Monday, October 22, 2012

John Rizzo: "We were clueless"

Like all the candidates, Rizzo supports screwing up Masonic

John Rizzo gets points for candor, but being "clueless" is not exactly the kind of sound bite (CCSF president: 'We were clueless,' SF Chronicle) that will encourage people in District 5 to vote for him next month. He's been on City College's Board of Trustees for six years---he's president of that board now---and he had no idea that the school was going bankrupt?
 
But that doesn't prevent the Bay Guardian from endorsing him:
 
John Rizzo, as a leader in the local Sierra Club, has been part of the progressive coalition for years. As the president of the Community College Board, he's been one of the reformers trying to keep that institution alive after more than a decade of corruption and mismanagement...Rizzo has to deal with the fact that he was at the helm when City College faced the greatest crisis in at least half a century. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that even the reformers didn't realize how much trouble was at hand and didn't take greater steps to head off the crisis. But Rizzo's got the seasoning and the agenda to be a solid supervisor.
 
Sitting by cluelessly while City College goes down the drain is the kind of "seasoning" District 5 needs in its supervisor? That just shows how desperate the Guardian is in the wake of its disillusionment with Supervisor Olague and Julian Davis.
 
What exactly is Rizzo's "agenda"? Essentially the same as every other "progressive" candidate in the race---that is, all the candidates. 
 
Like the others, Rizzo groveled before the Bicycle Coalition. Maybe he was "clueless" that City College was going down the shitter, but the coalition must be pleased that he was still pushing the bike agenda there:
 
As College Board Trustee, I have improved bike facilities at City College: increased bike parking, installing showers for use by bike commuters, and the Lee Ave extension. I also worked to get the college involved in Fix Masonic.
 
Of course Rizzo supports the city's plan to screw up traffic on Masonic Avenue to make bike lanes, as he told both the Bicycle Coalition and in his SF Gate questionnaire:
 
I do support Transit First, but public transit isn't working. Buses are over-crowded and irregular, even during the middle of the afternoon. Muni focuses on getting people downtown, but other lines are vital as well. Consider the 43 line bringing thousands of students to City College, USF, and several high schools...Care must be taken to make sure bike lanes don't slow bus traffic.

The Masonic Avenue project will eliminate 167 street parking spaces on Masonic between Fell Street and Geary Boulevard. All that parking on Masonic is now removed during commute hours to handle the additional traffic during the morning and afternoon commute. Masonic now carries 32,165 vehicles a day according to a count made in May, 2010, during the Great Recession, but I bet the count is significantly higher now.
 
All these "improvements"---every anti-car project is called an "improvement"---will of course slow traffic on Masonic, including the 12,765 daily passengers on the #43 line that Rizzo is supposedly concerned about. The city downplays how much slower traffic on Masonic will be after this project is implemented with some suspiciously precise numbers (see page 14 in this report). The truth is the city doesn't really know how badly the project will screw up traffic on Masonic, a major regional north/south traffic corridor, but I guess we're going to find out!
 
Rizzo told the Bicycle Coalition that he "would propose a future ballot measure for MTA that could include capital funding for bicycle projects," because "Funding is a chronic problem with Muni operations and bike facilities." Actually the city never seems to have any trouble finding money for its bike "improvements."

Rizzo on his website: "John will work to improve Muni management and free up more operating funds to improve performance." Of course the Bicycle Coalition didn't ask the candidates about the Central Subway, for which the city has already contributed, according the Examiner, $242 million in scarce city transportation dollars, not state and federal money. All that money would go a long way toward improving Muni's "performance." (Not even a mention of the Central Subway on Rizzo's site.)
 
When pandering to the Bicycle Coalition in 2008, Rizzo couldn't even get his facts straight on the injunction against the city's Bicycle Plan:
 
“San Francisco is striving to be a green city, yet a Republican judge has frozen implementation of the City’s Bike Plan, preventing safety improvements for a major form of green transportation,” says John Rizzo, of the SF Sierra Club’s Executive Committee. “The City needs to take urgent action to get the Bike Plan back on track.”
 
In fact Judge Busch was/is a Democrat, and the city was doing everything it could to  get "back on track," since it tried to get Busch to lift the injunction three times even while the city was working on the court-ordered EIR on the Bicycle Plan. Judge Busch wouldn't lift the injunction because, based on past behavior, he understood that the city couldn't be trusted.

More from the Guardian:
 
Ross Mirkarimi, who on occasion clashed with his progressive colleagues, never went south on a single issue. We're looking for a strong, progressive leader here, someone who can break new ground and launched dramatic new programs and ideas. He's[Rizzo] particularly strong on environmental issues, and would be a worthy successor to Mirkarimi, who engineered bills like the ban on plastic bags that put San Francisco in the forefront of the urban green movement.
 
"Never" dissenting from the prog agenda "on a single issue" is "strong, progressive" leadership? What the Guardian really wants is a supervisor who will vote with them on every issue. Mirkarimi was a supervisor for seven years, and the ban on plastic bags is all the Guardian can come with as an achievement? That's a confession of how lame the so-called progressive agenda in SF has been. Mirkarimi was not a good supervisor, and Rizzo would continue that "progressive" tradition while voting with the Guardian on every issue.
 
Rizzo is one of the Gang of Four---Rizzo, Mirkarimi, Jane Kim, and Olague---that abandoned the Green Party when being a Democrat became fashionable in SF again. 
 
Rizzo supported Josh Wolf's bogus cause.
 
While on the Concourse Authority's board, Rizzo was often an anti-garage minority of one. That included his pushing a dishonest charge against the Concourse Authority before the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.
 
John Rizzo holding a sign at a Josh Wolf demo

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