Monday, July 30, 2012

"Collective amnesia," Congestion Pricing, security cameras, and public power

In a paragraph before her discussion of the city's pension system, the Chronicle's Heather Knight worries about City Hall's "collective amnesia":

City Hall officials seem to be experts at getting worked up over an issue and then quickly forgetting about it. Remember the long debates over police-monitored security cameras, public power and congestion pricing, all of which pretty much fizzled? But just because collective amnesia sometimes descends on City Hall doesn't mean the issue itself has disappeared.

I can jog the collective memory on Congestion Pricing and public power. (I don't know the status of the security cameras, but, like foot patrols, the camera idea seemed to be another response to crime and gun violence based on wishful thinking.) 

Though the idea of Congestion Pricing lives on at the SFCTA, which administers Proposition K transportation sales tax, public opinion in SF has been consistently against paying a fee to drive downtown in their own city. (See this, this and this.) After the irresponsible and dumb "smart growth" Treasure Island and Market/Octavia projects are implemented and traffic on the Bay Bridge and downtown is much worse, City Hall, Walk SF, the Bicycle Coalition, and the anti-car movement will renew the push for this unpopular idea Whether We Like It Or Not.

Public power has been rejected many times by city voters, much to the Bay Guardian's disappointment. Knight herself wrote about the last rejection in the 2008 election.

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