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return to MTA 2003 agendas and minutes

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1. Call to Order

Chairman Flynn called the meeting to order at 5:24 p.m.

2. Roll Call


Shirley Breyer Black
Mike Casey
H. Welton Flynn
Michael Kasolas
James McCray, Jr.
Cleopatra Vaughns

Absent: Enid Lim

Chairman Flynn announced that the ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at the meeting. He advised that any person responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic devices may be removed from the meeting.

The board secretary announced that, in the event that the room reached capacity, the North Light Court would serve as an overflow room. For people who were in the overflow room and wished to address the board, the secretary would call the name of the next speaker plus the two following speakers so there was ample time for them to make their way to the room.

3. Director’s Report (for discussion only)

No report was made.

4. Public Comment




5. Approving the Municipal Railway Department’s FY2004 Operating Budget in the amount of $466,090,017; approving the Department of Parking and Traffic’s FY2004 Operating and Capital Budget in the amount of $71,078,364; certifying that the FY2004 budgets are adequate to make substantial progress towards meeting the goals, objectives, and performance standards; approving labor savings including the possibility of reductions in the workforce; approving the Muni fixed route and paratransit passenger fare schedule; approving the schedule of DPT and Parking Authority parking fines, fees and rates; approving the fare change request to waive fares on New Year’s Eve 2003, authorizing the continuance of the Class Pass program; and authorizing the implementation of short-term experimental fares. (Explanatory documents include a staff report, resolution and attachments.)

Director Burns announced that, following months of public discussion and outreach, the board would be asked to adopt the MTA budget. This has been a difficult and challenging process but it is nothing compared to implementing it. The budget has been prepared with several principles in mind – continued improvement, minimizing service impacts, encouraging the transit first policy, and sharing the budget solution with all transportation users and employees.

The FY04 budget is balanced with a variety of revenue and expenditure solutions and protects service levels and service quality improvements. It is adequate to make progress on meeting the service standards. The budget does contain several assumptions, such as the proposed increases in parking fees and fines and Muni fares, which, if not approved, will result in a more significant budget deficit. Staff will return to the board when there are major developments in the budget.


William Sisk, Local 250-A, recommends rejection of the budget, as it is incomplete, confusing and doesn’t show details. Muni has reported a 17% increase in service levels, which were on paper only as they never materialized on the street. He suggested that the Director of Transportation should cut his own budget first.

Sarita Britt has only had a week to review the budget and needs more time to go over it. Before there are any service cuts or layoffs, staff should look at all aspects and meet with the unions.

Rudy Parsons questioned the use of consultants.

Michael Lyon is concerned about cutting taxi vouchers because it will be difficult for people to get to their doctors appointments. Muni should be free to their riders.

Mike Lonergan, Local 200, stated that no one is willing to see Muni starved for funds as it was in the mid-90’s and no one wants to see service impacted. Local 200 believes Muni needs to focus its limited resources on transportation. Executive management hasn’t responded to their requests for information.

Glenda LaVigne, President, Local 200, has serious concerns about the budget and only received certain material today. Muni has leased space throughout the city and consolidation at one location could save money. She would like the opportunity to review the budget and negotiate in good faith.

Norm Rolfe urged the board to raise garage rates, eliminate monthly parking or raise it to meet private rates and to consider other Sierra Club recommendations. He urged staff to continue looking at longer-range items, as he believes Muni will be in the same situation next year.

Daniel Murphy, Chairman, Citizen’s Advisory Committee, thanked staff for their detailed review and comparison of the CAC and Rescue Muni alternatives. He noted that the gap created by a lower fast pass should be closed by more aggressive pursuit of parking fees and fines. The CAC agrees that we need a balanced package with labor, management and auto users all sharing the burden. Management has met the guidelines set forth in Prop. E. He urged the board to set the MIF fund at zero as it has been of dubious use in the past.

Ernestine Weiss thanked the board for holding the line on senior costs. She urged staff to cut the frills in Muni and DPT from the top, middle and bottom. She thinks PGE should pay their fair share and that businesses should kick in. Bonuses at the top should be cut and employees should take transit.

Andrew Sullivan, Chairman, Rescue Muni (RM), has made specific recommendations about fares and fees. RM understands that the budget must be balanced and all must sacrifice. He is concerned about the fast pass price. It’s very important to have contributions from all sources – labor, management and drivers. RM doesn’t want to see more service cuts. The MIF proposal to increase their funding is not appropriate at this time.

Marc Norton, People’s Budget, is opposed to layoffs, service cuts, fare increase, and pay cuts. The city has been giving away money to downtown and big business for years. This matter may get taken to the ballot.

James Smith noted that we’re spending billions on war that a majority that doesn’t support while Muni is fighting over crumbs. He commended TWU for their stand and thinks they should publicize their views to the riders. Muni should be free.

Joan Downey, member of the CAC and RM, asked the board to consider the Transit First policy when voting. Keeping the fast pass price at $40 keeps it affordable for riders; encourages a non-cash fare; and speeds up boarding. The difference can be made up in increased parking fees, residential parking permit fees and other fees.

James Bryant, SEIU 790, stated that Muni has a responsibility to cover stations when things go wrong. The current station agent staffing level is at 48 with the agreed upon level being 65. There is an agreed upon system to be sure there is coverage for people who are sick. It’s a mistake to have vacant booths, as it is our responsibility to deal with potential problems. Make sure funding is put back into the budget so station agent funding is for 65 agents.

Anthony Faber wanted to say that fares shouldn’t be raised. Raise parking fees and fines more as Muni is how the poor get around.

Pauline Perea, Local 790, spoke on behalf of a member, Fannie Lee Low who will lose her job if these budget cuts are implemented.

Lorie Rueda, Station Agent, doesn’t understand the formula for spending. Cutting should start from the top. It’s dangerous not to staff agents at stations such what happened at Forest Hills. Station agents are trained personnel who can assist the elderly, school children and people with disabilities.

Elizabeth Valdellon, Vice President, Station Agents, commented that station agents are concerned for co-workers and the riding public. They are responsible for safety and in the event of an emergency, will initiate the evacuation process. Leaving booths open is a danger to the riding public.

Mary Walker, a Muni station agent, spoke about system security. All public employees are disaster service workers following a declaration of an emergency. Station agents are especially valuable because of their knowledge and must be supported by the city. The public address system hasn’t worked for over two years. She hopes the five million dollars received for enhanced security can go to station agents. Please support drivers and station agents.

Bill Helm, Supervisor of Mail Service, needs more trucks. The service cuts are unacceptable because Muni gives service to employees and the public. Work furloughs aren’t acceptable. He would like to know what the internal efficiencies are and is opposed to service cuts and layoffs.

Forrest Schmidt thinks money can be found and that corporations aren’t funding their fair share. The budget is balanced on the backs of the poor.

James Tracy, a Muni rider who takes the 27-Bryant every day stated that no one who supports the fare increase would be affected by it. These increases will mean less money for food, medicine and basic human needs. The budget is being balanced on the backs of those who can least afford it. He urged riders to support a fare strike within two weeks of the budget’s approval and asked union members to support their riders. He is opposed to fare hikes, givebacks and layoffs.

John Ferguson lives on a fixed income. His rent and phone bills don’t leave him with much. The current dollar fare is more than enough.

James Collins has to buy his fast pass with social security. He is opposed to the fare increase. He thinks the budget cuts should start at the top.

Richard Marquez, Mission Agenda, is a regular rider who understands that poor working people have the profoundest need for affordable public transportation to live their lives. He stands with the unions in opposition to labor cuts and fare hikes. Low-income people of color have the lowest rates of medically uninsured, with no home or car ownership. Fortune 500 companies should pay their fair share.

David McGuire thinks that people who have no money shouldn’t be asked to pay extra. Once a fares increase, it will never go back down. Muni isn’t a business and doesn’t have to make money. Everyone will suffer except the rich who never take the bus. Muni should be free.

Jim Reid noted that if Mayor Brown had put money away during the time of abundance, no problem would exist today. He would like to develop a transit tax where everyone pays a tax that would go to Muni. Car drivers should pay for public transit. He would like to see and eight-year plan to make Muni free. Middle management is inefficient and should be removed.

Tom Wetzel is totally opposed to the fare increase and any wage cut for workers. There was a fiscal crisis with Muni 10 years ago but Prop E was supposed to fix it. The developers and downtown businesses that are heavily dependent on public transportation should finance Muni. Muni should build reserve funds to help during lean times. This is a regressive tax that will hit people with lowest incomes the hardest.

Michael Rash stated that he is a custodian at the Forest Hills station who had to help some elderly passengers because there was no station agent. He went through hell to get the seniors out because the elevators weren’t working and was cussed out for it. He is opposed to budget cuts and thinks that high price salaries should be cut.

Erma Brim commented that group van users are frail elderly people with developmental disabilities who have less than anyone in the state. They’re dependent on everyone. She is grateful for sparing the seniors but would like to see the group van people get relief. She urged the board to reconsider the group van rate.

Larry Martin, TWU, stated that the number one thing is service for riders and the second most important thing are the workers who deal with the public. Management needs to educate the workers and public before decisions are made. He has reviewed the budget and thinks that cuts are from the bottom up and should be from the top down. He urged staff to sit down with employees to communicate and educate them. He also thinks the MIF budget is clearly saving money.

Jeanne Lynch, Senior Action Network, noted that while the board left the .35-cent fare alone the senior and disabled pass will be raised. She urged a second look at the budget

Director Vaughns asked for clarification about the Ambassador Program. Michael Burns noted that the Ambassador program was being provided for in-house. $300,000 was in the FY04 budget for the MIF program for items such as Peer Assistance, Employee Assistance and the Claremont contract. Larry Martin stated that the Ambassador program was a jointly managed program and he recommends more money for the program as it saves money in the long term.

Director Vaughns sees gross inequities in the parking garage increases and asked staff to take another look. Fred Hamdun will look again at the increases to make sure we’re not hurting the revenue stream.

Director Casey asked for an explanation about the unallocated section of the budget. Michael Burns noted that most of the money is for major Muni-wide expenses for worker’s compensation, health care increases and paratransit costs or for other responsibilities that are spread throughout the divisions.

In response to Director McCray’s question, Michael Burns stated that the only salary increases in this budget are those that have already been negotiated. They are increases for transit operators and the 1% increase for individuals in unions who chose to participate in the retirement program. If the budget is not approved there will be approximately $28 million dollars that will have to be found. Muni would have to be looking at significant and substantial service cuts and cuts in the work force.

Chairman Flynn stated that while he understands the concerns, he would like to see no increase in paratransit fares for group and lift van services. He would like to see the difference made up in increased parking fees. We should help out where we can and the money could easily be found. Spreading an additional $255,000 in revenue over the city’s garages and lots won’t make a difference.

Director Casey noted that while the charter requires a budget to be adopted by March 1, the reality is that the budget will be returning to the board after March 1. Director Burns noted that the budget could change as the economy improves or worsens or if the Board of Supervisors approves or denies increases to parking fees and fines. There is still room for discussion and he is willing to work with the unions on budget solutions. Amendments to the budget will be brought back to the board of directors for approval.

On the motion to keep the paratransit fares for group and lift van services at it’s current rate and find the additional $255 in parking fees: unanimously approved (Lim-absent).

On the motion to amend the resolution to say that the Muni fare increase would occur “on or before September 1”: unanimously approved (Lim-absent.)

Director Casey asked for additional amendments to the budget which would delete specific language about labor savings; add a resolved clause regarding negotiating with labor organizations to achieve labor savings; add language that would require a vote by the MTA Board prior to layoffs or bump backs; and a clause recommending amending the Transit Impact Development Fee to cover the cost of providing transit services to new developments.

Director Casey noted that it’s regrettable that it’s necessary to increase fares, which he reluctantly endorses but believes that Muni’s fare structure is more than competitive and below scores of other cities. It is unfortunate that fares should fall on working people but there hasn’t been an increase for 10 years. He strongly objects to balancing the budget prior to collective bargaining as it forces unions to bargain with a gun to their head. He encourages a good faith effort by both union and management, urging them to look for alternatives.

Director Burns noted that any layoffs are the absolute last resort but all areas of possible savings had been investigated. It would be disingenuous to hold out hope for something we don’t see on the horizon as an alternative to the reality that Muni faces if we don’t see the revenues or savings projected in budget realized.

Director Vaughns noted that the board has to be realistic in their assessment of the budget and unless specific areas for savings are identified, then we are spinning our wheels.

In response to a request by Director Kasolas, Director Burns commented on Director Casey’s proposed amendments. He is already authorized to negotiate with the unions and the board has no jurisdiction in personnel matters. The union that will be impacted with the most layoffs is the Municipal Executives Association. He supports adding language regarding amending the Transit Impact Development Fee.

Deputy City Attorney affirmed that the ultimate decision to lay off employees lies with the Director of Transportation.

Director Vaughns moved to amend the amendment to adopt the resolution without the first three resolved clauses made by Director Casey regarding labor savings, negotiations, and bump backs and keeping the resolved clause that dealt with the TIDF.

On motion to amend the amendment:

ADOPTED: AYES – Flynn, Kasolas, McCray and Vaughns

NAYES - Black, Casey


On the motion to approve the budget as amended to include language about the TIDF; implementation date for the increase in the fare structure; and keep the paratransit fares for group and lift van services at it’s current rate and find the additional $255 in parking fees


On motion to approve:

ADOPTED: AYES – Flynn, Kasolas, McCray and Vaughns

NAYES - Black, Casey


ADJOURN - The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.

A tape of the meeting is on file in the office of the Secretary to the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.

Roberta Boomer
Board Secretary

The Ethics Commission of the City and County of San Francisco has asked us to remind individuals and entities that influence or attempt to influence local legislative or administrative action may be required by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance [SF Admin. Code Sections 16.520 - 16.534] to register and report lobbying activity. For more information about the Lobbyist Ordinance, please contact the Ethics Commission at 1390 Market Street, Suite 801, San Francisco, CA 94102, telephone 415-554-9510, fax 415-554-8757 and Web site: sfgov.org/ethics.

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