Posts Tagged ‘prop k’

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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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?

Click to expand

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?

Hello, San Francisco Chronicle? Um, Our City Doesn’t Actually Have a Central Dispatch System for Taxicabs, Does It?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Uh, did San Francisco Chronicle writer Jimmy Temple just move into town?

Let’s investigate:

“…on Friday and Saturday the city, California College of the Arts and Mix & Stir Studio are sponsoring an “unhackathon” to get designers, software engineers and others to tackle the clearly broken central dispatch system for San Francisco’s taxi system.

But Jimmy, we don’t actually have “a central dispatch system* for San Francisco’s taxi system.”*

Therefore it’s not “broken.”

Therefore it’s not “clearly” broken.

Hey, now speaking of broken, why don’t all these college boys and girls take on San Francisco’s pension “system?” Shouldn’t it be reformed ‘n stuff? Like for real this time?

And hey, speaking of broken, why don’t all these college boys and girls take on the “system” what pays for pork-barrelly Bridges to Nowhere and Roads to Bridges to Nowhere and Central Subways?

Oh well, maybe next year.**

Leave us close with a typical SF cabbie:

Click to expand

Well, maybe not typical, but she was a fully-licensed hack back in the day at least, back when she hijacked a meeting on the steps of City Hall. (Her “K” sticker shows her support for Prop K, but shhh, don’t tell the unhacksters about Prop K, oh no.)

The point is, Jimmy, is that you’re covering a political issue, one having to do with the Twitterloin and the sf.citi PAC and whatnot, as if it weren’t a political issue.

As if you don’t have a clue…

*System!

**Or never, how about never? 

County Transportation Authority Wants Your Input, Tonight in the Sunset District

Monday, July 20th, 2009

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority wants you to come to their Open House tonight in the Sunset District. Why? They need help in deciding how to spend all that Prop K money. That’s right comrades, the great, exalted SFCTA, the Vanguard of the Proletariat, will listen to us bednyaks when preparing the next glorious Five Year Plan.

Public Open House: Monday, July 20, 2009, Sunset Recreation Center, 2201 Lawton St., 6:00 – 8:00 PM

If there is hope for MUNI, it lies in the proles. West Portal, back in the day:

3327585536_0bd4e18042_o copy

Click to expand. Via mod as hell 

If you can’t handle a little fog, then try these on for size:

  • Public Open House: July 23, 2009, San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch), 100 Larkin St., 5:30 – 7:30 PM
  • Public Open House: July 29, 2009, Lick-Wilmerding High School, 755 Ocean Ave., 6:00 – 8:00 PM
  • See you there!

    Timeline

    Upcoming milestones meant to encourage and enable public input particularly in determining which projects will receive Prop K funds in the next five years.

    Click here to download information on the public open houses (information is also detailed below).

    July 2009

    • Public Open House: July 20, 2009, Sunset Recreation Center, 2201 Lawton St., 6:00 – 8:00 PM
    • Public Open House: July 23, 2009, San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch), 100 Larkin St., 5:30 – 7:30 PM
    • Public Open House: July 28, 2009, San Francisco General Hospital (Carr Auditorium), 1001 Potrero Ave, 6:00 – 8:00 PM CANCELED
    • Public Open House: July 29, 2009, Lick-Wilmerding High School, 755 Ocean Ave., 6:00 – 8:00 PM
    • July 24, 2009 Fiscal Year 2009/20 Annual Allocation Requests Due 
    • Special Citizens Advisory Committee: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 6:00 PM, 100 Van Ness Ave., 26th Floor

                      – Provisional Adoption of the 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan (ACTION)

                      – Review of Updated 5YPPs (INFORMATION)

    • Plans and Programs Committee: July 21, 2009, 10:30 AM, Room 263, City Hall

                      – Provisional Adoption of the 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan (ACTION)

                      – Review of Updated 5YPPs (INFORMATION)

    •  Authority Board: July 28, 2009, 11:00 AM, Room 250, City Hall

                      – Provisional Adoption of the 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan (ACTION)

    August 2009

    • Public Open House: August 10, 2009, Mission Recreation Center, 745 Treat Ave., 6:00 – 8:00 PM – ADDED 
    • Revise/finalize all 21 5YPPs
    • Amend Strategic Plan as needed
    • Evaluate Fiscal Year 2009/10 Annual Allocation Requests
    • No public meetings (City Hall Recess)

     

    September 2009

    • Special Citizens Advisory Committee: Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 6:00 PM, 100 Van Ness Ave., 26th Floor

                      – Adoption of 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan as Amended (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Updated 5YPPs (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Fiscal Year 2009/10 Annual Allocations (if relevant 5YPPs have been adopted) (ACTION)                

    • Plans and Programs Committee: September 22, 2009, 9:00 AM, Room 263, City Hall – UPDATED

                      – Adoption of 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan as Amended (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Updated 5YPPs (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Fiscal Year 2009/10 Annual Allocations (if relevant 5YPPs have been adopted) (ACTION) 

    •  Authority Board: September 22, 2009, 11:00 AM, Room 250, City Hall

                      – Adoption of 2009 Prop K Strategic Plan as Amended (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Updated 5YPPs (ACTION)

                      – Adoption of Fiscal Year 2009/10 Annual Allocations (if relevant 5YPPs have been adopted) (ACTION) 

     * All meeting dates and times are subject to change.

    San Francisco Taxi Drivers Rally at City Hall to Oppose Changes to Medallion System

    Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

    San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar addressed a crowd of about 100 or so cab drivers (if you include those who were circling City Hall in their taxis) yesterday. They were all there to oppose changes to the Proposition K method of distributing taxi medallions.

    This issue is getting national attention, so read all about it. And listen about these matters as well, courtesy of this radio Forum from Michael Krasny.

    Driver Yvonne from Brazil has been supporting three kids by driving in San Francisco the past 15 years. She doesn’t cotton to anyone changing the rules after such a long wait:

    The Asian Law Caucus and United Taxicab Workers helped to organize this pre-hearing rally:

    The famous letter signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom:

    “Respect voters’ wishes on Prop K”

    To Be Continued…

    Proposition K Prostitution Decriminalization Raises Hackles at City Hall

    Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

    This was the scene yesterday on Grove Street as early voters made their way to City Hall.

    The woman on the right turned away from the discussion as if it were a driving rain. The woman on the left remained adamant about supporting Prop K.  

    But leave it to ABC “News” to bring it all home for us:

    Prop. K Could Thrust Prostitutes Into Pop Culture. TV, Film’s Affair With Prostitutes Could Intensify if San Francisco Bill Passes. Pretty soon, a “pretty woman” may be able to work the streets of San Francisco legally.”

    O.K. then.

    UPDATE: Per commenter Palmer: “The woman on the left is Mary Ellen “Maxine” Doogan.  She wrote Prop K.  She was convicted of running an escort agency in Seattle.  She now runs something called the Erotic Service Provider’s Union which doesn’t seem to actually do anything.  She writes on a Blog called “Bound Not Gagged” and makes the argument there that pimps should be considered “sex workers” because they are really just “support staff.”  She had a restraining order put on her in Berkeley after harrassing ex prostitutes who were putting on a play in the one of the theatres.  She is beyond adamant.”