tv [untitled] August 31, 2010 6:30am-7:00am PST
are the key issues facing the mta. as you know, there have been a number of efforts and one that will be on the ballot in november to reform the mta, and i'm wondering in your view with the key issues or critical issues facing that issue are? >> i think the main key issue is that the budget and revenue, i know that everyone is focused on restoring the service cuts, and a lot of those cuts have been restored. i think the restoration of the service cuts is happening in a strategic manner, and i think that the public needs to know that we do take the transportation seriously and that the board of supervisors, the mayor's office, everyone is focused on bringing the service up to a level where people who we can depend on transit. i know what it is like to depend on that bus and to be waiting for it. issing we have made great
strides in letting people know -- i think we have made great strides in letting people know to give people a certain level of comfort with when the bus is going to ride. one of my big issues is safety, not just on the bus, but for all street users. i think it is a very important issue, and i think that is an area where we can continue to make improvements, and we can continue to save money, which goes back to the revenue part. i know it can be hard to continue to ask the public for more revenue without actually showing we are saving money in certain areas and increasing operating efficiencies, so for me, those are two of the key issues in front of the board. supervisor mar: thanks for your work, especially on sunday streets, and with others in livable city. some critics have said you are a light person.
could you talk about your experience? >> i do ride my bicycle and a lot. i did go through a year where i rode my bike almost exclusively. i had a work schedule that was not a rush our base work schedule, so it was easy to get back and forth. i work downtown, and i live in a lower haight, so it is only a two-mile commute. it is not a huge athletic endeavor by any stretch of the imagination. i do use everything. my husband and i have not owned a car in about 10 years. we were early adopters a city car share, so i probably drive once a month, which is probably good for everyone. i'm not the world's most fantastic fiber, which i do recognize. i take the bus and lot, and i walk a lot, and with this nomination, i have expanded my use of the lines. these days, i ride my bike to work in the morning because it is so time certain.
i know i can get to work in 12 minutes. when i leave at the end of the day, i think a different bus line, i ride the bus somewhere in the city, and i ride my bike home from there. i like it because it gives me a view of the other bus lines that i did not have. i have forgotten how great the express buses from downtown are. i think as a multi-modal user, i can appreciate all the points of view, how harrowing it can be to be on city streets that may be are not designed for all users. i can appreciate it as a bus rider. supervisor campos: if i may, just following up on a couple of additional questions -- one of
the things that has been discussed at length here in city hall, has been the issue of the independence of the board of directors. supervisor mar and myself were two co-authors of a measure that did not make it on the ballot that attempted to reform the structure of the board of directors because, without casting any aspersions against the members of the mta, some of us believe that the m.t.a. board of directors has not demonstrated the kind of independence that is really needed to have meaningful oversight of an agency of $800 million budget. because of that, many of us feel that the current structure where the mayor nominates all of the members of the board and where our only role was to vote up or down, is one that really limits the prospect for independence.
so i'm wondering if you could speak to that. if you could speak to the kind of -- your view on that issue of the independence of this board and whether or not you would be able to approach things independently, irrespective of what the mayor thinks or what the board of supervisors things. >> i have been thinking about that a lot, and it breaks into three areas -- independence, accountability, and what i call stubbornness or willingness to listen to other points of view and take this into account. we have all come across someone who is stubborn, who no matter what the facts and figures say, no matter the information available, is really not willing to change their mind, not willing to listen to other sites. i know for myself that i am very willing to listen to other points of view. i had such an education in working of the city in my work
with sunday streets. we came in with one idea in mind of what we do and what can happen, and in talking to all the departments in city hall, and understanding all of the little pieces that go into every day and how difficult it can be tedious things in the city, and that, for me, was a really good lesson about how each side -- all the participants, ourselves included, we came in thinking we knew the way to do it, and when you hear all the other pieces, everything that goes in, you just have a greater understanding, and it helps you come to decisions that make more sense. even my friends in the transportation average is the world, we do not always see eye to eye, and i probably will not see eye to eye with everybody on issues that are in front of us, but i do know that i am willing to learn because i have learned
so much in my years just with liveable cities and my work with sunday streets. i know that i'm open to listening, and i know we have a job in front of us. i understand the concern about all of the members being nominated by the mayor. i can say for myself, i absolutely have an independent voice and an independent streak. it does not mean i do not listen to people. it does not mean i do not line, but definitely will be a voice of my own. supervisor campos: i think is important to hear that. the concern, by the way, is not theoretical. we have, for instance, at least one example where a member of the mta board of directors was, whether directly or indirectly, remove because of the positions was taking with regard to where the mayor was, so i think it is important for us to at the outset make it clear that irrespective of what the mayor
and with the board, for that matter, things, that independence is what we're looking for a period last question, though, because it is one that really -- independence is what we're looking for. last question, though, because it is one that is a real concern. the mta serves a diverse population. looking at the board of directors, looking at the website, there is some adversity, but there are some communities not represented. i do not know that there is a latino member of the board of directors at this point. might be in terms of the representation of people across the spectrum, the socio-economic spectrum. there are people who speak many languages in san francisco. many of them ride muni on a regular basis. i wonder if you could speak to your ability to work with these diverse communities to make sure that their concerns are adequately represented. >> absolutely. i'm committed to making sure
that any information, any changes, any benefits that we can bring to muni serve all communities, and that we can access all those communities. again, to my work with sunday streets, i know what a challenge that is. we would translate our materials into several languages and inevitably miss something, get something wrong. it is a big challenge. we faced that on the livable city board. we would love to have a more diverse board. it is a challenge, and we did not solve that challenge on a livable city, but i do not feel that prevented us from addressing the needs of the entire city. on the mta board, i think everyone shares that commitment. we definitely need help with city hall and the board of supervisors to do that our reach
to different neighborhoods of different communities, and understand the concerns. i met with supervisor chu and was a really reminded how the concerns of her district around muni with very different from the concerns of my district. they do not really get to take benefit of that technology that other people have. i definitely think it is a big concern and one we have to address. supervisor alioto-pier: good morning and welcome to the rules committee. i just really have more of a comment. i'm really excited to support your candidacy. congratulations for the nomination. just two things to think about. a couple of years ago when proposition a was passed in san francisco, as members of the board of supervisors, we have
had a lot of responsibility around the little things that make a difference on people's streets and neighborhoods -- stop signs and speed bumps and all of that. with the passage of proposition a, that was really taken away from the board of supervisors. it has been a little bit of a struggle since then to accommodate the needs of our neighbors who call us because they do not call the mta when they need a stop sign was the bomb. they call members of the board. i just want to make sure you realize that your job, too, is very community service-oriented. the mta is picking up the slack for that. i really want you to understand it, to kind of embrace that. the other thing that i do want to mention is we still have major issues from people with disabilities in a public transportation system, so unfortunately, we are not able
to easily jump on a bike and ride into work, and the options are very limited. the bus system, as good as it is sometimes, i do not think people understand the real obstacles people with disabilities are faced with. there are a lot of very -- various issues, and if you would not mind, this special attention to those as you're going along your daily life. i'm assuming the investor. and looking at the needs of people with disabilities in san francisco, they do also translate into the needs of working moms and working dads who have strollers and children and are trying to shuttle from one place to another, soccer game with a couple of kids in tow and a stroller, and there are a lot of different needs that are out there, and
consideration when making your decisions. >> absolutely. i am very aware of the challenges faced, especially with the disabled community and wheelchair users and the bus system. it is always so important to remember -- to let everybody to have access to the system. there are times when i actually really enjoyed riding muni, and i would not want anybody to feel that they do not have that same opportunity. sometimes it can be frustrating, and sometimes it can be incredibly rewarding, and i think everyone should have the right to enjoy those rewards. supervisor alioto-pier: just something to throw out there, that our beautiful historic line down at the embarcadero, for example, is not particularly accessible. there are parts of our system that really are lacking, and i do not mean this in a flip way,
but i do think that members of the mta, it would behoove them to take a wheelchair and spend a day in a wheelchair on san francisco public transportation system because it is a much different experience. it would be a learning one, as well. supervisor campos: thank you. colleagues, any other questions? great, why don't we open up to public comment? we have a number of members of the public who have submitted a speaker cards. >> good morning, supervisors. i just wanted to say cheryl is outstanding. she has been an incredible board member. she has been an incredible president in terms of leading our organization and helping
build it and tried to be responsive to all. she was our star volunteer for sunday streets here we really could not have put sunday streets together without her efforts. sunday streets and all, it really speaks to a lot of the issues we were talking about earlier. the equity, the close of this, and so on. what could be seen in one way as a recreational event, with the leadership of cheryl, we really wanted to bring this event to communities that do not have a lot of outdoor recreational opportunities, so we really wanted to bring an environmental justice spin to it. we wanted to bring the opportunities to communities. much easier to do it on the beach, because there is no cross traffic, but that effort, even though it was hard and expensive to bring it into the heart of the city, i think it is very
commendable. also local economic development. the idea that transportation and st. design can be an economic development strategy. these are all things cheryl is really aware of, and it is a perspective we really badly need on the mta. transportation is big enough, certainly a multi-modal agency. i think her back on with little city and the pedestrian safety advisory chairmanship will bring a modal intelligence there. we're so focused on the city problems, but all the other pieces besides transit are very important, and need someone who is going to help sort out st. governance. supervisor alioto-pier, you made an excellent point about how fragmented street violence is. nobody knows quite who is in charge. that is certainly going to be a challenge for cheryl, but i think she will be an outstanding
person to help bring that perspective, both accountability to citizens, but also helping design those great multi-modal streets. i'm sad to lose her as a board member and as a board president, by i do sincerely think that liveable cities' loss is going to be the city's gain, and i encourage you to support her nomination. supervisor campos: thank you. we actually have been joined by commissioner bruce oka from the mta, and at some point, we will ask him to say a few words. >> i am cheryl's has been, and i want to come here today to say some kind words about my wife -- i am shall' -- i am cheryl's husband. she understands her dedication and experience with transit. everywhere we travel, everywhere we go, we take transit here we go to new orleans, we take the
bus to the airport. she rides a bike and a lot as well, but we love transit. she lives and breathes it. we have seen systems all over the world. we have seen some of the creative things it can do with access. we have seen systems with virtually no access for the disabled. it is something she understands. i just want to say she is being very modest today, and i also want to say by doing the laundry, the dishes, doing my share at home, making sure she can maintain a full-time job, she has the balance of knowing san francisco and the business sense of working at a fortune 500 company, so i think she would be perfect for the board, and i hope supervisor campos: you support that campos that is on the record. there is 80 you can get if you ever need to. . >> my name is renee rivera and i'm acting executive director of the bicycle coalition. i'm speaking to support cheryl's -- cheryl's support nomination.
i have been working with cheryl on the sunday streets and really have been inspired by her leadership on that project. and have seen such tremendous effect on the city from that leadership. with sunday streets, tom spoke to them, i think it's something that's changed the hearts and minds of san franciscos -- san francisco cans about how we can use our streets, what our streets are for. the potential that's there. and one of the challenges that i think san francisco faces as so many urban areas do is that our street system is limited as we continue to grow. as we economically grow. cars are options that there is not a lot of room for growth, which is one of the reasons that san francisco is a transit first city.
and that we have to have a focus on the other systems and how they integrate to be able to with minimal investment move the city forward in terms of the growth that is coming in the coming here's. it really--speaking of cheryl as a multimodal person is the direction we are going in. we are thinking about we are not seeing so much our modal identities anymore. i'm a cyclist. you're a driver a. transit user. we are using integrated systems. buses linking to biking, linging to -- linking to walking. once we get bike share for san francisco we are going to see more the ways we move from mode to mode as people move through their day. i see cheryl fulfilling that vision and being someone that will be very influential.
thank you for consideration. supervisor campos: thank you very much. let me also call steve and any other member of the public who would like to speak. please come forward. >> my name is steve, producer of the labor video project in san francisco. i have a serious concern about this appointment not so much her personally although i'm not sure she's a regular rider of muni. about the fact there aren't any latinos. in fact there is not even a driver who works at muni on the board. i find that rather strange. why wouldn't the -- there be a driver who represents the drivers on the m.t.a. board? i did cover the m.t.a. meeting and discovered that frankly this m.t.a. board is very isolated from the realities of the users of muni in san francisco. additionally, they were pinning the drivers against the community. under the leadership of mayor newsom. they were blaming the drivers if they raise the fairs for
disabled, they raise the fairs for students, that they were responsible for this crisis. and i, frankly, as i said find that despicable. why should the drivers who are doing difficult work and difficult times be blamed for this economic crisis? but that's precisely what the m.t.a. board unanimously did. i think it would be a mistake to appoint her. it would basically confirm the direction. we don't need corporate executives on the m.t.a. board. we need some community activists, users of the service, and drivers who really know what the situation is. there's been no, for example, effort by the board to say that these high-paid executives who make -- the director makes over $300,000 a year, they should cut their wages. instead they are attacking the workers who make the muni go. frankly that has to change and your confirmation of her would say let's continue with the same agenda that mayor newsom has which is attack the drivers and working people of san francisco. thank you.
supervisor campos: thank you. next 1350eker, please. >> my name is ray. -- next speaker, please. >> my name is ray. my concerns about the board, are there representatives on the board. there's a substantial amount of population of youth that uses the services of muni for going to recreation but mainly to get to and from school safely. they have a voice. i don't mean a token youth. something that's equal to the population that they have in san francisco. so i would really advocate for that, supervisors, and for the chair to look into that and look into the community and young people to be on that. and also will the board support community youth training and employment through its systems throughout the city? will they also support community events with their manpower and
also they are just coming out with their clout and helping us raise money. and also i think that i have known muni all my life, too. i took it to school. so the youth is needed and should be on that board. thank you. supervisor campos: thank you very much. is there any other member of the public who would like to speak? why don't we hear from commissioner oka. thank you for being here, commissioner. i do want to thank you for your tireless efforts to protect the ridership of the m.t.a. and for not being afraid to call it as you see it even if it is a little controversial at times. >> thank you very much for the comment. those who know me know that i do speak my mind.
and frankly i am kind of knowing that people will say that the board does only what mayor newsom tells us to do. the mayor and i have agreed on very few issues when it comes to muni or the riders of muni. i'm a person with disability. i ride wheelchair. i'm out there all shifts. i'm out there not just in the daytime. i'm out there at night and out there doing my job. i'm the only full-time director that they have. i know what's out there. i know from a rider perspective that we look out for people who work at night who are gone due
to budgetary concerns. i want to put those back in place. and hopefully with the full board as soon as possible. i'm looking forward to working with cheryl. believe me we will get the job done. we have to be independent in our thinking. we have to be looking out for the citizens of san francisco. mainly i want to say this, we want to make sure that each and every one of us is making sure that everybody who pays their $2 to ride muni is getting $2 worth of rides. because right now i don't believe they are. the disabled -- i agree with the
speaker that said we are not paying attention enough to youth because the youth are the lifeblood of this city. we have to make sure that their voices are heard. i'm sure that miss brinkman and i will take heed. we have to lower costs for use. i don't think the players are right in those three categories. i will fight and i'll keep fighting until we can get that right. i'm hoping that this committee will report miss brinkman's confirmation out of committee.
supervisor campos: thank you very much, commissioner. thank you for being here and thank you for your words. is there any other member of the public who would like to speak? if so, please come forward. >> my name is nick, i have been a resident of the commission for 30 years. i have some serious concerns about sunday streets. i'm an automobile owner. i park my automobile on the street. in june, for example, after sunday streets, i took some photographs which i would be glad to share with you, around 11:00 on the sunday of the sunday streets. the streets there were more employees of the city of san francisco there than there were public, nonemployees. i think at some point you are going to have to re-examine the impact of this program.
i'm very concerned that it's part of mayor newsom's plan to privatize public spaces, namely the public streets. and i see no virtue on a completely blind-sided anti-automobile mentality. there are thousands of automobile owners in san francisco. probably most of whom don't have a place to park but on the street. that's my situation. i would tend to agree with steve that if this nomination is headed in that direction, that it's better that you vote it down than approve it. thank you. >> thank you. any other member of the public who would like to seek? seeing none, public comment is known. commissioner sugaya: commissioner sugaya: -- supervisor alioto-pier. we have a motion by supervisor we have a motion by supervisor alioto-pie