Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 1999 Election
Proposition E
Municipal Transportation Agency
City of San Francisco

Majority Vote Required

108,558 / 61.00% Yes votes ...... 69,193 / 38.90% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Infomation shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments |
Shall the City create a Municipal Transportation Agency with expanded powers and duties to run the Municipal Railway and the Department of Parking and Traffic?
Summary Prepared by the Ballot Simplification Committee:
THE WAY IT IS NOW: The Municipal Railway (Muni), a City department governed by the Public Transportation Commission, operates the City's transit system. Parking and Traffic is a separate department under its own commission. Members of these commissions can be removed by the Mayor at any time.

The Public Transportation Commission, through Muni's General Manager, sets Muni's standards of operation. The Board of Supervisors must approve fare increases and route eliminations. Muni is funded as part of the City's overall budget, receiving annual monies from the General Fund, which are set by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

Some City functions, such as purchasing, human resources, and employee contract negotiations, are handled by centralized city agencies rather than by each department.

Most employee contracts do not include performance bonuses. The City Charter contains a Transit-First Policy, setting priorities for the movement of people and goods in the City.

THE PROPOSAL: Proposition E is a Charter amendment that would replace the Public Transportation Commission with a new Municipal Transportation Agency. The Agency would operate Muni and, beginning in 2002, the Department of Parking and Traffic. The Board of Supervisors also could make the Taxi Commission part of the Agency.

The Agency would be governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors. Members would need particular qualifications to serve on the board and could be removed only for cause. The board would hire a director to administer the Agency. The Agency would control its own operations, including purchasing and contracting, subject to certain limitations.

Proposition E would set standards for performance and service by Muni, including meeting 98.5 percent of its scheduled service and having at least an 85 percent on-time record, with the goal of full achievement of those standards by July 1, 2004. Muni standards of compliance would be audited every two years.

The Agency would handle its own personnel and labor relations. Muni employees such as drivers, dispatchers, and mechanics would be designated "service-critical." The Agency would negotiate directly with employee organizations for "service-critical" positions. Tentative labor agreements would be publicly disclosed 30 days prior to their approval. Contracts would include performance bonuses for managers and "service-critical" employees.

Proposition E would create a Municipal Transportation Fund establishing a minimum annual contribution from the City's General Fund. With certain exceptions, the Agency still would be subject to the City's budget process. The Board of Supervisors could reject, but not modify, the Agency's budget by a two-thirds vote.

Proposition E would set rules for changes in Muni fares, service, and routes. It would replace the Charter's existing Transit-First Policy with a more detailed Transit-First Policy and make it part of the City's General Plan. The measure also would create a Citizens' Advisory Council for the Agency.

Fiscal Impact from the City Controller Edward Harrington:
In my opinion, in and of itself, the proposed charter amendment should not affect the cost of government.

The proposed amendment establishes a baseline level of funding for the transportation agency which is equal to current General Fund support and maintains the proportionate share of city resources devoted to transportation in future years. It also transfers certain duties and responsibilities from several existing departments to the newly created Municipal Transportation Agency along with the funding currently provided for these duties.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
If you vote yes, you want to create a Municipal Transportation Agency with these powers and duties.

A NO vote of this measure means:
If you vote no, you do not want to create a Municipal Transportation Agency with these powers and duties.

  Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

News and Analysis


San Francisco Chronicle
Suggest a link related to Proposition E
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Arguments For Proposition E Arguments Against Proposition E
For too many years, San Francisco's Municipal Railway has been the public service its citizens most love to hate. What should be the nation's best transit system is instead known for late trains and buses, long delays in the tunnel, frequent accidents, and dismal customer service. Lacking choices for public transit, riders vote with their feet: San Franciscans have abandoned Muni by the tens of thousands, and traffic in the City is the worst it has ever been.

Last fall's "Muni Meltdown" was the last straw. Massive delays in the subway, despite Muni's largest budget increase ever, made it clear that Muni was out of control. Without fundamental reform, Muni would be driven even further into the ground.

So, fed-up transit riders developed this plan to reform the Municipal Railway once and for all. The Board of Supervisors worked with this coalition, managers, and labor representatives, to craft a strong, comprehensive measure to make Muni accountable again.

Proposition E creates a new Transportation Agency to run the Municipal Railway free from political interference. It establishes strong, enforceable service standards for Muni operations, backing these up with required merit pay for workers and managers. It establishes a protected budget for Muni, while retaining oversight by the Board of Supervisors. And it creates a coordinated transportation system by moving the Department of Parking and Traffic into this agency in 2002.

Proposition E will make Muni much more reliable, by holding managers and workers accountable for service delivered. It will take strong steps to reduce traffic by finally making transit a real alternative to the automobile, and it will ensure that Muni is fully funded to meet the City's transit needs for years to come.

To increase ridership, decrease traffic, and ensure reliable transit service: vote Yes on Proposition E.

Board of Supervisors

Rebuttal to Arguments For
This legislation was authored by a downtown business group; rescued by a grassroots transit riders group; and watered down by Mayor Brown in backroom deals with the Transit Workers Union. Our elected officials, most of whom are dependent on union endorsements, votes, and campaign contributions, will tell you that it's the best that we can do at this time.

MUNI has always been a political football. Proposition E creates an independent transit board made up of political appointees of the Mayor. The only way riders, drivers, and taxpayers have any control over this board is through Mayor Brown. Do you think he will be responsive to your concerns in his final term?

I have been a building contractor and motorist in San Francisco for 25 years. I now ride MUNI everyday and believe that the 400,000+ daily MUNI riders will elect the next mayor. It will take only 60,000 voters to get a candidate into the runoff with Brown and 110,000 votes, December 14th to elect a new Mayor. If you are a MUNI rider or motorist, you can save yourself 4,000+ hours, waiting for a bus/train or sitting in traffic, by carefully selecting your next mayor. He will fix MUNI and reduce traffic congestion, not this legislation.

Is watered down MUNI reform better that no reform? You decide!

For a vision of a 21st century transit system, read the Elected Transit Board Charter Amendment that I authored, at http://www.SFMayor.com, or call 826-6106

Jim Reid
San Francisco's next mayor?

I support an elected transit board.

The Mayor has compromised this legislation and it will only be effective if we elect a new mayor who is dedicated to public transit and appoints transit activists to the new board. If Brown is re-elected and puts political appointees on the board, MUNI will continue to be a second-class transit system. Riders, drivers, & maintenance supervisors need to be on the board. As Mayor, I will continue to ride MUNI daily and focus attention on the problems until we solve them. Read my plan at http://www.SFMayor.com

Jim Reid
Candidate for Mayor

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Everyone can agree that Muni service reached its all time low. That is why a diverse group of interested people, including riders, managers, labor representatives, planners, and commissioners all joined forces to develop the best possible solution: Proposition E.

Proposition E will streamline government by consolidating two separate commissions involved in transportation planning -Parking and Traffic and Muni - into a single Municipal Transportation Agency. These two departments should work in a coordinated fashion: under Proposition E, they will be united under one agency. And, according to Controller Ed Harrington, the costs of City government will not be affected by this change.

The seven member Board of the Municipal Transportation Agency will not be political appointments, but must meet special qualifications: significant knowledge or experience in government, finance or labor relations; and more than half must be regular Muni riders. Ensuring dedicated funding and skilled persons to set the agency budget will result in increased accountability for the service delivered. By allowing the Board of Supervisors to maintain final say on any fare increase, we maintain the goal of encouraging ridership.

Under Proposition E, Muni will have to set high, enforceable standards for service and will finally be held accountable to its goals.

Having just hired a new manager with extensive transportation experience, Muni is moving in the right direction. Let's give Muni management the tools it needs to succeed: VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION E!

Board of Supervisors

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Created: November 18, 1999 14:59
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