Age: Older than Miley Cyrus and younger than Betty White
Occupation: BART Director
URL for website: http://www.sweetforsupervisor.com
Neighborhood You Live In: Bayview
Date Questionnaire Returned: August 17th, 2010
1. How often do you rely on Muni to get you around town? If not, what do you use instead? What would make it easier for you to choose Muni over other forms of transportation?
As a BART Director I have a responsibility to ride BART at least once a week. Since there is no service my home, I ride the T-line to the BART stop. It is clear to me that we need to improve service to this critical line.
As supervisor I would be focused on improving the consistency and efficiency of the T-line. Like many riders feel, it would be easier to opt for Muni if this line was faster and on time.
2. What are the primary concerns of Muni’s owners (aka riders) about transportation and Muni in your District?
The T-line is a new and important lifeline for the Southeastern neighborhoods of Bayview Hunterâ€™s Point, Potrero, Portola and Visitacion Valley. This line finally connects our District with the downtown, the cityâ€™s economic engine. While I, like many riders in District 10, are very happy to have this line, currently it doesnâ€™t run consistently or efficiently. We also have to improve public safety on that line.
Riders in District 10 should be able to rely on the T-line to arrive at scheduled times and to move quickly. They should also feel safe.Â We must work with Muni and the Police to make sure this happens.
3. As a Supervisor, you will serve on the Board of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. What is the role of the SFCTA, and what would you set as priorities for the agency in the next 4 years?
The SFCTA administers the local transportation tax. It also tracks system performance to ensure Muni runs efficiently and that we get the best bang for our buck.
As Supervisor, I would work to ensure District 10 receives fair and proportionate service. I would also hold my support for any project outside of District 10 until an impartial audit shows that the T-line is running reliably and efficiently.
4. Difficult decisions often have to be made regarding transportation in San Francisco. Sometimes a well-researched project may have loud, angry opponents, or a popular project may not be the best for City residents and for San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure.
How would you make a decision under these kinds of circumstances?
(Feel free to cite a similar situation from your past experience as an example – it doesn’t have to be transit related)
I believe in finding compromise solutions wherever possible. Though democracy can be a long and sometimes tedious process, I believe in engaging all residents and communities to find solutions with the best outcome for as many people as possible. You may not be able to please everyone all the time, but you can try.
One example of my approach is how Iâ€™ve dealt with the Oakland Airport Connector project as a BART Director. The idea of bringing BART to the Oakland airport had strong fierce opposition and many strong supporters. I took meetings with both sides to understand the issue. Ultimately I supported the project, because of the long-term benefits to the city of Oakland and BART riders.
5. What is the Fix Muni Now charter amendment? Do you support it? (Y/N) Why or why not?
This Fix Muni Now (Proposition G) is an effort to allow collective bargaining with Muni workers to reform business practices at Muni and make our public transit more efficient. I do support the effort. Like we did at BART, itâ€™s important that we are able to agree on fair wages and work rules that benefit both workers and riders. The current system that sets wages against the average rate of the two highest paying transit agencies in the country just doesnâ€™t make sense.
6. One (of many) causes for Muni’s perennial budget woes was the illegal seizure of state gas tax money by Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature. This has left a large hole in Muni’s income (as well as every transit agency in CA).
How would you make up this gap in Muni revenue? Would you support
– a local funding source or sources (fees, taxes, or other type of revenue) to avoid future problems caused by the state?
– would you achieve savings through cuts to Muni’s budget, fare increases, etc.
– or, do you have other ideas on how to get Muni out of its annual financial woes? (You can choose more than one option, but just explain it clearly)
First, I fully support Proposition 22, which would stop the state from taking funds, like the gas tax that should be dedicated to transit and transportation. One of the biggest reasons our city is in a deficit is because of the way Governor Schwarzenegger has raided our tax funds.
As Supervisor I would also be looking for a comprehensive solution to the Cityâ€™s budget crisis that distributes the burden equitably. While this may include some new taxes to business, it should also include a careful examination of wasteful city spending and inefficiencies. It should include consideration of new revenue streams, such as taking advantage of the cityâ€™s vacant property, which could be rented.
7. Finally, tell us a story about a funny or unique experience you’ve had on Muni.
It was raining and I jumped on the bus. I sat down and began reading my magazine. It wasnâ€™t until we crossed through a tunnel that wasnâ€™t on my route home that I realized I was on the wrong bus. When I got home it was so late and I was so embarrassed that I told my family I went to see a movie. To this day I still pretend I saw Titanic.