Monday, November 26, 2012

Bay View + Guardian:
Wiener Irks Parents, Environmentalists

It's not enough that polarizing Supervisor Scott Wiener, a politician truly lacking in people-skills and the ability to compromise with opponents, has pissed off nudists, sunshine and good government advocates, folks who want to reclaim flagpoles on public grounds, and voters who rejected his ballot prop to allow the Board of Supervisors to amend select measures passed by the electorate.

Wiener has now irked low-income parents with kids and their allies, because he does not want to use public dollars making Muni rides free for youths. Excerpted from an article last week in San Francisco's leading black newspaper the Bay View, written by Jaron Browne:

Dozens of parents and youth advocates testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Government Audits and Oversight Committee supporting Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin’s proposal to apply recently awarded regional funds to implement the free Muni for youth pilot program. 

The families were responding to a resolution introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener urging the MTA to use the funds only on maintenance and not on the youth pass. 

“Supervisor Weiner is creating a false choice between the youth pass program and the health of the system as a whole,” said Angelina Yu with the Chinatown Community Development Center . . . 

“Supervisor Wiener is out of touch right now with the needs and experiences of the majority of people who ride the bus in San Francisco,” said Gloria Esteva, parent leader with POWER. “He says he is a transit advocate but he is fighting against the core issue being raised by the thousands of families and youth who ride Muni every day, which is the urgent transit need of our children and youth.”

The SF Metropolitan Transportation Agency is set to vote on a resolution backing free transit for youths on Muni on December 4, and a large crowd of advocates favoring the resolution are expected to show up and speak up. I'm supportive of the resolution and believe the newly available dollars would best be used getting youths used to riding public transit, and give low-income families a break in these hard times.

Also last week, the Bay Guardian's editor Tim Redmond reported on Wiener's attempt to dilute environmental protections and reviews, a scary proposal that would seriously jeopardize the public's right to appeal decisions favorable to developers:

Sup. Scott Wiener is proposing a dramatic overhaul of the city's environmental review process that would limit the ability of citizen activists to appeal projects and could ease the path for major developments.

The new rules — some of which are fairly simple and routine, others more far-reaching — cover the city's interpretation and implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the state's venerable land-use and environmental oversight law. The legislation is before the Planning Commission and could reach the supervisors in December . . .

Wiener would do away with the mandate that the supervisors hold a hearing, accept appeal briefs, and address CEQA questions as a distinct and separate part of a project approval. 

"The public would be denied the right to a hearing before the full elected body on the adequacy of an EIR or other CEQA determination," a Planning Department staff analysis states . . .

As Wiener's first two years serving as the District 8 supervisor come to a close with more of his conservative and questionable tinkering with city policies, it's abundantly clear he has no intention of learning from his predecessor Harvey Milk in respectfully engaging all constituencies and practicing the political art of compromise.

The list of constituencies and numbers of citizens displeased with Wiener and his rigid conservative agenda continues to expand with these proposals, and that is not healthy for the Castro or the city at-large.

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