Free Muni: Scott Wiener Was Against It Before He Voted for It -- and He's Still Against It

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The plan to make Muni free for kids has collided with political and fiscal reality
The plan to provide low-income kids with free Muni rides was dealt a possible death blow yesterday, when the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission declined to put up the necessary millions.

Commissioners hailing from out of town were not enthused with the idea of ponying up $4 million to benefit solely San Francisco youths; the proposal failed by an 8-7 vote. One of those seven ayes, however, came from Scott Wiener, one of San Francisco's two representatives. Wiener, who is also a city supervisor, has been an avowed opponent of burdening Muni with more passengers while stripping it of their fare money. He even editorialized about the follies of making Muni free for kids in the Chronicle.

So while proponents of making Muni free may have lost the day, at least they gained a Wiener. When did Scott come around?

"I didn't," he says. "I don't support it."

Say what?

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Against it, voted for it, but still against it -- even if you've changed it or condensed it, he's against it
"I don't think it's sustainable," continues Wiener, bashing the initiative he voted for last night. "I opposed it within San Francisco, I voted against it at the Board of Supervisors, at the County Transportation Authority, and wrote that op-ed in the Chronicle."

And yet he voted for it as a member of the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 

"My view did not prevail within San Francisco," he explained. "Even though my view about the program hasn't changed, it would be inappropriate for me as a San Francisco representative to vote against funding a program San Francisco has approved. Also, I'm the mayor's appointee on the MTC, and the mayor does support it."

When asked how he felt about the demise of the program he bitterly opposed at every level but voted for at the highest level, Wiener laughed.

"Politics is a winding road sometimes," he answered cryptically.

For the proponents of making Muni free, however, that road has hit an impasse.

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