Mainstream press coverage of Muni-related crime incidents has been at best tragic and at worst a “follow the pack” mentality, whereby anytime someone says “o hai! Muni fight,” suddenly the press gets all crazy, and wants to hype the hell out of something that happens every day. The only difference is someone put one video on YouTube, and now people lose their shit over the latest “incident” but don’t bother to cover The Big Picture.
That’s not to make light of such incidents – why just the other night a Friend of the N Judah Chronicles was minding her own business on a bus, when a fight broke out and it spilled over, resulting in her getting an injury to her hand. That sucks, and we hope she makes a full recovery ASAP.
However, it’s time to get past the press/blog freakout about the Latest Incident, and start getting something done about this in a more systemic way.
Fortunately, I had the chance to speak to my friend Boe Hayward, who works for Supervisor (and mayoral candidate) Dufty. He told me about Sup. Dufty’s hearing on Monday, November 23rd on Muni crime. The hearing will begin at 11am and is in Room 250 at City Hall.
What makes this hearing stand out is that they’re actively asking any Muni rider who’s either been the victim of, or witness to, any form of crime to speak out. If you can attend, you can email Boe and let him know you’ll be attending. They’re putting the public comments at the beginning of the hearing, so you don’t have to sit through the entire meeting to have your say.
Remember, the SFPD insisted Muni pay a lot in “work orders,” claiming they did all sorts of work on Muni. However, as overall crime has gone down in San Francisco, Muni crime has actually gone up. The point of the hearing will be to give the public a chance to speak out, and for Supervisors and others to ask the SFPD about their plans to increase patrols on buses, and so on.
Also, I’d like to add this – I know that Sup. Dufty is running for Mayor, and I know that there are the cynical types that will simply say he’s “using” the Muni issue as a hook to run for mayor and blow off this kind of hearing as meaningless theater.
I’d like to suggest otherwise. First of all, anyone staking a political future on anything Muni related is taking a Hell of a risk, and it’s not like running around saying “care not cash” which was infinitely easier to “accomplish.” More importantly, Dufty is willing to do something with his time in office to at least try and make things better. I can’t say the same for the current Mayor, most of the MTA board, and many so-called Supervisors.
Is he the magician that can make it all better? No. But before anyone starts getting their SF-Style judgement on, let’s try and work with him, and anyone who is willing to try, instead of just bitch on blogs and comment sections at the Gate. And, let’s hold him and others accountable too. We win in the end.
In the end, we own Muni, and as owners, we need to demand better. These folks work for us, not vice versa!
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