San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who does not own a car, introduced a motion to reject the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency budget after the April 30 SFMTA Board of Directors vote. This motion was heard at the Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. His measure passed, four to one, and has been forwarded onto the full board, where it will be heard on Tuesday, May 12. It is expected to pass there, as Chiu has six co-sponsors, and seven out of 11 supervisors are needed to reject the SFMTA budget. SFMTA staff will then be back at Budget and Finance on May 13.
However, according to our city charter, the SFMTA staff is under no obligation to redo the budget and come back with something more acceptable to the supervisors. And right now there is a struggle going on between the supervisors and the mayor, who is running for governor of California. As much as the staff want to produce a different budget -- and from all accounts, staff people do -- they are under pressure from the mayor. If the SFMTA does not produce a new budget, it could operate under the status quo, draining funds from our dwindling general fund -- or, according to Aaron Peskin, former president of the SF Board of Supervisors, the supervisors themselves could redo the SFMTA budget. David Chiu, thankfully, seems at this point to be working very diplomatically with the beleaguered staffers at the SFMTA.
Here are links to recent stories about the SFMTA budget crisis:
Arnold and Gavin: Using the Deficit to Scare Us; Beyond Chron, May 11, 2009
Tuesday Showdowns on Muni and JROTC; Beyond Chron, May 11, 2009
Supes Committee Votes to Recommend Rejection of MTA Budget; SF Streetsblog, May 11, 2009
Supervisors aim to change Muni budget; SF Chronicle, May 7, 2009
Supervisors seem primed to reject Muni budget; SF Bay Guardian, May 7, 2009