The 61% Lie

You have to be impressed with Muni’s PR department. They can pretty much get the mainstream press to print whatever they want, and make everything sound great. Take for example, this “61% restoration” meme that you’re hearing everywhere.
Sounds great, right? I mean who wouldn’t want 61% of something?
The problem is, it’s a number taken out of context and conveniently forgets the recent past. Let’s review:
-December 5, 2009 – Muni makes a significant number of cuts to service. This is spun by the Mayor and Nathaniel Ford as the “first overhaul of service in 30 years,” when in fact it was a major service cut. Who knew that Big Brother had slick hair and a drinking problem – this is easily one of the most Orwellian statements to come out of the Mayor’s mouth in his entire career.
-April 2010 – Muni makes MORE CUTS to service on top of the ones made in December amounting to 10% of scheduled service. This ends up being significant and Nathaniel Ford proudly proclaims “it will be a smaller system.” A man got paid over 300,000 a year to dismantle a transit agency. Minds blown.
-Today: After lots of fiddling with numbers, and lots of one-time-only gimmicks, the 10% cut has been reduced to about a 4% cut. The politicians and spinners rejoice, and the public is made to feel like they “got something” when in fact they still got cuts now – and don’t realize they face HUGE ones in the future if Muni doesn’t get its financial house in order with better efficiency and stable revenues.
(Now, short term fixes to alleviate the pain are fine, if you use the time you’ve bought to find long term, solid solutions. Does anyone think Gavin Newsom and Nathaniel Ford are doing that?)
(Crickets chirping.)
However, remember – no one is talking about repairing the damage done in December 2009 – and no one is talking about adopting a comprehensive service plan outlined in the Transit Effectiveness Project which essentially laid out what you have to do to make things work (mostly), and how much it costs. That kind of sensible, science-driven process was disposed of by a pack of political hacks in City Hall whose combined understanding of Muni could fit on the head of a pin. Instead we talk about nickel and dime bullsh*t and all the while you and I are stuck waiting for a bus or train that never shows up on time.
And to top it all off, the operators’ union leadership wants to through a wrench in all of this, because they don’t want to show up to work on time, and don’t think it’s fair they do the work they did in the past but don’t do now.
And people wonder why #munifail is such a big topic on The Twitter.

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