Monday, October 17, 2005

"Why are you on the Muni strike list anyhow?"


Yes, my judgment is that your so-called movement is "politically juvenile." My other judgment is that Muni is not a "malevolent" city agency operating outside of the city's political system; my arguments for those judgments are below. When you argue about policy you are inevitably making judgments---judgments that, ideally, should be fact-based and rational. I don't find refusing to pay the bus fare to a transportation system that's struggling financially is particularly helpful to anyone in the city, least of all those of us who rely on that system to get around.
My reading of this memo is that Michael Burns was not acting as the Lone Ranger in dealing with Muni's $57 million deficit; he was simply laying out the alternatives for his board as he understood them.

I don't own a car, and I ride Muni every day, using a lot of different bus lines as I move around the city, sowing discord in the progressive community (that's a joke, Marc). I think Muni is a good, reasonably priced system. When you ask people to commit civil disobedience, you should have a much better cause than a 25 cent fare hike and minimal service cuts in the bus and rail system vital to the city's economic and social well-being.

It would be helpful if you would expand on your "downtown corporate crowd" concept. Is this the same as Chris Daly's wicked "downtown interests"? Who exactly do you have in mind here? If you are advocating raising taxes, you are going to have to be more specific.

"So you are in favor of fare increases and service cuts?" No one is in favor of fare increases, not even Michael Burns. But increases are surely necessary occasionally, especially when Muni has a $57 million deficit and relatively low fares compared to other cities in the country.

"Why are you on the Muni strike announcement list anyway?" Because I'm a civic-minded guy, who likes to be informed. Your question suggests that you think your list should be composed only of those who agree with you. Don't you want to try to convert others to your views? I admit I'm not on the Muni Strike Team---or the Progressive Team, for that matter---but I'm not on any other team, either, unless being a registered Democrat qualifies. I also get material from PROSF, BeyondChron, The Sentinel, and, last and least, H. Brown, much of which I disagree with. It's all grist for the mill, Marc, and I hope you don't cut me off your list.

From: Marc Norton
Subject: Muni Fare Strike Bulletin: Two dollar fare in the works
Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005

The fare strike may or may not be "politically juvenile." That's a judgment call.

However, Burns memo was NOT in response to anything from the MTA. It was an affirmative statement that Muni should look to gouge more money out of the riders. It is being put forth as an ALTERNATIVE to trying to get money out of the downtown corporate crowd that is already getting a free ride.

Also, for your information, the MTA is an "autonomous... city agency," per Proposition E, which took control of the system out of the hands of our nominally-elected city leaders.

"Malevolent?" Again a judgment call. But I think that description fits a city agency that describes a huge service cut and fare increase as an "increase in reliability."

So, are you in favor of fare increases? Service cuts? Why are you on the MUNI strike announcement list anyway?

In struggle,
Marc Norton

From: Rob Anderson

Sent: Oct 11, 2005 12:09 PM
To:, Marc Norton

Subject: Muni Fare Strike Bulletin #12: Two
dollar fare in the works


Your fare strike effort is politically juvenile and counter-productive, since the less revenue Muni collects the more likely it is will have to raise fares in the future. There's nothing sinister in the memo you've attached; it's just the director responding to a directive from the MTA Board to examine their deficit problem for the next few years. The reality is that getting more money for Muni to avoid fare increases and service cuts is a political decision that's going to be made by the Board of Supervisors. Muni is not some politically autonomous, malevolent city agency. As the memo reminds us, Muni only gets 24% of its revenue from fares, which, fortunately, means that your politically infantile movement is unlikely to succeed.

Rob Anderson