SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
San Francisco County Citizens Advisory Committee (SFCAC) meets once a month at 100 Van Ness Avenue on the 25th Floor to discuss transportation issues. I attended the last meeting held July 7, 2004 and chaired by Sarah Chan. I make it a point to attend most SFCAC meetings.
The Citizens Advisory Board lacks transparency and accountability more so with the resignation of Val Menotti. Val was one of few who asked pertinent questions and understood the issues at hand. Sarah Chan conducts the meetings as if she were a kindergarten class teacher. Often times one has to remind this rather plumb woman that certain agenda items mandate public comment.
It has been routine for the City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) to get as much as $20 million plus in gas tax under Proposition B and soon under Proposition K and use the total amount for Street Cleaning, Planting and Watering Trees.
Little if no money is spent on street repair and asphalting streets. All other cities, towns, and counties receive gas tax money and use it for street repairs. Why not San Francisco?
Our Department of Public Works works on dubious parameters and blames the Board of Supervisors (BOS) and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) for allowing DPW to do what it does worse. Mayor Gavin Newsom should check into their operations.
The SFCAC should change this and move towards DPW using a larger portion to fix our streets. As to trees and watering them the DPW should be held responsible for doing a lousy job. An investigation should be done to find our about SLUG an organization that worked hand in glove with DPW to the detriment of the constituents of San Francisco. Wasting millions of money and bring great discredit of many City Departments and the citizens at large.
The SFCAC sees nothing with the movable bridge at 3rd Street and Marin that has great cracks some as much as 6 inches. This project was undertaken by DPW with little or no experience with this type of work. Now DPW needs over $20 million to finish this job and by taking on this job without a proper Environmental Impact Assessment it has open a can of worms.
If this bridge does not come on line - no train will move and people will have to kayak across Islais Creek.
A few hundred feet from this problematic bridge the SFCAC sees nothing in giving the San Francisco Port Authority millions of dollars to build another proposed movable bridge - the Islais Creek Bridge. The SFCAC has absolutely no idea that the SFPA has wasted millions before and continues to waste more every year. Nothing much has changed with Monique Moyer in charge. She continues to back bad decisions some made before she took charge and some under her jurisdiction.
SFCAC have not read the Housing Element documents and by not doing so the majority of them cannot really understand the Transportation Document which has been created the SFCTA. The Housing Element produced by the City Planning Department is based on a baseline that is faulty and was off track by 20,000 housing units way back in 1990.
The Transportation Document fails to incorporate the adverse impacts of the proposed Islais Creek with millions of vehicles polluting the Southeast Sector. Fails to take into account thousands of units that are proposed to be built around Candlestick Park, 5800 3rd Street, 5600 3rd Street, 3rd and Cargo and thousands more on Potrero Hill.
Fails to address the transportation needs of the aging population. Totally fails the constituents by failing to incorporate traffic congestion on 3rd Street just because it is under construction. 3rd Street is a main artery well known for very heavy traffic and with no empirical data the Transportation Document fails to say anything much.
It fails to understand why the City Planning Department gives the Housing Element - a Negative Declaration.
No precise data related to traffic analysis in hundreds of heavy traffic areas are reflected in the document just because the SFCTA did not have neither the money nor the expertise applied to come out with this data.
There are over 20 other elements that I could mention but I am not paid to be a consultant to the SFCTA. The SFCTA Citizens Advisory Committee simply nod their heads but no little about real traffic issues point out in this article. Yet some of them choose to serve for what purpose is beyond me.
Public comment is important especially if you are dealing with a Committee that lacks elementary education on transportation issues and fails to serve the constituents of San Francisco. Again and again Sarah Chan fails in her duty to under simple Roberts Rules of conducting meetings. Fails to understand the Sunshine Laws and the Brown Act.
Often time she is late for the sub-committee meetings at City Hall. Her main purpose on the CAC points in the direction of some undue influence when projects affecting China Town are in the pipeline. She thinks she will do a good job after performing miserably on the 3rd Street MUNI Lightrail. A very poor communicator.
It has been years now that we demanded the payroll data on 3rd Street MUNI Lightrail to see how the salaries reflect and shed light on certain elements mandated by Federal law. As long as the Federal Government gives one single dollar the SFCTA is mandated to give us this information. Every single excuse has been used not to give us this mandated information.
Given this information we could zero in on ethnic employment and also the periods certain employees stayed on the jobs. Right now some people who work for as little as 20 hours and no more are counted as a statistic. Such type of accounting demands an in depth investigation.
Yet again and again the SFCTA will use diatribe and other long-winded statements to explain convoluted ideas that go no where. When we ask a simple question we get an answer that does not answer the question.
It is time that the CAC change the way it works. It is time is fires the Chair and appoints another Chair who is informed. This plumb cherry is not educated on issues and we are not children in some kindergarten class.
The CAC should visit ground zero as a team and check out the projects at 3rd Street and other sites where it wastes millions of dollars. I am asking Mayor Gavin Newsom to look into the SFCAC and also the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into the meetings of SFCTA Citizens Advisory Committee. The City Controller should look into the CAC and its activities outside the scheduled meetings. The BOS who are also the Commissioners to the SFCTA play a role that fails to check the SFCTA and this should not be so.
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