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Monday, January 21, 2008

MTA War Is Brewing on MLK Day as Archduke Gavin Newsom Inspects His Troops. It's ...

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2008 at 12:07 PM


By Benjamin Wachs

It’s a slow week: a time when our legislators are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their fund-raising accounts. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of how successful corrupt minority politicians can be. Here's what the government will be doing this holiday week:

Monday, January 21 – San Francisco rests, has a dream

Thursday, January 24

10 a.m.. – Rules Committee

There’s a war brewing over the San Francisco MTA.

(Cue music. And, man, if I had an infographic of some kind, it would go right here.)

The setup: Last election’s Prop. A passed and gave the MTA Board almost total independence to actually run the MTA. The move was incredibly controversial, because San Francisco has always thought effectiveness isn’t liberal enough.

The first shot: The mayor, who has the sole power to nominate members of the MTA board, accepted the “resignation letters” of 3 of the MTA’s most progressive members, and is trying to replace them with candidates who have less full-throated support for non-Newsom policies.

The Western front: The Rules Committee is the first place where the supes get to consider all city appointees … and right now they’re debating just how hard they want to shoot back.

The sides: Newsom BFF Sean Elsbernd (one of the mayor’s 5 Nazgul who sit on the board) is a member of the Rules Committee, and so the Newsom MTA appointees have at least one vote. But so is Tom Ammiano, who’s knows just how much of a power grab this is and is none too happy about it. So that’s one vote for and one vote against.

The tie-breaker: Board President Aaron Peskin, and the stand he takes as a tie-breaker in the rules committee is likely to predict the direction the of the whole board.

On the one hand, Peskin likes a smooth-running city, and the mayor does get to make appointments. On the other hand, Peskin is the father of Prop A and is probably furious that after all the trouble he took to ensure MUNI’s independence, the mayor is trying extra hard to put it under his thumb.

Complications: Meanwhile, Jake McGoldrick has proposed a charter amendment that would make the MTA directors directly electable by the public, and Ammiano is likely to propose another charter amendment giving the supes the authority to nominate three of the directors themselves.

It’s on, brother. It’s on.

1 p.m. – City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee


I’m sorry, what? Was there a meeting of some kind? Did I miss anything?

3:30 p.m. – City and School District Committee

There’s just one item on the agenda – violence prevention. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi wants to know if the city and school district violence prevention programs are working together effectively.

Let’s hear it for focus.

Friday, January 25 – LAFCo

The Local Agency Formation Commission’s agenda includes this “action item”:

“Report on status of SJVPA action against PG&E before the CPUC and denial of SFPUC petition to participate as intervenor (City Attorney)”

Is that an agenda entry, a Robin Williams zinger, or a Zen koan? You decide.

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