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Monday, March 29, 2010

Your Rundown on the Week in S.F. Government

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Pride of the city
  • Pride of the city
Over the weekend Your Correspondent was lucky enough to have one of those reality-check conversations with a reasonable layperson -- these sorts of chats come far too seldom for us poor hacks, who spend a lot of our time talking to the wonkish caste that includes legislative aides and budget analysts -- about proposed service cuts to the city's public-transit system.

Exclaimed our sensible interlocutor, "How can they be cutting service on Muni? How can they be making service cuts to something that is already so shitty?"

Rather than mumbling something about union contracts, work orders, or state transportation grants, we opted for a polite shrug. If you'd like a fuller answer, however, this is your week. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board will vote on whether to declare their creaking system of buses and trains in a state of fiscal emergency.

If you follow local news -- and if you don't, you're probably on the wrong blog; please click here for more titillating fare -- you doubtless remember the recent news that Muni's ass appeared to have been pulled out of the fire through a two-year, $36 million state transportation grant.

While that amount is enough to cover a $17 million mid-year budget deficit, things start to look grim once more when you consider that the MTA is also staring at $56 million of projected red ink in the 2011 fiscal year. The declaration of fiscal emergency, if adopted, would allow Muni directors to push through fare increases and service cuts without first submitting their plans to environmental review as required under state law.

If you haven't had your fill of transit angst by Tuesday afternoon, head over to the supes' chambers, where the full Board of Supervisors will be taking up a motion to reject some of the MTA's proposed fare changes. The motion's co-sponsors include progressive stalwarts Ross Mirkarimi, David Chiu, and David Campos, as well as Bevan Dufty, who has been out front on Muni reform in anticipation of his mayoral campaign.

Dufty is also throwing his support behind what may prove to be the big-ticket item at Tuesday's full board meeting, a proposal to establish a line of credit for the city's financially struggling LGBT Community Center with an initial $158,000 loan payment. (The San Francisco Chronicle reports that this obligation might eventually grow to $1 million.) This unusual bailout has attracted a lot of attention in a city with a large gay population and powerful gay political groups.

Photo   |   Troy Holden

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