Sunday, December 29, 2013

Willie Brown: How to kill a ban on BART strikes

Photo by Luke Thomas

Willie Brown rarely has anything of interest in his column in the Chronicle, which lists an endless round of parties, phony man on the street encounters, and the many movies he sees, about which he never has anything interesting to say. His dig-a-hole-and-fill-it-with-money column earlier this year was a damning admission of how he, Jerry Brown, and other Democrats view important public works projects (see also this and this):

So get off it. In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there's no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.

Brown just thought he was being smart and realistic, regardless of the real public interest in wasteful mega-projects like the Central Subway and high-speed rail. Only fuss-budgets and Republicans care about wasting money. Never mind that these projects spend scarce transportation money on projects that will provide little public benefit. The main thing is to get projects going, especially if they provide union jobs for that crucial part of the Democratic Party's base.

Last week he had this:

The best way for unions to stop this "no strike" advisory vote being proposed by new BART board President Joel Keller is to say it's a statewide issue and take the idea to Sacramento themselves. Then sit back and do nothing while their friends in the Legislature bury it in committee. If they let Keller go to the ballot, the voters are sure to vote for a ban---which will only ratchet up the pressure on Sacramento to actually do something.

Exactly who are those union "friends" in the state legislature? The Democrats, of course, who rely on union money and manpower when they run for office. (I say that as a Democrat myself.) Since a ban on strikes at Muni seems to be working effectively without exactly grinding Muni workers under the heel of the wicked bosses, why not a similar ban on BART strikes? Because the public interest is a secondary consideration. For Democrats and the unions, it's all about politics and jobs.

Unions and high-speed rail: here and here and here.

Unions and the Central Subway here

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