Supe Hints at Ballot Measure to Wrest Muni Board Appointments From Mayor

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Jim Herd
Mayor Gavin Newsom has never been particularly subtle about attempting to dictate marching orders to the Municipal Transportation Authority Board. Now, the mayor's progressive critics, particularly members of the Board of Supervisors, are being equally unsubtle in their criticism.

Last month, Board President David Chiu told SF Weekly he was in favor of large-scale Muni reform to bring about "more independent commissioners" -- currently all of them are mayoral appointments. Now Chiu's colleague, Supervisor David Campos, has gone one further, noting that he he is exploring the possibility of putting a Charter Amendment on the November ballot that would change the law to allow the supes to appoint some members of the MTA Board.

"Split appointments would provide more accountability," says Campos. "We need to make sure we have people on the MTA Board who a deeper connection to the ridership."

Campos said he felt there was enough political support -- and discontent -- to get the ball rolling for such a charter amendment. He didn't yet have details on what such a proposition would look like -- for one thing, he's waiting for the results of a management audit of Muni that won't come back until May -- but hinted that he'd be looking for major "governmental structural changes."

Campos also noted that MTA board members coming before the supervisors for re-appointment hearings should study up and not expect a rubber stamp.

"I think the MTA board, as a whole, has not demonstrated independence that is needed to provide meaningful oversight of Muni," he said. "As a general rule, that independence isn't there."

Photo   |   Jim Herd

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