Wednesday, June 05, 2013

How much did this video cost city taxpayers?



The San Francisco County Transportation Authority made this video with the Prop. K sales tax money that's supposedly for maintaining and improving the city's transporation system. Hard to see how this witless video does that. Streetsblog apparently thought it was pretty cute, since they posted it as part of a fund-raising pitch without questioning what it cost city taxpayers.

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14 Comments:

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, but then this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSG5depilbY&list=UUmQcWXVRLfzcj6nRrjyMWPg played after and I am furious. Talk about a bunch of lies, no detailed plans about how congestion pricing would "fix" MUNI.

BTW- Did you read about the design competition to tear down 280 and use the space for parks, bike lanes, art, etc.?

"What if 280 came down? In Spring 2013, Mayor Ed Lee announced an exploration of the potential of removing Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco. The tradition of removing freeways is not a new one for our city"

http://www.cadsf.org/seed/

The madness continues....

 
At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It cost them nothing. It's a website that makes free cartoonish videos if you paste in text:

http://www.xtranormal.com

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much did you spend on this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q80_BtDpkbk

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accounts on xtranormal are free. Rob, you could make your own "cute" video in minutes!

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, I got it. I'm more or less a techno-peasant and not up with the latest jerk-off technology. This video is so lame I should have known that it was essentially free. This is probably the least impressive bit of technology I've seen, however.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The first commenter is more to the point by calling attention to the Congestion Pricing propaganda in the video after the lame animation. Fortunately, public opinion polls consistently show that the people of San Francisco overwhelmingly oppose paying to drive downtown in their own city.

Just as there are people working full-time on the public's dime to foist bicycles on us, there are people working to do the same with Congestion Pricing.

 
At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of congestion pricing personally, but this statement is still flawed:

"Fortunately, public opinion polls consistently show that the people of San Francisco overwhelmingly oppose paying to drive downtown in their own city."

Public opinion polls would probably consistently show that people would like everything to be free. The problem is, there's a cost. A quick example:

In Paris, litter hasn't been the same level of issue as here. Fine, cultural differences, etc. Then a Starbucks moves in. All of a sudden, the trash cans on the street are overflowing with cups and Starbucks trash winds up all over the streets. Turns out, there isn't as much trash because France hasn't traditionally had a "to-go" culture: Parisian cafe's don't even have paper cups, Starbuck does.

Here's the problem: in order to combat the new found larger amount of waste on the street, the city has to install a bunch of new trash bins around the Starbucks and in the vicinity, hire additional trash employees to pick it up and clean the streets, and pay to ship these to a landfill, which already has an environmental impact. So the city passes a tax that gets placed on places (like Starbucks) that have passed the financial burden down the road (hiring a dishwasher and using real dishes) to the city (trash clean up.) The actions of Starbucks had a financial cost to the city of Paris, so they recouped it.

So here's where this applies: in San Francisco, it's free to drive on the streets. Fair enough. But there's a cost: it comes in the form of human lives (accidents), health (air/noise pollution), common space (roads dedicated only to vehicles), as well as maintenance and construction. We pay taxes to theoretically offset these costs, but we actually only pay for the maintenance and construction of the streets, not the other (more hidden, but very real) costs.

While I don't personally think congestion pricing is the right way to approach this problem, the societal and communal cost of driving is nowhere near properly accounted for. In addition, even just for the tax aspect, as a non-car-driver, I have no option but to pay the taxes that cover the cost of maintenance and construction on a space I barely use at all. So the idea that the true costs aren't being paid for by the people taking advantage of the services is very real.

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In addition, even just for the tax aspect, as a non-car-driver, I have no option but to pay the taxes that cover the cost of maintenance and construction on a space I barely use at all"

No, you're paying for something that benefits you. You may not drive, but well-maintained roads for vehicles are good for:

- Public transit
- Police Department
- Fire Department
- Emergency Vehicles
- Delivery Trucks (you gotta eat)
- Postal Service

So, you may not be driving, but those roads are of a benefit to EVERYONE, and just because we may not all like cars, it doesn't take away from their usefulness and importance.

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Turns out that the video, though made with a free program, wasn't entirely free, since cost $1,500 in labor:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for your inquiry about the the Authority's video: “A coffee shop encounter with a transportation planner.” This video was produced as a part of outreach activities the Authority conducted in support of the San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP) in 2011.The goal of the video was to raise awareness and public involvement in the SFTP, which by its nature is somewhat complex and jargon-filled, but which also relies on broad and deep public input for the identification of transportation needs and investment strategies. As a result, we strive to make the work accessible and engaging to the public.

The video was created using a free video platform, Xtranormal.The only costs incurred to produce the video were the Authority's SFTP team staff time and and some support from our outreach consultants.Because the time was bundled together with time for many other outreach activities, we can only estimate the cost in staff time, at approximately $1500.

Please contact Tilly Chang, Deputy Director for Planning, at 522-4832 with any questions you may have.

Regards,

Maria Lombardo
Interim Executive Director
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
1455 Market Street,22nd Floor
San Francisco,CA 94103

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The PCO's better get out there and write 30 more parking tickets.

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I got it. I'm more or less a techno-peasant and not up with the latest jerk-off technology.

Yes, that's exactly whom we want influencing policies. Fossils who don't know anything about the cutting edge.

If it were up to you Rob, we wouldn't have jerk off things like cell phones or computers. Leave the land lines and slide rules alone!

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Oh yes, you computer jerks are so cool and with-it. All this technology at your command, but you have nothing of substance to say, and you're too chickenshit to put your name on your comment.

 
At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Turns out that the video, though made with a free program, wasn't entirely free, since cost $1,500 in labor"

This is a pretty desperate attempt to try and save face. Even the fact that you wrote a letter to the SFMTA, they had to read, analyze, evaluate costs, and send you a reply probably cost over $100 in staff time. I guarantee your shenanigans cost our taxpayers plenty, so I wouldn't take up that one as your cause.

Plus, you've got plenty more to worry about, like how removing parking from Masonic will somehow slow down traffic. Maybe you should sue the city? Doesn't matter if you lose, you'll make sure we, the taxpayers, spend millions more defending against your frivolity.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it must have been pretty labor-intensive to read my one-sentence letter and respond. Must be a burdensome nuisance when a public agency has to respond to pesky requests for information.

You keep repeating the charge that I somehow "cost" taxpayers a lot of money, but you provide no specifics in spite of your "guarantee." If the city had simply followed the law on the Bicycle Plan, it wouldn't have had to pay our lawyer for her time when we won the litigation. Somehow that's my fault? You can't collect anything when you lose in court, moron.

Typical that you don't know that Masonic Avenue was part of the Bicycle Plan. And of course the project will in fact slow traffic on Masonic---including the #43 line---since the city will no longer have the parking lanes to convert into extra traffic lanes during commute hours.

 

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