MUNI reform legislation moves to November ballot
Supervisor Aaron Peskin authored legislation aimed at reforming
San Francisco public transportation. Supervisors today voted 7-4
to support the reforms and to place the charter amendment on the
By Emmett Berg
July 31, 2007
Legislators in San Francisco today passed a package of reforms
designed to empower and improve city municipal Transportation
Agency service, despite a divided Board of Supervisors that voted
7 to 4 on the issue.
Now voters this fall will get to a chance to weigh for themselves
the array of transit organizational changes when they are asked
to ratify the changes to the city charter in November.
Opposed to the charter amendments were supervisors Ed Jew, Michela
Alioto-Pier, Gerardo Sandoval and Jake McGoldrick.
They are apparently joined in opposition by Mayor Gavin Newsom,
who late last week released
a statement reversing his support. The statement came following
what Newsom said were late changes to the terms brokered by supervisors,
employee unions and city officials.
The fuss concerns language in the amendment that supposedly makes
it harder for lawmakers to pass increases to downtown parking
allotments, which have been sought by developers of high-rise
condominiums and others in the business community.
Overall, the changes include transferring some of the functions
now belonging to the city Department of Parking and Traffic to
Muni, like parking rates and fees. It would abolish the Taxi Commission
and fold those responsibilities into Muni. It would also remove
from future supervisors' agendas votes on stop signs placements,
street curb matters and traffic control measures.
Personnel changes would also take effect, such as increasing
the number of employees serving at the pleasure of the executive
director, and enshrining performance bonuses that could in part
upend the seniority-based salary system that unionized employees
now work under.
The agency will spend about $668 million providing service this
fiscal year. The proposed charter amendment would increase by
$26 million, or double the current yearly amount Muni takes in
from parking taxes.
The proposed charter amendment is the largest transit overhaul
since the approval by voters in 1999 of Proposition E, which created
the San Francisco MTA.
The charter amendment would allow Muni for the first time to
float revenue bonds and raise cash to meet agency-specific priorities.
A half-cent portion of the city sales tax flows to Muni and could
be useful for raising even more money.
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