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Mike Cheney's Media History 

Wednesday, Jun 19 2013

Mike Cheney buttonholes former U.S. Sen. S.I. Hikakawa, convincing him to join mechanics in a City Hall demonstration calling for more training and better equipment. Six months later, an outside consultant rips Muni, suggesting many of the same fixes.

Three years of Cheney agitation regarding overtime abuse results in a criminal probe, multiple city audits, and a 1988 overtime ordinance.

After a year of Cheney hounding Muni through the press, the transit agency opts to place holograms on its easily forged fast passes. Counterfeits were roughly estimated to cost Muni upwards of $1 million yearly.

Mayoral candidate Willie Brown uses Cheney's data to charge Mayor Frank Jordan with allowing Muni diesel service to deteriorate in hopes of pushing a privatization measure. Jordan's camp denies this motive — but doesn't deny any of Cheney's findings.

Cheney and a team of mechanics locate and fix a flaw that caused rear bus doors to pop open. A trough-like device is devised to divert rainwater from electronics. This problem had beguiled Muni for around a decade; Cheney's team spent a day identifying the problem and brainstorming a repair.

Cheney blows the whistle on a "shell game" to deceive the CHP inspectors overseeing diesel buses. He also did this in 1989, handing the press an internal memo listing 10 buses being held for the "random" CHP fleet test, which concluded "please remove 'Hold for CHP' stickers before inspection."

Cheney leaks to the press that 11-year-old Hatim Mansori was stabbed in an unprovoked attack on the 49-Mission, and that the bus's cameras were not functioning at the time. Bobby Brown was eventually arrested and charged with this attack, and four other Muni stabbings. He remains incarcerated in a mental institution.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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