Name: Kat Anderson
Age: 40 Something
Occupation: Labor & Employment Lawyer (self-employed)
URL for website: www.katanderson.net
Neighborhood You Live In: Marina
Date Questionnaire Returned: Sept. 7, 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?
I ride Muni about 4 times per week usually to go downtown, Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39. My children ride Muni home from school. I would prefer to use Muni for most trips, but find it more convenient to use my automobile in order to reduce total door-to-door trip times. My children are involved in sports. In SF, sports fields are spread all over the place, making the use of Muni impractical. Thus, I use Muni similar to other San Franciscan families. (We all try to carpool.) Muni would be a more convenient form of routine transportation if total trip times could be reduced and if schedules were changed to accommodate the hours that folks actually work downtown. Muni needs to address and correct the phenomenon of empty buses stacking up at times like 3 pm and then being “MIA” at 6 pm!
2. What are the primary concerns of Muni’s owners (aka riders) about transportation and Muni in your District?
Reliability and efficiency, frequency, safety of service, prohibiting articulated buses from narrow corridors and refraining from “staging” idling buses in front of people’s homes causing disruptions in quality of life (pollution, noise, obstructing views, etc).
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 role of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority is to oversee the development and operation of a reliable, safe, efficient and cost-effective mass transit system that serves the needs of San Franciscans. The priority for the agency in the next 4 years is to gain control over its costs such that reliable services can continue to be delivered to riders at an acceptable cost while eliminating the need for service cuts. This will be part of my mission once elected.
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?
Holding political office will result in opposition on many issues. I accept this fact. My primary goal is to insure the long-term sustainability of San Franciscoâ€™s mass transit systems at a cost both the city andÂ residents can bear. Consequently, I will not seek to avoid conflict, nor will I pursue popular measures which may contradict these goals, merely for the sake of political expediency.
As a parent, I sometimes need to focus on long-term goals despite loud, angry opposition (from the teens). Concurrently, I must also overcome short-term, popular measures which do not serve the long-term interests of all constituencies, including those asking for such measures. I see good governance as akin to good parenting. One must be a decisive leader who makes judgment calls based on all available information – obtained from a variety of sources. You can count on me to be that kind of leader.
5. What is the Fix Muni Now charter amendment? Do you support it? (Y/N) Why or why not?
The Fix Muni Now charter amendment seeks to remove certain pay and work rules from the city charter to permit these issues to be addressed in the collective bargaining process. As a result, the amendment would permit labor issues to be addressed in the same manner as is used by other city workers and their union representatives. Meanwhile, the amendment would permit increased flexibility for the city in addressing its operating costs. These steps will improve the ability of the city and its residents to have a sustainable mass transit system over the long-term while reducing the threat of near-term service cuts. As a result, I support this measure.
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)
While seeking to overturn the measures undertaken by the Governor and Legislature, my focus will be on gaining control over Muniâ€™s operating costs, which have resulted in ongoing fare increases and service cuts. Poor management and a lack of flexibility introduced by current city charter restrictions have resulted in a lack of control over operating costs. Consequently, I support and will take steps to introduce sound management practices despite current opposition to such measures. As a labor and employment lawyer, I know how to address such issues in a constructive and effective manner using the collective bargaining process. Service cuts and fare increases are merely a band-aid that does not cure the underlying problem. We cannot continue to rely on these measures merely to preserve the interests of certain constituencies over those of Muni riders.
7. Finally, tell us a story about a funny or unique experience you’ve had on Muni.
When I was working downtown, I would take the 30 bus to and from work. One day after work, I boarded the 30 and it was very crowded. I was very pregnant. There were no available seats in the front of the bus, so I hung on as tight as I could, my big belly swaying. Impassively, I eyed a 30-something guy that was sitting up front, but he would not make any eye contact. Then, I noticed a young lady sitting next to him. She had obviously seen me first as she started to get up when it was clear the guy wasn’t going to budge. But right before she got up, she elbowed him. I thanked the young lady and sat down, then we both had a chuckle.