And, like most Muni decisions, the driving forces are money and politics.
Objections to the mayor’s proposed rollback are coming from two fronts.
First up, Muni number crunchers, who have been banking on the more than $ 9 million a year that Sunday meters – and Sunday parking tickets – bring in.
There are also objections from neighborhood merchants who fear they’ll lose business if people squat all day long in parking spaces outside their stores.
“There has been a lot of back and forth on the issue,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the transportation agency board.
One idea is to have a “phased” rollback that would keep paid Sunday parking in some shopping areas such as Clement Street or the Castro.
The mayor, however, has his reasons for wanting a full rollback – not the least of which is making voters happy so they will approve the $ 500 million transportation bond on the November ballot.
As all this is going on, there’s talk – much of it from Supervisor David Campos, an Assembly candidate – of expanding free Muni rides for youths to everyone under 18, low-income or not, and letting seniors and disabled people ride free as well.
Cost: about $ 10 million a year.
How to pay for all of this?
One idea is to raise the fare on the historic F-line streetcar that runs from the Castro to Fisherman’s Wharf from the current $ 2 to $ 6, putting it on par with the cable cars and bringing in $ 4.6 million a year.
It has some of the appeal of the high cable-car fares – soak the out-of-towners – except that lots of locals ride the F. Many of them live in Supervisor Scott Wiener‘s district, which includes the Castro.
“For a lot of us in the Castro, it’s a lifeline for when the underground goes out of service,” said Wiener, who opposes the increase.
And, thanks to a lack of maintenance money, those old Muni Metro cars continue to break down pretty regularly.
Judge Roy: The race between former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi and Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski for the 10th State Senate District is getting more interesting by the day.
Hayashi is attempting a comeback after being termed out of office in 2012, the same year she was convicted of shoplifting at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.
Despite that conviction, the Castro Valley Democrat is a serious contender for the East Bay seat being vacated by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro. That’s thanks to Hayashi’s $ 734,000 campaign fund, built largely on money from professional trade organizations and other interests that do business with the Legislature.
Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is no slouch either. He has the backing of the Service Employees International Union, and won plenty of friends in labor when he showed up at BART board member Tom Blalock‘s front door to push for a settlement of one of last year’s strikes.
And now comes Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto. A couple of months ago, Hashimoto switched his party registration from Republican to Democrat, and he has taken out papers for a possible run for the seat.
Hashimoto just happens to serve at the Hayward courthouse alongside fellow Judge Dennis Hayashi – Mary Hayashi’s husband. He was elected to the bench in 2008 with the help of more than $ 202,000 from his wife’s political coffers.
Hashimoto, who under state law is allowed to take a leave from his judge’s job to run for another office, declined to comment – at least, he said, until he’s not actively hearing cases.
It also shows that Schaaf’s fellow council member, Rebecca Kaplan, would have a harder time winning than earlier polls have indicated should she decide to get into the race.
The poll by EMC Research had Quan the first choice of only about 10 percent of the 595 voters surveyed in the first week of February.
Kaplan comes out on top in a theoretical first round of voting, with 18 percent, the poll said – but she’s only two points ahead of Schaaf.
Joe Tuman, a San Francisco State University political communications professor who is making his second run for mayor, came in with 8 percent. Civil rights attorney and former Quan adviser Dan Siegel got 6 percent, and Port Commissioner Bryan Parker had 4 percent.
The biggest bloc, however, is the 41 percent who are still undecided – which means it is very much an open race.
For her part, Quan noted that an earlier poll by David Binder Research had her in first place.
“So I hope you include that in the item as well,” Quan said.