Snyder Wins Appointment
to Golden Gate Bridge Commission

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on April 14, 2009 with 15 Comments


David Snyder
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

April 14, 2009

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today appointed transportation expert David Snyder over Local 38 Assistant Business Manager Larry Mazzola, Jr. to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District board (GGTD).

The Board voted 6-5 to appoint Snyder to the second, traditionally labor, seat on the commission that oversees transportation and bridge related projects.

Snyder is the Transportation Policy Director for the San Francisco Planning Urban Research Association (SPUR) and former Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

The appointment item, which had been called out of the Rules Committee by Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu and Bevan Dufty to force the appointment of Mazzola, clearly backfired when a motion by Supervisor Chris Daly to appoint Snyder was supported by Supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, David Chiu, Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly.

A motion to continue the item by Supervisor Dufty, and a motion by Supervisor Elsbernd to table Snyder’s appointment, failed.

Those Supervisors who supported Snyder over Mazzola said labor’s obstinacy in not forwarding a qualified candidate for consideration, doomed labor’s prospect of retaining labor representation on the GGTD. The Rules Committee had previously rejected Mazzola on the grounds that he was unqualified and lacked the necessary experience to represent the City and County of San Francisco on the commission.  Labor had been afforded two weeks to resubmit for consideration a qualified applicant, but remained committed to Mazzola despite his shortcomings.

Following the vote, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson said he was proud that several labor organizations had rallied their support for Mazzola, while conceding Mazzola’s inexperience was a difficult obstacle to overcome.

“The entire labor movement was at the Board of Supervisors today and our candidate was Larry Mazzola, Jr,” Paulson added. “It’s an insult that the Board of Supervisors dictated to us who should be the labor representative on the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.”

Mazzola declined Fog City Journal’s invitation for comment.

Snyder could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • antfaber

    It’s an insult that labor didn’t pick someone qualified.

  • Jerry Jarvis

    I’m labor, and I will be calling for the replacement of Tim Paulson.

  • sue

    Excellent work, grasshoppers!

  • marc

    Sweet.

  • bsmithinsf

    It’s an insult to the citizens of San Francisco that Tim Paulson and the Labor Council didn’t forward an alternative labor representative who was actually qualified to serve on GGTD board. Sticking by an unqualified candidate, especially relative to a very qualified candidate, is not smart strategy, nor good for the citizens of San Francisco.

  • Erika

    Huge victory! Congratulations to Dave Snyder. The interesting thing about this appointment is that it showed the weakness of the labor movement. Why is organized labor not uniting behind the most qualified people? Transportation issues are of primary importance to working folks.

  • Matt Stewart

    Tim “Sell out to Lennar, baby!” Paulson and the “several labor organizations” that are the apple of his eye can suck it!

  • tami

    There are many rank-n-file union members, we are workers BTW, not union staff, that will support the supervisors that supported the progressive’s choice for this seat. I agree, that as labor, there are probably many qualified labor candidates that we could have forwarded. It is true the Labor Council affirmed their support for Mazzola Jr. last night, without in my opinion, offering any compelling arguments on why he was selected as our candidate.

  • http://www.bikescape.blogspot.com bikescape

    Paulson would build Auschwitz if it meant union jobs.

    -jon, gciu-ibt

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/profiles/profile_h_brown.shtml Harold Brown

    Sweet victory,

    Congrats to Hope Johnson and Fog City for being in the lead on the issue. The split between labor management and rank and file is evident all over the country. Look at SEIU here in California. Labor management is no better than corporate management. They care only to expand their power and they’ll give up wages and benefits to do it. Then, they try to steal every dime from pension funds. Matt Smith at SF Weakly did a great series on Mazzola seniors diversion of union funds into an indian casino (Kinochti) for which he’s still not out of the woods. Despite the fact that he’s bought off every major local and state politician available.

    If Chris Daly joined the Plumbers Union, he could beat Larry Mazzola Jr. for it’s presidency.

    h.

  • milkcluber

    For labor, this was about their internal politics. Paulson needs the plumbers to hold his seat as head of the labor council, thus the rest of us would get stuck with a poor choice for making public policy. Someone needs to call out labor over the deals they cut (remember Lennar) at the expense of the city because of their internal jockeying.

  • http://District5Diary Rob Anderson

    The whole “qualifications” issue is bogus, since all appointments to this board are political appointments. The bike people and their many enablers in City Hall simply beat the labor unions on this appointment.

  • marc

    If you haven’t watched the video of this, you’re missing solid gold:

    http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=10

    When labor shows solidarity, they get solidarity back.

    When labor demands entitlements with a “my way or the highway” approach, they’re going to get slapped down because their power has diminished to the point where that is possible. Labor is weak largely because labor too often views solidarity as a one-way street.

    I believe that it is a sign of healthy maturation that progressives can tell the difference and act accordingly.

    -marc

  • Richmondman

    Dave Snyder is a bike advocate, not a transportation expert. Let’s be real. He was elected because the metal trades council does not follow the socialist philosophy of the Board of Supervisors, plain and simple. Critical Mass can now gum up the GG bridge traffic carte blanche, since the Snyder refuses to acknowledge any responsibliity for, or necessity to reign in law-breaking bikers!

  • folderpete

    Dave is probably as good a pick as any. Although he’s a ‘bike nut’, he does know a bit about transpo too. That in itself probably qualifies him more than some sitting members.

    Its true that he’s not as photogenic as transport specialist Janet Reilly, and he’s not a (elected) politician, but as a ‘stick-in-the-eye’ from our darling Progs of the Circular Firing Squad, I’m sure he’ll rise to the task.

    Dave doesn’t replace Leah Shahum, per se, but it does look as though there is coming to be a “bike seat” on the board. And maybe thats not such a bad thing. If ‘bikers’ constitute 6+% of transport in SF — and non-motorists constitute a majority, then maybe having a seat that might speak to them is appropriate.

    Anyway, doens’t “Labor” already have a “seat” on the SF side of the board — John Moylan?

    BTW, who got the other empty seat on the GGB board?
    -FP