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So March Against Muni wanted to proceed to City Hall. Well, that's
"March Against Muni," the odd amalgam of largely young, hip people deeply incensed at rude Muni drivers, paper Fast Passes, and other maladies were scheduled to have their big march through downtown today. But that's not exactly what happened. Instead, an event occurred that their protest material seemed to decry as impossible: The Muni drivers showed up early.
Ten minutes before the marching portion of March Against Muni was set to commence, a far larger, louder, and more spirited contingent of Muni operators strode onto the scene, and drowned out the novice protesters' wails. For those keeping score at home, the marching Muni drivers out-marched March Against Muni. And this was no mass movement; perhaps 200 drivers showed up compared to 50 to 100 March Against Muni folks. The lot of them would have fit in an articulated bus.
funny -- the drivers wanted to march there, too. What were the odds?
"We're going to march in front of them," said Transit Workers Union
president Irwin Lum. "Not with them." This he proceeded to do.
drivers proceeded to eat March Against Muni's lunch in every
conceivable way, shape, and form. MAM's odd message was, in person,
even more vague, superficial, and Utopian than the "demands" circulated via its Web
site and Facebook page.
At times, organizer Jared Roussel bellowed pablum like "We
deserve a functioning transit system" or "We're not going to put up
with this nonsense" into his bullhorn. All right. Or you'll do what?
The union side, however, had a winning game plan. Rather than make
obtuse complaints about the state of Muni, they stayed on-message: This
is all management's fault! Speakers again and again assailed Muni
management for burning through money, and scapegoating the union
drivers. If you're still scoring at home, this was the first winning
bit of PR the Transit Workers have engineered since this whole Muni soap opera began. If they were looking to put forth a face for the public other than money-grubbing, concession-spurning goldbrickers -- which is the image that's getting a good airing right now -- well, mission accomplished. Bluntly sticking to the message, a confrontational attitude -- do we hear Eric Jaye's music?