Work with me here – check out this Facebook page from “SF Environment – Government Organization.”
Can you tell if this entity is part of SFGov? It’s a little hard.
Now, go down to the bottom to see a disclaimer about how FaceBook aint responsible for nothing, which is fair enough, but do you notice a typo in the first sentence? And “your information” isn’t going to SFGov, it’s actually going to “Wishpond Technologies?”
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Wishpond Technologies and Company and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims. Powered by Wishpond
The bad grammar, from people who want “your information,” it generally suggests a scam, non?
So then you hop on over to the San Francisco Department of the Environment website to see it’s a .org instead of a .gov? (I mean, even SFGov.org has “gov” in there somewhere.) Are you Environment people embarased to be a gov?)
Anyway, here at the official home page is where we see that SFE is in fact “A DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO.”
So first up, who runs it? IDK. Why do we need it? IDK. What has it ever done? IDK
So, second up, I think the San Francisco Department of the Environment shouldn’t be afraid to call itself the San Francisco Department of the Environment.
And, third up, it appears that any kind of participation in this “private public partnership” beautification program, like thumbs-upping a photo, will garner you, the Gentle Reader, a sales call from Wishpond Technologies and Company, whatever that is.
So, Reader beware.
And to you all, SF Environment, I’m only just saying.
With love, from .com to .gov or gov.org or org.gov or whatever you people are calling yourselves these days.
“Patrol Car 1130 – 1991 Crown Victoria. In 1994, a patrol police car was converted into the first Lowrider Police Car in the nation. This program was created to develop better relations and to bridge the gap between youths, citizens of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department. It is also a new approach to educate the youths and citizens regarding the safety and responsibility as a car owner and driver.”
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“This fully-equipped Oakland Police squad car, which belonged to slain officer Mike Soto, was transformed with at least $10,000 worth of a low-rider renovations, as part of a unique community outreach program.
Fully loaded ~ Customized Paint ~ 10 Switches* Hydraulic System ~ 6 Batteries ~ Complete Sound System with 4×10 Speakers ~ Dayton Wire Wheels”
The More You Know…
* Cf. Dr Dre: “…bodies bein’ found on Greenleaf with their fuckin heads cut off, motherfucker i’m Dre/ so listen to the play-by-play, day-by-day rollin’ in my ‘4 with 16 switches…”
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?
Jesse Mullan of the Dogpatch Howler has the deets of the remission of SFMTA’s parking-meters-solve-everything expansion. It appears Operation Barbarossa is bogging down this winter due to heavy assault from the Proles.
Per the crappy SFMTA’s Jay Primus:
“I am writing with a brief update on the parking management proposals for the Mission Bay, 12th & Folsom, and 17th & Folsom areas.
The SFMTA Board will no longer be taking action on the SFpark expansion areas at the February 7th Board meeting. Rather, we will conduct further outreach ahead of Board action.
The northernmost section of the Mission Bay Parking Management Proposal was already designated as an SFpark area and will be the only part of the proposal going forward.
For the SFpark expansion areas, including the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods and the 12th and Folsom and 17th and Folsom proposals, the SFMTA will conduct additional outreach and engage in further discussion with various stakeholders before any further action is considered.”
So, that’s their way of saying no parking meters for now.
Doesn’t the SFMTA know by now that it sucks? It’s hard to tell. Sometimes it seems that the SFMTA thinks it’s not dysfunctional. Isn’t that funny?
And look who was there. See ’em?
1. Taciturn Bill Barnes – Ed Lee for Mayor Campaign Manager
2. Pugnacious Tony Winnicker – Ed Lee for Mayor Campaign Spokesperson (Boy, you give him your money and he won’t just sit around – he’ll hit the streets to fight for you.)
3. Corrupt Randy Shaw – Dictator for Life, Tenderloin
I don’t know, if Ed Lee held a news conference about alleged corruption involving the San Francisco “City Family,” would a bunch of Leland Yee for Mayor managers show up to coach the media on what questions to ask (mind you, this is during the press conference) and also listen closely to every last syllable? Maybe. I kind of doubt it though.
Anyway, all the deets are below, but there’s no satisfying ending to this one – you’ll have to cool your heels to wait for the response from City Hall.
Senator Yee is giving The Powers That Be* ’til the end of the week to start turning over documents.
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“Yee calls for sunshine into waste, fraud and abuse at CCDC – Says without full disclosure, Central Subway project could be threatened
SAN FRANCISCO – Senator Leland Yee, along with several city residents, today called on interim mayor Ed Lee to make public the details of all contracts for the past five years between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), city departments and Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) regarding the Central Subway.
Today, Yee also submit public records requests for all correspondence between the Mayor’s office or the City Administrator’s Office and CCDC or powerbroker Rose Pak.
Yee’s request comes after the San Francisco Chronicle unveiled several instances of waste, fraud and abuse by the nonprofit, including charging taxpayers $750 an hour to attend project meetings, $578 per visitor for outreach, and $25,000 to host a single community meeting.
By comparison, city contracts show payment to other entities for meeting attendance does not come close to what was received by CCDC. In fact, one contract for the city’s Arts Task Force showed a charge of 80 percent less, at $125/hour.
On the steps of City Hall and using a “golden” chair to represent the exorbitant cost the City paid for CCDC to attending meetings, Yee said, “As a strong supporter of the Central Subway, I am very concerned that possible malfeasance may jeopardize this important project. We need to get to the bottom of this immediately and the interim mayor needs to give the public the facts about these contracts.”
Yee said he expects Lee to provide the public documents regarding the Central Subway by the end of the week, at which time he will consider further action
This is not the first time Yee has fought to disclose public documents. Yee has become one of the State’s staunchest open government advocates, and last year, Yee made national headlines when he demanded the release of Sarah Palin’s speaking contract at California State University. Subsequently, students found parts of the contract along with shredded documents in the administration’s Dumpster, and Californians Aware successfully won a lawsuit against the University to fully disclose the contract.”
*Have you seen this one from Anonymous,** via writer John Cote, from deep inside the CCDC itself?
**Somebody within the CCDC who doesn’t approve of its recent dealings, I’m forced to assume…