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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scott Wiener: Muni 'Beyond Incompetent'

Posted By on Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Scott Wiener vents about Muni -- and it didn't have to do with a lack of leg room
  • Scott Wiener vents about Muni -- and it didn't have to do with a lack of leg room
Scott Wiener vents about Muni -- and it didn't have to do with a lack of leg room
Tell us how you really feel, Scott Wiener.

Caught in the middle of this afternoon's massive Muni delays triggered by a power outage at the train system's central control station, and late to a candidate interview at the Chronicle, the District 8 supervisorial hopeful sent out an aggrieved text message.

Except it wasn't a text message. It was a tweet -- for all to see.

When Wiener realized that he'd tweeted instead of texted, he deleted the tweet. But the Internet is unforgiving that way -- and, frankly, his tough talk may yet resonate with commuters literally left in the dark today.

"We will see why they had this power out age at central control," said Wiener, who, perhaps not coincidentally, shares a Castro campaign headquarters with Sean Elsbernd's "Fix Muni Now" Prop G.

"But they have a system where they had a power outage at the system's brain and they don't have a backup for it. That should never happen. And, No. 2, we haven't been maintaining the infrastructure for many years, and things are failing more than they should."

Indeed, the control center for the Muni Metro system resembles a tech museum. SF Weekly has been told that Muni officials actually buy Ford Administration-era computers discarded by other municipalities to strip them for parts for our central system. The train you ride every morning, it seems, is operated by a network maintained in the manner of a Cuban Chevrolet.

Calls to Muni regarding allegations of incompetence -- and whatever comes beyond incompetence -- have not yet been returned.

Update, 4:20 p.m.:
Muni spokesman Paul Rose explained that work on the fire system at central control is what led to power being knocked out -- and long, residual delays. Communications to the individual trains was strained while the system rebooted.

Rose was unsure how old the central control computers are.

Regarding allegations of incompetence, he noted that Muni ferries 700,000 riders and change every day. "In a system this size, you're going to have issues you have to deal with on a daily basis."

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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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