Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Questionable" political commentary

From a recent op-ed in the Examiner (Muni's latest giveaway is questionable):

Last week, Mayor Ed Lee disseminated an ebullient news release, thanking the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors for acquiescing to his desires and providing disabled people and low-to moderate-income seniors with free Muni. That the SFMTA board acceded to the mayor's wishes is no surprise. It serves roughly the same role as the referee at a pro wrestling match. 

This is the same body that obeisantly voted to do away with Sunday parking meters at the mayor's insistence only months after voting for Sunday parking meters. Between the $11 million in lost parking revenue, the $4 million dropped by making Muni free for low-income children and the anticipated $4.4 million hit from this latest gift, that is roughly $20 million depleted from the SFMTA's operating budget ­— every year.

If you have "disseminated," "acquiescing," "acceded," and "obeisantly" in two short paragraphs, you need to do some rewriting. 

But clunky prose aside---see an earlier post on that---Eskinazi's analysis is unconvincing, since he doesn't put the numbers cited in the context of the city's budget ($8.6 billion) and the MTA's budget ($840 million). Muni only collects around $200 million in fares every year and gets more than $200 million from the General Fund.

Where most of Muni's budget goes: between $520 million and $542 million in salaries and benefits for its 5,359 employees, depending on whether you're looking at this or this.

Seems like Muni is more of a jobs program than a transportation system. Since the primary function of city government is supposedly to serve the people of San Francisco, giving poor people, old people, and the handicapped a break---a "giveaway"!---doesn't seem like such a bad idea in our rapidly gentrifying city. 

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At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shocking that you support a giveaway that you will be able to take advantage of.

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if low-to-moderate seniors and disabled persons were such a massive source of revenue for SFMITA.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Not much of an advantage, since I don't ride Muni much. Besides, since I live on Social Security, I'm the sort of old fart this is designed to help.

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the sort of old fart this is designed to help.

At the cost of our transit system. what a crock of bullshit.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

How so? Naturally, it doesn't occur to you that the MTA is a little over-staffed, that maybe it should spend less on beefing up its bureaucracy and more on, like, our "transit system"?

This post shows that what Muni spending to give people like me a break on the fare is trivial in the context of its huge budget.


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