Muni Finds Way To Halve Service Cuts -- Even Without Union Concessions

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The plan to soften the blow of Muni's 10-percent service cuts -- that last month appeared as hopeless as catching a timely late night bus after the drivers' union spurned give-backs -- has apparently been resurrected.

In a deal brokered by the mayor's office with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the cuts could be halved -- to 5 percent less than last year's service -- on Sept. 4.

The nearly $12 million that will fund additional service comes from a one-time $4 million infusion from the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission, some $900,000 in "operational efficiency" savings which have not been specifically hashed out, and the $7 million in sales tax funds the County Transportation Authority -- that organization is wholly manned by the Board of Supervisors, by the way -- has long said it would only release to Muni if it went toward eliminating service cuts. (Muni, meanwhile, had also long been counting on that $7 million as money already in its pocket when it came to balancing its budget.).

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Tempers flared at City Hall, even when the news about Muni was good
While the Board of Supervisors is now patting itself on the back for supposedly inducing Muni service restorations with its hard line, Mayor Gavin Newsom is continuing his attacks on the board for doing just that; he accused it of both "grandstanding" and "demagoguery" in the Chronicle today. This kind of acrimony in the wake of what ought to be a feel-good story is interesting. It would have been a thrill to see how Newsom and the board handled V-E day.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Workers Union -- demonized after it voted, twice, to spurn concessions, making it the only city union that refused give-backs this year -- must be breathing a sigh of relief. It avoided any mention whatsoever in the Chronicle's Muni service restoration story and was noted only in passing in the Examiner. Hey, no news is good news!

It also remains to be seen how city voters, potentially less riled by hefty service cuts and negative media coverage of the drivers' union, will rule on Muni-related proposed charter amendments by both Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and a quartet of progressive supes.

Photo   |   Earthnik

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