Sometimes writing this little blog is like shooting fish in a barrel, especially when you open a newspaper and read this little news item about MUNI Boss Nate Ford’s raise.
The story reveals so much more than just the facts – in this case the MTA board is giving serious consideration to giving Our City’s highest paid (at $298,000/year, plus low interest home loan, plus pension, plus benefits etc.) a nice big bonus. It gives us a nice overview as to why it is people distrust MUNI, and the junkie logic that seems to infect the place.
Note, for example how not only does Mayor Newsom believe Mr. Ford should get his big bonus (despite the fact that the papers tell us MUNI has Big Problems), he also interjects that the voter mandated 85% on time rate is “unrealistic” and that it should be abandoned.
Note also that he supported the measure in the first place, but, like he does so often, he’s now against it. Just like when he supported the formation of a Taxi Commission, only to then support its total dismantling with the infamous “Measure A.” John Kerry would be proud of these flip flops. So is San Francisco, according to the latest vote count!
Likewise, when Andrew Sullivan of “Rescue Muni” is asked whether Ford deserves the raise or not, we get an answer only a politician could love. Is he for the raise? Against it? In the effort to try and offend no one, he ended up not saying anything. C’mon, Andrew, you’re better than this. You’re the head of a group that claims to be for us riders. Now is not the time for Establishment Doublespeak to make everyone happy – now’s the time to make some noise.
Even funnier (in the “funny as in frakked” way not “funny as in ha ha” way) is Mayor Newsom’s statement that to make MUNI run a losy “80% of the time,” the system needs $90 million more dollars.
Now, putting aside the fact that Loyal Readers have pointed out time and again how meaningless the systemwide percentage statistic is, I find it really kind of insulting that after we went through all the pain and suffering that was the Magical Measure A campaign, we’re now being told by Mayor Newsom what boils down to “We can’t even do a half-assed job without more money, and most of that has to go to the boss, even though we screwed up the T-Third rollout and spent a bunch of money on parties, and frankly I don’t care because I have a free car from you taxpayers!”
Or something like that.
All this, right as they’re considering a pay raise for Nate Ford. Even though the system’s at a C- level of service, he gets a raise. And they’ll pay him no matter what for the length of his entire contract – even if he got fired tomorrow for gross negligence. In other words, there’s no “performance incentive” here – just more and more money for the top, while we get stuck with higher fares and more service cuts.
I guess since the Mayor’s so popular, this is what folks want. And I suppose that asking MUNI to keep its employees from stealing from us or at least collect the money they’re owed in an efficient manner is too much to ask of a popular Mayor or the best paid guy in City Government.
Meanwhile, we see the results of squandered money, and opportunity every time a Loyal Reader sends in a tale of woe to the site.
And people wonder why a blog about MUNI gets so many hits in the first place. Now you know!
If you’d like to send an email to the Folks In Charge, why not contact the SF MTA, or send an email to Our Mayor Have fun with it and if you’ve got a particularly entertaining one to share, send it in and we’ll use it in a future Reader Mail feature!
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i found a condom on the seat of one of the underground trains yesterday. i thought it was funny because i had just read about Mr. Fords “raise” and “bone-us” and other innuendos that seems pretty funny after seeing the rubber just sitting there…
Absolutely not! There is no way Nat Ford can get a raise after all that happened this year. This drives me crazy. The editorial board got it right.
As for Newsom, what a joke. He’s always been on the side of cars over transit. He talks a big game but he capitulates or flips too easy. Who will fight for transit? Not Gavin. Hopefully when his term is up someone will get into the race that actually understands how vehicles that aren’t cars work.
Well, since Gavin says that Muni running on schedule only 80% of the time is OK, then I think we should tie Ford’s salary in with that.
His salary is $298,000?
I think it should be reduced to $238,400.
If the on time performance goes up, then his pay can.
A raise??? NO WAY!!! as others noted salary adjusted to reflect timeliness and I would add ridership. Muni is losing rather than gaining riders because service is so bad. Rewarding failure sucks–‘course in the ever so rational private sector you have the CEO’s who are fired as incompetents with severance in the hundred millions so…
I’m just guessing here, but can we make everyone in city hall take MUNI exclusively for a month, then revisit these issues?
I agree with Gavin about 85% on-time being unrealistic, to an extent. 85% can only be achieved when transit is given right-of-way over autos. If right-of-way is not on the negotiation table, then the 85% is truly a pipe dream.
Still, the voters did demand 85%. So how about it Gavin and Nat?
@ Anna. right but why stop at a month? city employee cars should be sold off and parking space abolished. After all when UNION civil servants get s#&@ on by UNION Muni personnel, just maybe some consciousness will be raised.
MUNI is an overfed pig. But, it’s the City’s own fault.
What do you expect an entity to do when it gets paid more and more money for lower and lower quality? Whether a business entity is government, non-profit, private for-profit, it always reacts to rewards. MUNI gets ‘rewarded’ with continually increased funding for inferior service.
Nat Ford’s compensation is just a reflection of MUNI’s deterioration from the City’s lack of proper oversight.
It’s too late to ‘fix’ MUNI, it must be replaced.
@kieran: thanks for commenting, I think you make some excellent points. I wonder, though if MUNI is no different than any private sector company -there are health care companies that are losing money like crazy that give out golden parachutes worth zillions to failed execs….the argument so many, such as Andrew Sullivan of Rescue MUNI and Gavin Newsom make is that we must pay these people bigger and bigger salaries in order to ensure we get “the best” todo the job….but given how much we pay police, firefighters, city bureaucrats, MUNI managers, MUNI drivers and that big pay raise we gave to Gavin and his pals at the Board of Supervisors, then techincally we should have a perfect city with perfect management.
All those who agree we have that, raise your hands….
Seeing none, the motion fails!
Greg – you’re right. Regardless of how things are run, these salaries are out of control. Let’s see results first, THEN they should get a good reward. Expecting the other way around is idiocy.