Community Congress envisions a new city

From El Tecolote:

By Charity Crouse :: EL TECOLOTE – Wednesday August 25, 2010
More than 100 activists gathered Aug. 15-16 to convene a Community Congress exploring ways to bring San Francisco together to address issues of community-based economic development, housing, health and human services and transportation.

What does it take to build a city where everyone can work, live and prosper together?, asked Calvin Welch at the Community Congress held Aug. 15 through Aug. 16 at the University of San Francisco. This question was tackled in 4 breakout sessions contemplating economic development, housing, health and human services and transportation in the city of San Francisco.

Welch and other organizers presented the parallels between the recent economic crisis spurred by budget deficits and the economic trends transpiring in the 1970s that saw a reduction of federal spending following urban renewal. These processes paved the way for increased private sector development and a concurrent displacement of much of San Francisco’s low-income and ethnic communities as the housing demographics of the city changed. The result has been that less than half of jobs in the city are held by residents today, whereas in 1960 nearly 80 percent of jobs were locally held, said Welch of the Council of Community Housing Organizations. The Congress, which followed months of planning by more than 100 community organizations, was inspired by a similar effort that happened in 1975.

“We’re trying to bring disparate issues together into a unified platform by creating long-term institutions that can take it to another level,” said Fernando Marti, community planner and one of the organizers of the event.

Marti led a discussion on Community-based Economic Development that considered among other things the potential of creating a Municipal Bank of San Francisco to be funded by $100 million of city reserves. Along with developing long-term revenue generating vehicles, such as ballot measures like the hotel tax included in this November’s election cycle, the bank would be used to invest in community-based businesses and worker-owned cooperatives, among other projects that would benefit low-income San Franciscans.

“North Dakota has a similar [state] program with its own bank,” said Marti. “Why not create a similar effort in San Francisco that would invest in green technologies?” Creating more local governance and consolidating current departments focused on workforce development would also be promoted.

Developing affordable housing is also a project for the Municipal Bank. Expanding the input of local residents into affordable housing decisions and creating early intervention programs to deal with homelessness was a theme of the report-back on Tenants’ Rights and Affordable Housing session. The session aimed to establish sustainable communities and that were beholden to local residents on new developments or conversions in their neighborhoods. Existing laws pertaining to vacancy control would be modified while those addressing utilities would limit increases.

Part of the vision for a healthy San Francisco spotlighted at the Health and Human Services session involved engaging local residents in the health care continuum as trained first-responders to local health issues and giving individuals and community organizations more power in determining where funding is allocated.

Poonam Whabi discusses worker collectives and cooperatives.

“We need a political entity that vets the conversation [on health and human services] and is accountable,” said Steve Fields of Progress Foundation.

The vetting process includes ensuring that the city balances more cost-effective local, community-based organizations for the provision of physical and mental health-related issues with higher-cost institutionalized care. The session also recommended the establishment of a chartered authority that would bridge the myriad organizations and departments already overseeing the provisions of basic needs and adhere to a 10-year plan. It would include a cross-section of service providers, users and city and department officials. Also emphasized was the importance of making sure that traditionally marginalized communities—such as youth, elders and people with disabilities—are included from the onset in defining the values upon which the authority’s work would be based. A public relations campaign would accompany the effort to highlight connections between the quality of living and public health concerns.

Public transportation was taken on with an emphasis on preserving MUNI’s 70 current routes. Participants voiced their concern with the use of the San Francisco Police Department in enforcing proof of payment for rides, but the convergence stressed the importance of allowing backdoor loading as a means for reducing waiting times for buses.

The conference closed with a document detailing a platform for moving forward that is meant to be a long-term project; the assembly agreed to meet again next year to discuss the impact that the city’s progressive community can have on redefining San Francisco’s future and follow-up on the conference’s results. In the coming weeks the conference will be making the its conclusions publicly accessible through their website

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Community Congress convened

Local progressives adopt policy platform they hope will inform future elections and agendas

From SF Bay Guardian:

08.17.10  | Alex Emslie |

About 60 San Francisco citizens voted just before 1 p.m. on Aug. 15 to adopt a progressive platform of approximately 100 policy recommendations they hope will define the agenda of candidates and elected officials in coming years and offer a contrasting vision for the city to that of downtown corporate interests.

Sunday’s culmination of the 2010 Community Congress represented almost a year’s work by some 400 San Franciscans and dozens of community-based organizations, according to the Congress’ draft recommendations. The congress convened all day Aug. 14, at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Hall, where participants engaged in breakout groups aimed at addressing four distinct local policy categories: health and human services; Muni and public transportation; affordable housing and tenant rights; and community-based economic development.

Recommendations in the four areas were drafted prior to the congress and published by the Guardian (see “Reinvention of San Francisco,” Aug. 4 and “Ideas that work: a plan for a new San Francisco,” Aug. 11), but planning group coordinator Calvin Welch said between a one-quarter and one-third were rewritten and amended during the breakout sessions on Saturday and by the congress as a whole on Sunday. Representatives from the breakout groups are working to finalize all the last-minute amendments and hope to post a final document by on the congress’ website ( by Aug. 20.

“This is a group of left-progressive people trying to articulate a left-progressive view for the city that is distinct from the cynicism of the [San Francisco] Chronicle and [Mayor] Gavin Newsom’s message,” Welch told the Guardian after the vote.

Gail Gilman facilitated the final adoption session on Aug. 15, passing a microphone to those who wished to speak or propose amendments while pushing the group to stick to the schedule. “I think we produced a solid progressive platform that will gain traction in the upcoming supervisors race,” Gilman told the Guardian outside the congress. “We’re hoping to have actionable items implemented over the next five years.”

Some of the congress’ ambitious agenda had to be put on hold, either because consensus couldn’t be reached or groups simply ran out of time. The Muni group’s recommendation to delay the Central Subway Project and use those funds to address “Muni’s backlog of operating, maintenance, and capital improvement needs” was tabled, as was decentralizing control of expenditures in health and human services out of the mayor’s hands. However, several agencies that the congress hopes to create, including a “canopy” entity to manage San Francisco’s public health system, would have direct budgetary control over city departments.

Health and human services group coleader and Bayview-Hunters Point Foundation Executive Director Jacob Moody told the crowd about a question posed early in the congress that informed his group’s recommendations: How do we create a city where people can live, work, and prosper together?

Welch admitted that some of policy recommendations would be difficult to realize and would draw the ire of powerful political groups in San Francisco, but he insisted that creating a municipal bank, an economic redevelopment agency, and a health and human services planning agency, and implementing several of the Muni group’s recommendations, were actionable in the short term.

“Some others would need to wait until the election of a new mayor,” Welch said. “I hope we can get some mayoral candidates to endorse some of these proposals.”

Sunnydale/southeast neighborhood community organizer Sharen Hewitt said that although there were often disagreements at the congress, the most important aspect of the event to her was that everyone learned from the perspectives of others.

“Tension is not always bad,” Hewitt told the Guardian at the event. “Everybody came here with biases and interests. Everybody needs to leave here with more. I’m damn near 60 years old and I grew half an inch today.”

Sunday’s congress and policy platform were modeled after San Francisco’s first Community Congress, which took place in 1975. But Welch told us this congress was entirely new. “To the extent that there is a historical aspect, 35 years ago we tried to figure out a way to bring people together. And 35 years later, young people want to do the same thing.”

“Diamond” Dave Whittaker, a modern Emperor Norton-esque San Francisco personality, closed the congress with a poem. “The basis of real social change is happening here,” he said. “And we need to continue casting a wider net, finding the thread, and letting it flourish.”

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Final ratified platforms!

We are slowly recovering from the Community Congress, and finally updating the blog with the final ratified documents. Again, thank you to the 200 or so people who spent an entire weekend developing this step in a progressive agenda for San Francisco. Up today on our blog you can find the Economic Development and Health & Human Services platforms, as ratified by the full Congress on August 15 2010. Housing and Public Transit will be up shortly. Over the next two weeks, we will develop short framing introductions to describe the positions taken, and distill the recommendations (over 100) into a few major bullet points for Supervisor candidate forums. Stay tuned for upcoming candidate forums in Districts 6, 8, and 10, where we will ask candidates to take positions on the Congress platform.

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2010 Community Congress: be part of San Francisco history!

Saturday, August 14, 9am – 5pm, and Sunday, August 15, 9am – 1pm
University of San Francisco, Fromm Hall (please note change of location), at Parker and McAllister, directly behind St. Ignatius Church (Muni lines 5, 21, 31, and 33). See USF map at This event is wheelchair accessible. Light lunch will be provided. Thanks to a grant from the USF Jesuit Foundation for support.

The Community Congress will bring together community activists, residents, workers, artists and thinkers seeking to create a progressive vision for the future of San Francisco. The impetus behind the convening of the Congress is to bring people together in a way that moves us beyond our particular “silos” and areas of specific concern to create a more unifying policy framework and shape the agenda of elected officials. The Congress will convene in two sessions. On Saturday we will break into groups to discuss, debate, augment, and amend area-specific policy recommendations. People with interests in more then one area are encouraged to move between groups. On Sunday, the entire Congress will reconvene for further amendment and eventual adoption of proposals. The four area-specific  breakout groups are:

  1. Health and Human Services
  2. Public Transportation / Muni
  3. Affordable Housing & Tenant Rights
  4. Community-based Economic Development

Included below are some of the preliminary recommendations developed by the San Francisco Human Services Network (human services), Council of Community Housing Organizations (housing), SaveMuni (public transportation), and an informal working group that has convened discussion over the last six months on economic development. These proposals are offered as a starting point for further discussion, as well as inviting new/additional proposals. On Sunday we will reconvene in common to finalize and hopefully adopt a set of concrete policy recommendations, as well as ideas regarding continuation of this collective process. The final Congress document will be published in local Bay Area publications and media.

Beyond this weekend’s Congress, we hope to continue a process of broad-based dialogue that continues to link various area and concerns. Some ideas that have been suggested so far include: reconvening in March of 2011 in preparation for the Mayor’s race; an ongoing forum for ongoing discussion and generation of new ideas; and a list and web site to keep people updated and informed through brief monthly communiqués.

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Guiding principles

1. Economic development policies must contribute to the health and well-being of the city’s neighborhoods and residents, provide decent wages, have a positive impact on the urban environment, and promote alternative ownership models.

2. Local government is a key driver of the local economy, both through infrastructure development and public sector employment.

3. Economic policy must balance “external” market linkages with the powers of local government to create more democratic and accountable development. [don’t understand this one – rephrase?]

4. The city’s existing financial resources should be mobilized to fund economically viable social enterprises.

5. Local government must provide means for shaping economic development, through new forms of participatory governance that encourage representation of constituents typically excluded from decisionmaking.

I. Financing and Promoting Local Development

  1. Establish a Municipal Bank of San Francisco by amending the City’s charter, to be incorporated as a federally insured credit union, and funded with an initial investment of [$100 million] of City reserves, with additional increments thereafter, to invest in community-based economic development, such as small businesses, local clean energy, social enterprises and cooperatives, and other projects that provide economic benefits to low income residents of San Francisco.
  2. Establish a publicly-owned Municipal Development Corporation (MDC) to undertake large-scale production of goods and services to be sold at competitive rates, such as clean energy (see #3), medical marijuana cultivation, and a city-owned fiber optic network, with surpluses used to invest in community-based economic development.
  3. Begin investing in large-scale, renewable clean energy projects funded through a combination of local revenue bonds and funding from a local Municipal Bank, with the goal of entirely supplanting PG&E from the local market, and using surpluses to invest in community-based economic development.

II. Reforming Local Governance

  1. Consolidate the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, as well as relevant economic development aspects of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and the Department of City Planning, into a Department of Community-based Economic Development, to be overseen by a commission jointly appointed by the Mayor and Supervisors, and charged with insuring the economic development policy is implemented in accordance with the City Charter and the General Plan.
  2. Establish Local Community Councils consisting of members from a diverse range of San Francisco neighborhoods and sectors, with official [consultation status] within the new Department of Community-based Economic Development, and with seats on the boards of both the Municipal Bank and the MDC, to ensure that policies address the needs of a broad spectrum of San Francisco residents.

III. Fiscal Reform of Local Government

  1. Implement a long-term progressive tax revenue plan, by convening a post-election working group in early 2011, to conduct research into the impacts of taxation schemes on private sector investment, develop recommendations, and guidelines for implementation.
  2. Establish a Community Budgeting process in conjunction with progressive taxation, the Municipal Bank and the MDC, with councils from each of San Francisco’s electoral districts, charged with developing initial recommendations to the Board as part of the annual appropriations process, to insure greater participation in the budgeting process.

IV. Labor and Development Standards

  1. Require all contractors with the City to implement just cause termination procedures, and require card check neutrality agreements with local non-profits as a condition of receiving City funding to give employees choice in whether they wish to be represented by a union
  2. Require all developers to negotiate with the San Francisco Building Trades Council to insure targeted hiring requirements are applied to local construction jobs
  3. Require all future approvals of large-scale development projects to adhere to strict local hiring mandates, and require developers to insure that at least 75% of all project-related jobs (including those that are subcontracted) to pay the local living wage, and fees to provide seed money to local work center organizations to conduct oversight of fair hiring and remuneration standards.
  4. All employers located in any City-approved major development shall be required to give hiring priority to residents from surrounding neighborhoods, to low income individuals and those earning less then 80% of city medium income, in conjunction with “first source” hiring offices to be administered by the Department of Community-based Economic Development.
  5. Enhance the effectiveness of the Community Jobs Program through controlling legislation and examination of existing strengths and weaknesses in implementation of the CJP.
  6. Establish a San Francisco Green Jobs Corps to provide paid on-the-job training to those facing barriers to long-term employment in doing energy audits and assessments, assisting low-income home owners and small businesses in obtaining loans and rebates for energy efficiency retrofits, and performing “low-tech” energy retrofits, such as caulking, weather-stripping and insulation. The training program would place people in long-term green jobs in workers cooperatives that would perform the energy retrofits funded by loan and rebate programs.

V. Investing in the Arts, Worker Coops, Small Business, Urban Manufacturing, and the Green Economy

Cultural Economy

  1. Consolidate existing arts programs in a new Cultural Economy Department, to commission work by local artists, and sponsor and promote local art, music, and performance festivals; creatie ongoing earned income opportunities for San Francisco artists by seeding their participation in international projects; and identify locations for arts centers and arts industry incubators on public property (like Port land).
  2. Consolidate the current 1-2% for art developer fees, to be directed towards community arts activity, providing space support through rent subsidies and other programs that support culturally-based arts industries.
  3. Create a municipal cultural works program, similar to the New Deal’s Federal arts, music, and theater programs.

Solidarity Economy & Worker Cooperatives

  1. Create a Cooperative Technical Assistance Center, a Cooperative Loan Fund, and a Cooperative Business Incubator site, to support worker cooperatives and other alternative worker-owned, worker-run business endeavors, as well as supporting the development of Community-owned corporations.
  2. Implement procurement policies for all city agencies and other public agencies (such as the universities and hospitals), to prioritize procurement from existing and emerging worker cooperatives, other social enterprises, and locally-owned small businesses.

Small Businesses and Urban Manufacturing

  1. Develop a comprehensive commercial corridor and “Back Street Business” assistance, retention, and attraction program.
  2. Link workforce development and placement (and community college programs) to the employment needs and entrepreneurship potential of San Francisco small businesses, Back Streets enterprises, and emerging green economy and worker coop sectors.
  3. Create regulation to ensure that all neighborhood economic development entities and business improvement districts truly represent local residents, workers, and small businesses, not just property owner interests.

Green Economy and Urban Agriculture

  1. Mandate public procurement of local, healthy, living-wage foods, and provide subsidy support to programs that sell local healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods, to be funded through new progressive taxes on unhealthy and/or expensive foods.
  2. Create urban agriculture zoning designations and begin conversion of surplus city-owned properties for urban agriculture, including portions of the city’s golf courses into farms and orchards, employing San Francisco’s new Green Job Corps workers.
  3. Develop an urban agriculture outreach and education program, including workforce development, neighborhood tool libraries and materials depots, and R&D into roof gardens, vertical farming and aquaculture.
  4. Commit to the comprehensive seismic and energy retrofit of 100% of San Francisco’s existing multifamily and rental housing units by the year 2020, to be funded through a rotating capital improvement fund created by the pooling of renters’ security deposits.
  5. Create a green business incubator with a focus on R&D and manufacturing of appropriate technologies, including recycling and remanufacture businesses.

VI. Institutionalizing an Alternative Economic Development Agenda

  1. Establish a new, independent think tank to undertake ongoing research, feasibility and analysis for progressive revenue, governance, and economic development policy.
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Land Use Policy

  1. Amend the Housing Element to create a linkage between the construction of new affordable housing and market rate housing which fulfils the demand for affordable housing created by market rate housing development even if such linkage would result in the temporary suspension of approval of market rate housing developments until the affordable housing needs have been met.  In addition, any new housing development classified as “transit oriented” and thus given density bonuses must in fact be affordable to the current San Francisco workforce and directly linked to improvements in transit service to the area in which it occurs even if that linkage results in the temporary suspension of such bonuses if the transit improvements fail to be made or transit service actually reduced.
  2. Secure Community Benefits from CPMC Development to address the housing impacts created by the project and protect existing lower income residents and local small businesses from displacement.  The Congress specifically supports the Board of Supervisors’ Resolution calling for the continued support for the total housing requirements of the Van Ness Special Use District slated to be heard later this year.

Affordable Housing Funding

  1. Create a Permanent Local Source of Funding for Affordable Housing Development that does not directly depend upon the construction of new market rate housing such as a dedicated transfer tax for permanently affordable housing development.
  2. Create and Fund Program for Acquisition/Rehabilitation of Small Sites by encouraging the City to permanently and adequately fund and invest in developing a Small Sites Acquisition and Rehab Program for buildings to be operated as nonprofit owned affordable rental housing for low-income tenants or converted to limited equity housing cooperative/ community land trust properties.
  3. Encourage  limited-equity housing cooperative/community land trust conversions through continued funding for the Real Ownership Opportunities for Tenants program.

Tenants’ Rights

  1. Reform Rent Board Commission to increase Tenant Representation and Give Supervisors Some Appointments, by changing Board to consist of 3 tenants, 2 landlords, and 2 homeowners, with appointments shared between the Mayor and Supervisors.
  2. Permit Tenants to Keep Pets by adopting legislation to prohibit landlords from banning pets altogether.
  3. Limit PG&E Passthroughs altogether or allow landlords to only pass on PG&E increases if the increase actually exceeds the annual rent increase (and only by the amount it exceeds the annual increase).
  4. Increase Prohibition on Short-Term Rental of Apartment Units to allow for more effective enforcement, protect rental stock for long-term tenants and stop evasion of hotel tax payments.
  5. Impose Vacancy Control by making a buy-out a just cause (conditioned on a tenant’s acceptance of the buyout) to enable the city to place vacancy control on the units. Require landlords to file at the Rent Board and extend condo conversion prohibitions to units where tenants were bought out.
  6. Reform Condo Conversion Laws: Require Tenants-in-Common (TIC) Conversions to be reported and recorded at the Rent Board; end lottery exemption for two-unit buildings that are 100% occupied for a year or more; amend condo conversion law to eliminate the two-unit exemption from the cap and lottery; and ban all TICs from becoming condos by prohibiting condo conversion of buildings which were more than 50% owner-occupied at the time of application for conversion.
  7. Escalate Relocation Benefits for Capital Improvements and Temporary Displacement by requiring that all evictions for remediation work have escalating relocation benefits to prevent that from occurring with additional (and higher) relocation benefits required if the displacement last longer than 30, 60 or 90 days.
  8. Pass the Right to Remain Act for Public Housing being sponsored by Supervisor Mirkarimi that will protect residents’ rights during relocation and ensure their right to return to their building after it has been redeveloped in “HOPE SF” properties.
  9. Right of First Refusal to Purchase y requiring owner to send tenants offer letter with real pricing (within range of last best offer from bona fide purchaser), while allowing tenants would have a defined number of days to tenants when their rental building is placed for sale. Various ownership options could be available for different sized buildings; e.g., buildings up to four units could be purchased as TIC; larger buildings would have to form a resident association or limited-equity housing coop (LEHC).

Homelessness and Supportive Housing

  1. Oppose Propositon L Sit/Lie which targets the City’s poorest under the guise of public safety, while shelters and services for homeless people are being cut.
  2. Maintain Shelter Capacity and Ensure Equitable Access by removing shelter from the definition of housing under Care Not Cash and make shelter access equitable between Care Not Cash recipients and the remainder of homeless people.
  3. Increase Capacity of Housing Affordable to Homeless Families, and increase Capacity of Supportive Housing for Homeless Individuals through creation of dedicated funding sources for supportive housing and related services.
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PUBLIC TRANSIT Recommendations 2010

I.  Early Action Items

  1. Start a citywide dialogue on Muni.  The discussion should be ongoing and should include motorists, Muni drivers, Muni riders, neighborhood groups, business people, labor groups, low income groups, ethnic groups, seniors, youth and the disabled.  To get anything accomplished will require that people get together with the common objective of ending San Francisco’s public transit crisis and bringing Muni up to standard.
  2. Muni drivers should be encouraged to participate actively in the discussion of how best to fix Muni.  Accountability, reasonable work rules and good performance are essential.   At the same time it should be recognized that Muni’s drivers have difficult jobs and important responsibilities that warrant both good pay and proper respect…from both Muni riders and SFMTA’s Management.
  3. Improve schedule adherence and communication with Muni drivers, and address operating, security, personnel and other problems by bringing back the roving inspectors.
  4. Increasing Average Speeds by instituting a program for increasing the current 24-hour average speed of Muni vehicles by at least 10% should commence immediately.

II.  Improving Muni Metro Service

  1. Speed up light rail service by eliminating signaling, loading, dispatching, traffic and other obstacles.
  2. Attract 35,000 new Muni Metro riders by doubling the peak-period carrying capacity of the Market Street subway.
  3. Support SFTMA efforts to expand and modernize its electronic monitoring and control capability.
  4. To reduce conflicts between automobiles and Muni vehicles, operate surface LRVs in 3-inch high transit-only medians wherever physically possible.

III.  Improving Bus Service

  1. Speed up bus service by eliminating traffic, traffic signaling, dispatching, and other obstacles.
  2. Speed up loading by using part-time sidewalk fare collectors at crowded stops during crowded times of the day and by ensuring that all replacement buses are of the low-floor type.
  3. Place commuter buses in rigorously enforced transit-only lanes between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on weekday mornings.
  4. To smooth out and speed up the flow of buses, widen the sidewalks at bus stops.
  5. To facilitate enforcement of traffic, bus lane and bicycle lane violations, mount video cameras on transit vehicles.

IV.  Improving Transit Vehicle Flow along Congested Streets

  1. Conduct test programs geared to improving the flow of transit vehicles on such heavily-traveled thoroughfares as Stockton Street, Columbus Avenue, San Bruno Avenue, Mission and Chestnut, including traffic calming techniques such as were used successfully on Market Street, including pre-empted signals, prohibited left turns and added right turn only movements.
  2. Return Third and Kearny between King and Columbus Avenue (and perhaps other streets as well) to two-way traffic.
  3. Convert Grant Avenue between Market Street and Broadway to a Transit Mall featuring frequent, short-turning, low- floor buses, preferably free to riders.  (Service vehicles allowed between 9:00 a.m. and noon on weekdays).

V.  Making it Easier to Ride Muni

  1. Comfort and Convenience.  At the SFMTA it is essential that there be a renewed emphasis on customer service.  This would apply to managers and other Muni employees as well as to drivers. Increased attention should be paid to keeping trains, buses, bus stops and stations attractive, clean, graffiti-free, well maintained and safe at all times.   Rigorous discipline and enforcement is part and parcel of such a program.
  2. Loading and Passenger On-Board Distribution.  To increase passenger comfort and transit vehicle carrying capacity, a greater emphasis should be placed on getting riders to move to the back of the bus.  Such a program would necessarily involve rear door loaders at certain locations during commute periods as well as good signage, diligence on the part of Muni drivers and an effective PA system.  Rider groups, neighborhood and civic organizations and business groups should be asked to provide volunteers willing to assist with loading and in helping to improve rider distribution on Muni vehicles.
  3. Seats for Seniors.  Additional steps should be taken to ensure that the seats designated for seniors, disabled passengers and children are available when needed.  This program should include the use of volunteer attendants to remind people as well as the occasional citing of offenders.
  4. Aids to Understanding Muni.  Muni maps should be posted inside Muni vehicles.  Up-to-date individual route maps and schedules should be available at all times.   A one-page up-to-date chart of Muni routes showing hours of service and frequencies during different times of the day should be readily available to all Muni riders.
  5. Raised Muni logo signs and “Next-Bus” monitoring screens should be clearly visible at every transit stop.
  6. Consideration should be given to bringing back the upholstered seats so people can read while riding Muni.

VI.  Muni Vehicles

  1. To ensure that LRV’s, cable cars and buses are replaced in a timely manner, a vehicle replacement sinking fund should be established and permanently maintained at an appropriate level.
  2. To ensure that adequate spare parts are available at all times, the current Muni funding priorities should be changed as necessary.  In general a much greater priority should be given to Muni’s maintenance needs.

VII.  Developing the Necessary Revenue

  1. Expand the proof-of-payment system and get serious about citing fare evaders.
  2. Support the SFMTA’s program for expanding parking meter coverage, fee levels and hours of parking meter operation.  Set meter rates in City Garages and parking taxes in privately operated garages as required to moderate traffic congestion and provide an adequate supplemental funding source for Muni. Raise neighborhood parking sticker fees to $10 a month.
  3. In congested parts of the city, implement congestion pricing combined with Muni service improvements.
  4. Call a two-year moratorium on Muni fare and traffic fine increases.
  5. Demand that the State of California immediately reinstate the excise tax on automobiles as a source of desperately needed transit operating funds.
  6. Defer the Central Subway Project.  Allocate the local and State share of the Central Subway budget to addressing Muni’s backload of operating, maintenance and capital improvement needs.
  7. Allocate the federal New Starts share of the Central Subway budget to other qualifying San Francisco rail projects.

VIII.  Getting it Done

  1. As recommended by the Supervisor’s Budget Analyst, conduct outside financial and management audits of the SFMTA.
  2. Bring in a team of independent outside experts to help the SFMTA determine its long term goals, identify cost-cutting opportunities, develop new revenue sources, establish capital priorities and ensure that all capital, operating and maintenance funding is put to optimal use.
  3. Make maintaining and improving Muni’s 70 existing lines the top priority.
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