-time performance data and paid bonuses to its Director.

·        In 2003, Prop K extended the transportation sales tax and provided a list of projects.  The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.578 billion.  The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.

·        In 2007, Prop A gave SFMTA more funding authority, revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars.  Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.

·        In 2011, voters approved a Road Repaving Bond of $248 million, with $181 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $429 million.  Debt isn’t efficient for maintenance.

·        SFMTA’s budget grew by hundreds of millions of dollars to $978 million.  Number of employees grew by thousands to 4,921.  Salaries have soared.  And riders get service cuts.

Mayor’s Transportation Task Force (TTF) and Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP)

This proposed Bond, a second Bond, future fees and taxes will not meet objectives.  Only 49% of the TTF”s recommended funding goes to Muni.  TTF’s proposed $2.955 billion does not remotely solve Muni’s $25 billion in 20-Year Capital Plan Need.  The proposed TEP continues transit cuts to neighborhoods, shifting service to rapid corridors.  Better planning is needed for a citywide integrated Muni system.  Oppose this Bond Measure.

Sincerely,

Howard Wong, AIA, a founding member of SaveMuni

www.SaveMuni.com

www.SaveNorthBeachVillage.org

OMG, the SFMTA-Free “Forum on the Future of Transit in San Francisco” is Coming on August 18th, 2012!

Monday, August 6th, 2012

That’s right, the SFMTA isn’t sponsoring this one-day event next week and it isn’t invited neither.

Check it:

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.

Speakers include:

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.”

OK then.

See you there the Saturday after next!

A few more deets on what SAVE MUNI has been up to the past month or so:

“Special Announcements

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

Central Subway Boondoggle Update: Government Audits & Oversight Committee Hearing This Thursday

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Well, here it is, coming up at 10:00 AM on October 27th, 2011:

“Hearing on the recently published 2010-2011 Civil Grand Jury report entitled “Central Subway Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit.”

Leave us review why the Central Subway sucks so much:

 It has a pattern of increasing cost estimates.

 San Francisco will be responsible for any cost overruns which could be substantial.

 The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance environment to the breaking point.

 There are no plans to address existing problems on the Stockton corridor before project completion.

 There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and BART systems.

 It ignores service to the Financial District.

 It ignores current transportation trends

So, the reply from the Central Subway people is that these criticisms are the same old thing. But they’re still valid criticisms, right?

A premature celebration? 

Save Muni will be on the scene at City Hall, looks like:

SaveMuni strongly condemns Mayor Ed Lee’s careless and highly inaccurate response to the Grand Jury’s carefully researched report on the Central Subway

On October 27, the Board of Supervisors Government Audits and Oversight Committee will consider the results of the Grand Jury’s seven month investigation of the Central Subway debacle.  SaveMuni will support the well reasoned conclusions of the Grand Jury’s report and provide new information about the Central Subway and its failings.

SaveMuni will also expose and rebut the MTA’s weak response to the Grand Jury report, which consists mainly of vague generalizations intended to defend the status quo at all costs.   Because of MTA’s and Mayor’s inadequate responses we will call upon the Board of Supervisors to table the matter until such time as the MTA and Mayor Lee have provided detailed and well thought out responses to each of the Grand Jury’s findings and recommendations.

Government Audits & Oversight Committee

Civil Grand Jury Report:  “Central Subway – Too Much Money For Too Little Benefit”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011, 10:00 AM

City Hall Room 263, San Francisco

Agenda:  http://www.sfbos.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=39945

 www.SaveMuni.com

All right, see you there!
Ever more deets:
 
September 17, 2011 - Central Subway Charts:  Compares ridership, costs and trip Times.  Highlights SFMTA’s deceptive marketing practices.
September 9, 2011 – San Francisco City Attorney and Mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera comes out strongly against the Central Subway. 
http://herreraformayor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Central-Subway-Issue-Paper-FINAL.pdf
September 9, 2011 - San Francisco Examiner:  “Central Subway federal funds in jeopardy”.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/09/central-subway-faces-funding-threat
September 4, 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle editorial blasts  Central Subway.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/04/INLN1KU8H8.DTL
August 31,  2011 – Former Board of Supervisors Presdent Aaron Peskins strongly opposes Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/aaron-peskin-blasts-central-subway-1
August 29, 2011 – SaveMuni.com summary of how the Central Subway was deceptively marketed to San Francisco.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/summary-of-sfmta-deception
August 23, 2011 – San Francisco Bay Guardian comes out against the Central Subway.
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/08/23/central-subway-gravy-train-shows-how-city-hall-works
August 23, 2011 – Wall Street Journal editorial blasts Central Subway.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/wall-street-journal—august-23-2011 
August 18, 2011 – Jake McGoldrick, former Chair, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, announces his strong opposition to the project.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/18/EDV61KOL4I.DTL
August 14,  2011 – Other Muni improvements.  For a plan for Stockton Street click on Download.  For other Muni improvements click on https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/save-muni-summit
July 22,2011 – Cal Watchdog digs into the Central Subway mess.
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/cal-watchdog-article
July 16, 2011 – Judge Quentin L. Kopp blasts the project.
Download  
 
July 1, 2011 – San Francisco Grand Jury Releases Report is released.
 May 9, 2011 – Sierra Club Resolution calling for Central Subway funds to be put to better use on behalf of Muni. 
https://sites.google.com/a/savemuni.com/save-san-francisco-s-muni/sierra-club-central-subway-resolution
November 9, 2010 – SaveMuni.com Central Subway White Paper relased