City ignores public on bus plan

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EDITORIAL San Francisco's tech bus saga has proven to be a source of fascination to national and international media outlets. Blockades of Google, Apple, and Facebook shuttles have fueled the narrative that the city is gripped by class warfare, with evictees and low-income renters raging against well-heeled private shuttle passengers and the taxpayer-subsidized tech industry.

There's truth in that, to be sure — but another reason for this mounting tension has less to do with the passengers inside the shuttles and more to do with tone-deaf administrators and politicians inside City Hall.

At the Jan. 21 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meeting where the plan to regulate the Google buses was adopted, people filled a hearing room and an overflow room to capacity and sounded off for hours with their concerns. Some voiced support, but opponents felt the city wasn't demanding enough from the shuttle-sponsoring corporations in exchange for this privilege, and for the headaches they've already caused.

Yet the board of that supposedly independent agency just unanimously rubber-stamped the plan that had been crafted behind closed doors, without even bothering to conduct a broad-based study about the impacts the shuttles are actually having on the city.

There's a lot of anger in San Francisco right now. And no, it isn't rooted in envy over tech workers' generous salaries. Much of it is driven by a growing sense that city government routinely freezes out the public while doing the bidding of a small number of elite stakeholders with undue influence.

Despite dozens of protests, a media blitzkrieg, and passionate speeches urging the MTA board to come up with a better plan, the directors chose to endorse something that had been formulated without public input. That simply is not how government is supposed to work, particularly here in San Francisco.

Yet this episode is all too typical of how the people's business is being conducted these days. Important decisions are getting made behind closed doors and presented to the public as done deals, including the decisions by Mayor Ed Lee and his appointees to repeal Sunday metering, block CleanPowerSF, speed up housing development, and build a Warriors arena on the waterfront.

How would this have gone differently if city administrators took their commitment to big ideas like "civic engagement" seriously, and actually solicited ideas from the public from the start instead of treating the broader community as an afterthought?

As long as City Hall continues to be perceived as out of touch with city residents, and beholden to corporate interests alone, expect the tales of San Francisco's class war to continue dominating headlines.

 

Comments

The people who opposes these shuttles feel much strongly than the people who are OK with them. And therefore the people who show up at a public meeting were always going to be the opponents of the shuttles. Those who support them, or who are neutral, had no reason to attend since it was obvious that this deal would be approved.

Just because a relatively small number of people (many of the the "usual suspects" activists who always show up) show up and make a lot of noise does not mean that the majority feel this way.

You mostly talk to people on the left so can have little idea what the silent majority really think. You do not talk to the 60% who voted for Lee and approve of him.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

noisy group of activists and advocates would have undue power.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

to a progressive is when they get their way, when it is people who want the status quo around parking in the Mission it is "the mob" to quote Steve Jones.

Posted by guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

There were five votes in favor of the MTA gift to the tech shuttles and zero against.

Does anyone think that more than 80% of San Franciscans think that this plan that would indemnify these shuttle firms against wrongdoing should have passed?

Wouldn't a representative Board of Directors have seen at least one vote against?

This MTA Board is not representative of San Franciscans and cannot be trusted when it comes hat in hand asking for billions of dollars in big chunks.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

parking plan that involved all those meters and tickets.

It's hard to take you folks seriously when the citizens come out and complain and the MTA tries to get over anyways, while the progressives cheer.

Then the progressives are pissed that the MTA didn't have hearings and involve public input in the process... when they were opposed to public input in the past.

The citizens of the city voted against closing of GG Park more often to car traffic, the bike shouters then went to the BOS and got over, the progressives cheered.

Posted by guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

Progressives and conservatives alike hate me because I tell progressives when they're inserting their heads up their asses. The former because it threatens their sinecures and the latter because it threatens their control over the professional progressives.

I helped my neighbors organize to stop the North Mission SF Park plan and I opposed going over the heads of the voters on Saturday closure. McGoldrick was so weakened by that crumb that he was vulnerable when it came time to protect the Mission from a tsunami of condos when 3400 Cesar Chavez came along.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

are capable of getting things done. There is no mileage in hating a dried up husk of a one-time wannabee activist with nothing but memories and regrets.

Pity would be more appropriate.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 6:59 am

No, your hate is pure, it shines through and is consuming you.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 7:52 am

But it does amuse me to watch you squirm, wince, writhe, wriggle and duck about.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:12 am

More projection that shines a harsh light on the demons that consume you.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:54 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:06 am
Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:22 am

Try using words or shutting up.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:59 am

The Cast (in order of appearance.)
M= Man looking for an argument
R= Receptionist
Q= Abuser
A= Arguer (John Cleese)
C= Complainer (Eric Idle)
H= Head Hitter

M: Ah. I'd like to have an argument, please.
R: Certainly sir. Have you been here before?
M: No, I haven't, this is my first time.
R: I see. Well, do you want to have just one argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?
M: Well, what is the cost?
R: Well, It's one pound for a five minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.
M: Well, I think it would be best if I perhaps started off with just the one and then see how it goes.
R: Fine. Well, I'll see who's free at the moment.
Pause
R: Mr. DeBakey's free, but he's a little bit conciliatory.
Ahh yes, Try Mr. Barnard; room 12.
M: Thank you.

(Walks down the hall. Opens door.)

Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
M: Well, I was told outside that...
Q: Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
M: What?
Q: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I'm not going to just stand...!!
Q: OH, oh I'm sorry, but this is abuse.
M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
Q: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.
M: Oh, Thank you very much. Sorry.
Q: Not at all.
M: Thank You.
(Under his breath) Stupid git!!

(Walk down the corridor)
M: (Knock)
A: Come in.
M: Ah, Is this the right room for an argument?
A: I told you once.
M: No you haven't.
A: Yes I have.
M: When?
A: Just now.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn't
A: I did!
M: You didn't!
A: I'm telling you I did!
M: You did not!!
A: Oh, I'm sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
M: Oh, just the five minutes.
A: Ah, thank you. Anyway, I did.
M: You most certainly did not.
A: Look, let's get this thing clear; I quite definitely told you.
M: No you did not.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: No you didn't.
A: Yes I did.
M: You didn't.
A: Did.
M: Oh look, this isn't an argument.
A: Yes it is.
M: No it isn't. It's just contradiction.
A: No it isn't.
M: It is!
A: It is not.
M: Look, you just contradicted me.
A: I did not.
M: Oh you did!!
A: No, no, no.
M: You did just then.
A: Nonsense!
M: Oh, this is futile!
A: No it isn't.
M: I came here for a good argument.
A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn't.
M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn't!

A: Yes it is!
M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)
A: No it isn't.
M: It is.
A: Not at all.
M: Now look.
A: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
M: What?
A: That's it. Good morning.
M: I was just getting interested.
A: Sorry, the five minutes is up.
M: That was never five minutes!
A: I'm afraid it was.
M: It wasn't.
Pause
A: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue anymore.
M: What?!
A: If you want me to go on arguing, you'll have to pay for another five minutes.
M: Yes, but that was never five minutes, just now. Oh come on!
A: (Hums)
M: Look, this is ridiculous.
A: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid!
M: Oh, all right.
(pays money)
A: Thank you.
short pause
M: Well?
A: Well what?
M: That wasn't really five minutes, just now.
A: I told you, I'm not allowed to argue unless you've paid.
M: I just paid!
A: No you didn't.
M: I DID!
A: No you didn't.
M: Look, I don't want to argue about that.
A: Well, you didn't pay.
M: Aha. If I didn't pay, why are you arguing? I Got you!
A: No you haven't.
M: Yes I have. If you're arguing, I must have paid.
A: Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time.
M: Oh I've had enough of this.
A: No you haven't.
M: Oh Shut up.

(Walks down the stairs. Opens door.)

M: I want to complain.
C: You want to complain! Look at these shoes. I've only had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through.
M: No, I want to complain about...
C: If you complain nothing happens, you might as well not bother.
M: Oh!
C: Oh my back hurts, it's not a very fine day and I'm sick and tired of this office.

(Slams door. walks down corridor, opens next door.)

M: Hello, I want to... Ooooh!
H: No, no, no. Hold your head like this, then go Waaah. Try it again.
M: uuuwwhh!!
H: Better, Better, but Waah, Waah! Put your hand there.
M: No.
H: Now..
M: Waaaaah!!!
H: Good, Good! That's it.
M: Stop hitting me!!
H: What?
M: Stop hitting me!!
H: Stop hitting you?
M: Yes!
H: Why did you come in here then?
M: I wanted to complain.
H: Oh no, that's next door. It's being-hit-on-the-head lessons in here.
M: What a stupid concept.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 10:09 am

Obfuscate? He's telling you exactly how his mind operates!

Marcos has always been one of the weaker debaters on this site. But his words are a clear window into his mind, especially when he's angry or defensive. His latest response to you is a perfect example.

He never learned that whatever someone talks about someone else, it almost always tells us only how the speaker thinks and nothing about the intended target.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:59 am

the only thing demonstrated here is a pretty clear cut example of grandiose delusional disorder:

"Grandiose: A person with this type of delusional disorder has an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity. The person might believe he or she has a great talent or has made an important discovery."

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:09 am

prejudice, which in turn derives from a totally inflated sense of his own importance and relevance to the city. When in reality all he does is whine 24/7 on every discussion board that hasn't banned him yet for trolling.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:22 am

really don't care that other ordinary people take a bus to work.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 7:02 am

"It isn't rooted in envy over tech workers' generous salaries." Didn't one of these idiots who was at City Hall tell the commissioners that Google "should pay us a billion dollars because they've got the money". That sure sounds like envy to me.

And how do we even know that these people who spoke at the meeting even live in SF? Gypsy Taub was the loudest voice against the nudity ban and she lives (and doesn't work) in Berkeley. That protester who faked being the left's version of a Google worker (overweight, dorky, and ranting about the poor shouldn't live in SF) lives and works in Oakland. They should all protest closer to where they live.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

families, and therefore far more free time. The average person cannot spend hours at a meeting. Therefore the rabble that shows up at these meetings are generally a bunch of extremists who have little in common with ordinary hard-working decent citizens, who instead trust the elected and appointed officials to do their job and ignore the rabble, which is what happened here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 7:01 am

About the 'not rooted in envy' thing. I don't know if 'envy' is the right word, but antagonism directed against a specific group of people because of who they are.

At the meeting the city's analyst said that 80% of the private shuttle stops were for intra-city buses, going to local schools and hospitals. Which makes sense since a Google Bus isn't even in the city between 8:30AM and 5:30PM.

An executive from Bauer confirmed that his buses had been using city bus stops for 10 years.

But no uproar, no problems until the Google buses, making 20% of the bus boardings.

Steven tends to say whatever feels good to say; the fact that it isn't true just doesn't matter. Making the Progressive argument does.

Posted by Guest2 on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:08 am

Progressives have always focuses on social issues. That is why the nation has become much more liberal on social issues in the last 50 years.

But in economic issues, the nation has become much more conservative, not least because all the left has to offer on the economy is class warfare and the politics of envy.

The left won the social issues because the right were happy to concede that as long as they won on the economic issues.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 8:53 am

Mitt Romney ran on the politics that anyone who demands economic justice is merely practicing envy and he lost against a very weak Democrat president who throws crumbs to economic justice. Americans now support economic justice in politics after 30 years of learning how "supply side" corporate welfare and "free trade" screws them.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:11 am

tax cuts, so clearly it didn't matter who the people voted for. Theyw anted tax cuts over a vague notion like economic "justice".

Politicians who run on a platform of hiking taxes typically do not do well.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 9:58 am

Except that Obama ran on a platform of rolling back the Bush II tax cuts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/14/us/politics/14talk.html

He reversed on that after getting slapped down by the voters on the individual mandate and got slapped down by the voters to the tune of 100 fewer electoral votes against a nimrod like Romney for moving to the right in 2012.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

You want the president to listen, right?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

"[A]ccording to a 2012 MTA study, of 38,000 daily shuttle stops in the city, 80 percent were for trips within the city limits. (Hello, Academy of Art shuttles.) The despised tech buses, which pick up workers in San Francisco and shuttle them to the Peninsula, accounted for only 6,500 stops."
(from http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Tech-troops-not-officers-se...)
Based on this study, making the bus stop fee punitive would cost hospitals and schools much more than it would cost tech companies.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 10:11 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 10:52 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 11:10 am

prevent the "deciders" from getting to their job in City Hall, as opposed to blocking people just trying to get to their jobs every day.

Posted by guestD on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 11:26 am

homes? If they want anarchy they can have it, but they won't like it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 11:33 am

This article cavalierly ignores the fact that almost twice as many people showed up to that hearing in favor of the shuttles than opposed (26-16).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

This article purposefully distorts the plain fact that most of the people (26-16) filling those hearing rooms were speaking in favor of the shuttles.

Posted by Adrian Covert on Jan. 29, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

We are two high school students working on a documentary about gentrification in the mission. Growing up in San Francisco, we have experienced the ever changing nature of our city and feel impassioned about documenting it. The process of film making thus far has been exciting, interesting, and eye opening to say the least. Because we are taking on this project as a personal endeavor rather than part of a class, we are faced with the reality that it takes funds to create a quality documentary. That is why we've come to you to ask for your help in supporting our project. Please check us out at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/missionfilms/mi-casa-no-es-su-casa

Posted by missionfilms on Jan. 30, 2014 @ 12:34 am

for a film which explores a subject that has already been explored ad nauseum. You're not interesting, your views are the same as the people around you and no one gives a rat's ass what you have to say.

Get into Stanford, make a bundle and buy a house in the Mission. Then make a movie about that.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

Why not go find a place where people welcome unsolicited personal advice from strangers and go live there?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

A non binding resolution by the voters of the city that the Guardian encouraged the School district to ignore.

The non binding resolution form 40 years ago about transit first that the Guardian treats as being cut in stone.

Hard to take Steve and his opportunism seriously.

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