OFF THE AIR
With Barbara Taylor
City Hall by the numbers
March 1, 2006
City Hall is a world chock full of numbers, with statistics the
longest running cliché in city government. And so it went
this past week.
MUNI conducted a "moment in time" sting operation and
revealed to a Supervisors' Committee that between 53 and 73 percent
of Metro riders are blatantly evading the fares at downtown subway
Supervisor Aaron Peskin calls it "voodoo economics"
and suggests Muni is cooking the books to generate support to
hire 50 new inspectors to ferret out cheaters.
Mayor Newsom, on the other hand, is shocked and concerned saying
that...yep...those numbers demonstrate why more inspectors are
Holy Cow!!! What's going on here? How can there be so many fare
frauds? Should we call Ripley's Believe it or Not? The Guinness
Book of World Records? Do we need a gang of vigilante MUNI police
to protect our tax dollars from MUNI scofflaws? Does the Mayor
really believe that most Metro riders are jumping turnstiles or
is he a deep undercover operative in a MUNI "full employment"
Whether the numbers are true or false, our local comedian, Supervisor
Tom Ammiano wasn't joking when he said, "this is no way to
run a railroad."
If you think those MUNI statistics are over the top, consider
this: With great fanfare Mayor Newsom has announced that San Francisco's
film business, long relegated to the back lot, increased a staggering
500 percent since 2002, especially baffling since there's no visual
evidence around town that San Francisco has suddenly become the
film capital of the West.
Newsom came up with that astonishing number by comparing a single
statistic: the 20 location filming days in San Francisco in 2002
to the 133 location filming days in 2005. It seems that after
a two-year drought, three films found there way here last year,
Rent, Pursuit of Happiness and Zodiac. And that's good. But it's
not the whole picture, in Technicolor or black and white.
What the Mayor conveniently didn't mention until I posed the
question is that no movies are scheduled to film here this year,
at least not at this point. So does that mean that next year at
this time Mayor Newsom could be calling a news conference to announce
that film business has plummeted 500 percent?
Don't hold your breath. In Room 200, political spin turns in
only one direction.
But the real numbers news this past week was the sudden up tick
in the Mayor's love life. Reported both here in
the Sentinel and in the Chronicle, it seems that Newsom, after
a long dry spell in the romance department, has locked arms....
and possibly other body parts... with the super gorgeous Sofia
Milos of CSI Miami (who bears a downright scary resemblance to
Newsom's estranged wife Kimberly).
Newsom eyes Sophia Milos at the wedding reception of Joe Alioto-Veronese
and Julie Gilman, 2/19/6
The two met at the recent wedding of Police Commissioner Joe
Veronese, son of former Supervisor Angela Alioto, and it seems
this past weekend Newsom flew off to Hollywood, the real film
capitol of the West, to spend a couple days with the Italian beauty
at the super trendy Chateau Marmont Hotel.
Given the sorry state of Newsom's personal life in the past year
and considering the way he crunches numbers, that could mean a
1000 percent increase in his sex life.
Finally, a statistic worth reporting.
is a senior political analyst reporting live from City Hall.