Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunday meters, parking tickets, and the $500 million bond

The most expensive parking tickets in the US

Like the rebellion in Polk Gulch against taking away parking on Polk Street to make protected bike lanes, the city's pro-bike/anti-car movement is surprised that people in the neighborhoods oppose Sunday parking meters. 

That opposition is now having serious political consequences for City Hall's other predatory anti-car plans and policies. Apparently Mayor Lee has been getting so much negative feedback on Sunday parking meters---and the inevitable parking tickets, which are now the most expensive in the country---that he asked the MTA board to rescind Sunday parking meters. Then he wanted the hike in the vehicle license fee off the November ballot.

The Bay Guardian belabors the obvious:

He[Supervisor Campos] continued: "Let’s be clear: The reason why the SFMTA budget included an item that did not provide for funding from Sunday meters is because the mayor wanted it that way. We have a budget system that is essentially run by decisions made in the Mayor’s Office." We posed this idea in our [earlier]story (Politics over Policy, 4/22), contending that because the SFMTA is appointed by the mayor (meaning, he picks and chooses who is on the board), the board members are therefore politically beholden to the mayor.

It's not that the Mayor can punish board members that don't follow his lead. He can not reappoint them, like Mayor Newsom did with Leah Shahum. But the reality is that the mayor appoints people to that board who he knows will be Team Players before he appoints them. (That's why Dan Richard appointed Thea Selby to the high-speed rail board, not because she's smart and well-informed on transportation issues, which she clearly is not.)

All of this is because polls show that apparently the $500 million bond on the November ballot, which needs a 2/3 vote, is in trouble. Mayor Lee is like a ship captain, throwing stuff overboard hoping that will keep the ship from sinking. 

The usual anti-car suspects, like Tom Radulovich, Mario Tanev, and someone from the League of Pissed Off Voters showed up at the hearing to support Sunday meters. (Go to the Pissed Off Voters website and you learn that that's all it is. There's no information on what they support or oppose, which probably means that it's just another front group for the anti-car movement, like the phony Fix Masonic).

The Guardian describes Mario Tanev as "a very bright policy wonk," but readers of this blog might have a different opinion of Tanev's intellectual abilities.

This is all about the $500 million bond on the November ballot, which, oddly, is unmentioned in the Guardian's story. Mayor Lee made it clear months ago that he was worried mostly about the bond and wanted to clear the decks of stuff that would annoy voters and threaten passing the bond (S.F. Sunday parking meter charge voted down).

San Francisco has the most expensive parking tickets in the country. As the Chronicle story linked above says, "a good part" of the $11 million the city takes in on Sunday parking meters is from parking tickets. According to the Transportation Fact Sheet, in FY2013 the city made $53,856,001 from parking meters and $88,889,809 from parking tickets.

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