Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunday meters: Another symbolic issue

Like the Google bus issue, the Sunday parking meters issue is essentially symbolic. Mayor Lee has made it clear that he's only supporting repealing Sunday parking meters because he's worried about his bond measure and raising the vehicle licensing fee, both of which are on the November ballot. (A prediction: If voters reject the $500 million bond and the vehicle license fee, Lee and the MTA board will quickly reinstate the Sunday meters to punish voters.)

Obviously the mayor has been getting a lot of negative feedback from the neighborhoods on the Sunday meters policy. Repealing Sunday parking meters is a pathetic attempt to appease growing neighborhood discontent with a predatory, meddlesome City Hall. Instead of paving the streets, the city brings anti-car "improvements" to the neighborhoods, including eliminating parking spaces to make bike lanes.

We were down this "transportation infrastructure" road just a few years ago with the costly street bond measure passed by city voters.

A few facts to consider: In spite of all this money approved by city voters, San Francisco still has the second worst roads in the country, behind only San Jose. San Francisco also has the most expensive parking tickets in the country, and it now brings in $331,349,190 a year by preying on everyone who drives a motor vehicle in the city.

Where does all the money City Hall raises from property taxes and preying on motorists go? George Wooding at the Westside Observer provides one answer:

The crushing weight of San Francisco City employees' salaries and benefits is one reason the City keeps pushing expenses onto homeowners. Mayor Lee's proposed $7.9 billion City budget for Fiscal Year 2013–2014 indicates that the City will increase spending by $710 million, adding 866 more City government employees, bringing the total to 27,722 full-time equivalent employees. [The City actually had 36,761 full- and part-time employees at the end of calendar year 2012.] Over one-half of the Mayor's budget — $3.9 billion — will be dedicated to City employee salaries and benefits. The average City employee makes $99,000 with benefits, while the average citizen makes about $73,000 with few or no benefits.

The SFMTA alone has more than 5,000 employees.

It's good that the Restoring Transportation Balance initiative will be on the November ballot with the $500 million bond and the vehicle license fee, since it will mean the Fall political campaign will include for the first time a discussion of both the transportation money the city is squandering and its anti-car policies.

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