Mayor Lee addresses Google bus controversy

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Guardian photo and graphic

At a press conference on affordable housing today, the Guardian asked Mayor Ed Lee about San Francisco’s favorite pinata: tech buses. The monstrous private shuttles, which daily whisk tech workers away to Silicon Valley, currently use Muni bus stops without paying fines, like most private autos do. 

In Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe’s article in the print edition of the Bay Guardian this week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose tells her that although there is a proposal in the works to regulate them, the SFMTA won’t profit a single dime from the plan. 

“We are developing these policies to better utilize the boarding zones for these shuttle providers," Rose said. "What we're trying to do is provide a more efficient transportation network."

But everyone in San Francisco who has ever ridden Muni knows that it struggles to run on time, and chronic underfunding is a perennial Muni problem. It even hurts the city’s bottom line, depressing our economy by over $50 million a year, according a report from the city earlier this May.

The report also highlights the cost to overhaul Muni between now and the year 2020: over $167 million would be needed to overhaul the system.

So why not make a few bucks from tech companies using Muni stops, who, according to the city, cause Muni delays? 

We asked Mayor Ed Lee that very question at a press conference today. You can listen to his answer in the audio embedded below, or read the transcript for yourself. 

San Francisco Bay Guardian: "Housing is one aspect of this, but transportation is another. The MTA’s plan to deal with tech buses is cost neutral. Is that a missed opportunity to get additional funding for Muni?"

Mayor Ed Lee: “Not a missed opportunity. That’s the essence of that 2030 task force, transportation task force, that we put together where they send a report to me, I’m in a process of reviewing all aspects of that. 

Muni officials themselves were directly involved in producing that very comprehensive review along with our Planning Department and many in fact all of the departments here had implemented them.

Transportation is not just about Muni, it’s about all the modes of how people get around the city. You can’t forget that, because that’s a really big part of the task force’s work.

How to get people walking. How to get them bicycling safer and more. How to get cars less, and the cars that do, get them through where they have to go without stalling and congesting. 

How do you invest in Muni? In its assets, in its transportation, in all of its aspects. How do you work with taxis and all the other car-sharing and automobile sharing companies. It’s not just about taxis, by the way. I hear from my taxi friends as I walk around City Hall, they don’t want to be left behind so we want to bring them in to see the new exciting use of Uber carshare and Lyft… all of those modes have to be paid attention to at the highest level, including investing in the assets of Muni.

I want Muni to be the choice.”

Earlier in the press conference Lee voiced his opposition to all of the hatred pointed at tech companies. 

“People, stop blaming tech, tech companies,” he said. “They want to work on a solution. I think it's unfortunate that some voices want to pit one economic sector they view as successful against the rest of our challenge. The reality is they’re only eight percent of our economy.” 

We tried to ask a follow up question, but at the end of his answer on Muni, the mayor’s spokesperson Christine Falvey told the Guardian “We’re going to go on a tour now, this is off topic.”

Comments

then anyone remaining who still complains about them will be seen for what really motivates them - envy.

I'm confident that SFMTA and Mayor Lee can reach an accord which makes this non-problem go away

The city needs tech more than tech needs the city, as we learned when Twitter called the city's bluff and the city capitulated. Ed Lee understands this and is managing this tempest in a teacup with typical adroit aplomb.

No surprise therefore that he has a 72% approval rating.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

an agreement between the MTA and private employer shuttle providers if it is a bad deal, especially if it is made without public hearings and input.

A capitulation is not in the interests of most residents and public transportation users.

What has the Twitter giveaway provided to the typical resident? Nothing. The commercial district around Twitter is largely unchanged, all the way from 7th to Van Ness. The tax deal was just a huge subsidy to the real estate industry, most notably the Shorenstein Company.

Ed Lee is in the pocket of the tech and real estate moguls. He his lining their pockets while picking ours.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

agenda is not in the interests of the majority of citizens.

What I get out of an overpaid, over staffed and under worked city government is a mystery.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

for your terminal alcoholism and a pauper's grave when the time comes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

family. Services get cut to sustain their massive healthcare and pension benefits.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

The city is always bemoaning the lack of money for the addicts we have wondering about.

You should start looking at the world around you and start paying attention.

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

That's an awful thing to say. Why be so cruel and immature?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

That's the job of the mayor whom we elected.

The city has gained massively from the twitter incentive plan. Jobs, investment, tax revenues and the revitalization of mid-Market.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

between 7th and Van Ness. None. The same businesses; if anything more vacancies.

The tax break has cost the general fund at least $50 million.

The plan has been a transfer of wealth from the public coffers to the pockets of the owners of the office buildings, the Shorenstein company and their ilk.

Public subsidy of private profit aka the "free market."

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

is as ludicrous as is the idea that tax subsidies should be given to corporations. Both are fallacies promoted by special interests who stand to benefit - in the case of the "public coffers" it's public employee unions and bidders for government contracts.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

that they pay a little less tax than they otherwise would have done.

Twitter is subsidizing the city and not the other way about.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 6:43 am

We need to reduce public spending.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 6:44 am

It's not just envy. It's also fear - particularly amongst renters who don't believe they can compete with highly paid tech employees.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

want and are envious of people who can afford what they cannot afford.

Those who move to Oakland because that is all they can afford envy those of us who can afford to live in SF.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

is tiresome and wrong. Sounds like the bullshit the upper classes in England say about the commoners there.

You came here from there seeking your fortune, didn't you?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

This envy meme is merely tacky class-ist propaganda. It's another lie from the techie cult and their hacks.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

other people have (money to buy a nice SF home) that you do not have.

You love to talk about one mortal sin - greed - but never like to talk about another one - envy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 6:45 am

Envy has nothing to do with it. I don't care how much money other people make. I do fine. I'm certainly not envious of a person who sits in front of a computer for 12 hours a day surrounded by a bunch socially inept weirdos,. The issue is that these types are taking a once vibrant and interesting city and turning it into a giant Marina. And for what? A temporary bubble that will gut SF when it bursts? And I do live in Oakland now. By choice. I had a rent controlled apartment in Cole Valley. I left because of the demographic changes. It became a boring place full of people staring into their laptops with headphones on. I didn't get priced out. I could afford to move back if I wanted to. I don't. Have fun in your mom's basement when this all goes belly up. My job is recession proof. You envious?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 10:06 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 10:57 am

classic textbook definition of envy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 11:14 am

" I'm certainly not envious of a person who sits in front of a computer for 12 hours a day surrounded by a bunch socially inept weirdos,. The issue is that these types are taking a once vibrant and interesting city and turning it into a giant Marina. And for what? A temporary bubble that will gut SF when it bursts?"

I couldn't agree more except for the "socially inept weirdos." I'm tempted to agree; but I'm not really sure what they're like, not knowing any personally. I'm also not at all sure I want to know. But I do think they're socially useless, also environmentally useless-harmful and also economically harmful. So far as I can tell, all they're doing on the job is dreaming up more unnecessary things that electronic devices can do to capitalize on our minds, play into cyber warfare, and/or designing more ways that electronic devices can communicate with each other. They do not, however, produce anything socially or economically useful to our organic sustenance and/or real well-being.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

Unless you want to rationalize your envy for others.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 7:14 am

Didn't anyone notice that Lee wasn't making any sense? What gibber!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 10:41 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2013 @ 7:15 am

It's 51% now. The more Ed Lee fiddles while the city burns, the more people wake up to what a corrupt and useless administration this is. Apparently the collapse in Ed's approval ratings is happening faster than even I imagined.

We were just talking at the dinner table about the tech backlash, and I mentioned that it's beginning to look like 2000-2001. My rather apolitical SO said "I think it's worse than 2001." That surprised me. I said, "I hope you're right." OTOH, the gentrification is worse. It's already done a lot of damage.

Still, I think David Campos may well be right when he says that the city is primed for a progressive resurgence. When he first started saying that a few months ago, I was thinking "from your lips to gods ears" but not quite believing it. Now I think that he may have caught on to a trend before everyone else.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

You again with the Move to Oakland! Holy smokes you are obsessed lol. I imagine you go about your day accidentally saying " move to Oakland!" to people you encounter in person- your corner store owner, people who get in your way at Bi-Rite, your cat... And smart, well adjusted people aren't envious of anyone. But infantile, narcissistic people often imagine people are envious of THEM.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

stops?" That sounds suspiciously like capitalism - something the SFBG has long railed against as being at the root of our planet's problems. Are we witnessing a sea change in the Guardian's newsroom? Was the old crew (Caitlin, Tim etc...) shit-canned only to be replaced by secret fans of Goldman Sachs?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

handing it over to the wealth-consuming sector.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

Simplistic nonsense. there can be no public sector without a successful private sector, which is why Detroit is bankrupt.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

I learned from this article that the Google buses "currently use Muni bus stops without paying fines, like most private autos do."

So most private autos who stop in a Muni bus stop pay a fine? Really? I didn't think that was the case, but if it is printed in the SFBG then it must be true.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

driver is in the car, with the engine running, and in control.

The cops just move the driver on.

No reason why the shuttles should be any different, except of course that they are buses!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

More bull shit from Mr Smug Ass. Just reading his newspeak drivel is too much for me.
Despite all those words, he said nothing of substance. All newspeak.

Quoting from the article with a change:

"We tried to ask a follow up question, but at the end of his answer on Muni, the mayor’s spokesLIAR Christine Falvey told the Guardian “We’re going to go on a tour now, this is off topic.”

Go to fucking hell. These scum forget who they work for.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

who are not rabid socialists.

And Lee works for the 72% who recently gave him an all-time high approval rating.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

You know when I choose who I poll, it turns out I am the most wonderful human being in the universe.

What poll? Who was polled?

Posted by SF'er on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

widely and cited here and elsewhere.

Previous polls have shown Lee's support at around 2/3 so this really isn't inconsistent with earlier findings.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

But you know what? You just go on believing that.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

Politicians aren't elected by polls. The only thing that matters is the next election. If SF wants a change it'll vote for one - Lee is the mayor right now and he'll be the mayor until he's either defeated or resigns. Get over it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

You're always touting the polls... until they start showing things you disagree with.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2013 @ 11:07 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

"and leave this place to the big boys."

So you'll be leaving?

Pssssst: Trolls are not "big boys." They're toddlers.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

Why do some people get so bent, angry and feel the need to lie (yet again) when someone tells the truth about a politician (whom they apparently see as their messiah)? And who really only got around 30% of the total vote in the first round (of those who voted in that election) and it took ELEVEN ROUNDS for this piece to be declared mayor.

It will be so nice when we get back to honesty again instead of living in and with lies and deception.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

"it took ELEVEN ROUNDS for this piece to be declared mayor."

If you understood how ranked choice voting worked you would know that the number of rounds depends mostly on the number of candidates running, since one candidate is eliminated each round. In Lee's case there were about 14 candidates so, yes, it took a lot of rounds to eliminate each one.

Final tally, Lee had very close to 60% of the vote, so I'm not sure what your point is. Several polls have subsequently put his approval rating from 60-73%.

Google "How ranked choice voting works" so that you can learn how RCV works.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

San Francisco votes for ranked choice voting and THIS is what we get?

The rules must be manipulated until the desired outcome is achieved.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

because they thought it gave them the advantage.

Lee would have won under any system, the next step for the goofy left around town is a Soviet style system.

| | Comrade Avalos
| | Peoples deputy Avalos

Posted by Matlock on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

to 40. Moreover, without ranked choice, Avalos might not even have made the runoff.

Voters wanted a pro-jobs mayor and now give him a 72% approval rating.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2013 @ 6:47 am

If Lee were the "end all" and the messiah that the Lee-bots on this site like to pretend he is, he would have won unanimously in the FIRST ROUND, even if there had been 300 candidates in the race, and regardless of RCV because with RVC if a candidate secures more than half of the votes cast in the first round, that candidate wins (which Lee did not do), and which the Lee-bots conveniently fail to mention. You might find this helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_Choice_Voting.

Also, If Lee were the "end all" and the messiah that the Lee-bots on this site like to pretend he is, the voters would have refused to vote for anyone on the ballot but their messiah Lee. Their campaign slogan would have been: "WE WANT NO ONE ELSE BUT OUR MESSIAH LEE AND WE REFUSE TO VOTE FOR ANYONE ELSE!" But that's not the way it worked despite the lies and distortions from the Lee-bots.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

Exactly. My fellow guest is correct. Lee DID NOT win the election unanimously, but the Lee-bots continue to claim that he has popular support anyway.

They conveniently fail to mention that, in the latest poll, a full 27% OF THE PEOPLE DID NOT GIVE LEE A POSITIVE APPROVAL RATING. Only 73% did, a fact that the lying Lee-Bot shills will never bring up.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

Fellow guest? You're the same person agreeing with yourself, lol. You can tell by the way you use caps in your posts.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

I find you amusing :) Here's the quote, "Exactly. My fellow guest is correct". That's not agreeing with yourself? You know that you're mentally deranged, right?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

Thick. Dense.

I'll draw you a picture. Maybe that will help:

One "Guest" (pro-Lee) was imitating/mocking another "Guest" (anti-Lee). Are you that dense to not understand that?

The pro-Lee "Guest" wrote this:

"a full 27% OF THE PEOPLE DID NOT GIVE LEE A POSITIVE APPROVAL RATING. Only 73% did, a fact that the lying Lee-Bot shills will never bring up. "

73% is higher than 27%. Get it? Duh.

That's pro-Lee quote above was at the bottom of the fake anti-Lee post.

If you want to see mentally deranged, look in the damn mirror idiot. There's nothing "amusing" about being thick and dense like you.

Now read this comment again several times slowly so it sinks in that thick head of yours.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

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