Charter amendment seeks Muni changes 

A bid to overhaul Muni was among the items for the November ballot that were proposed Tuesday.

There were eight charter amendments — including several that would take away power from the mayor — that were put forward by the deadline for the fall election.

The Muni item would ask voters whether to set aside tens of millions of property tax dollars annually for the transit system, lower the threshold for the Board of Supervisors to reject the agency’s budget from seven votes to six, and eliminate the mayor’s power to appoint all seven members of the board of directors, which oversees Muni, among other changes.

It’s the latest effort to improve the cash-strapped San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, and impose changes to try to turn around its operations. The agency has come under sharp criticism recently as it has increased the cost of riding the system while cutting service by 10 percent May 8. City-commissioned reports have said management of the system and its spending needs improvements. One audit cited overtime spending, especially due to union work rules, as a key financial issue facing the transit agency.

Supervisor David Campos, who introduced the charter amendment with the support of three colleagues, said the measure “takes a comprehensive approach at the issue of transforming our public transportation agency.”

The measure was one of eight introduced Tuesday. A Recreation and Park Department and a Rent Board measure shared in common the taking away of the mayor’s ability to appoint all members on the governing board by splitting up the appointments with the Board of Supervisors. The mayor would appoint three, the board three and another jointly.

The charter amendments that would change the appointing power of the mayor were blasted by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“These are all just naked power grabs to dilute the power of the mayor,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said. “It would shred the City Charter and its historic balance of power.”

It would take six votes by the board to place a charter amendment on the ballot.

Items for the ballot

Tuesday was the deadline for the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot. It takes six votes by the board for a charter amendment to make it onto the ballot.

Issue: Noncitizen voting in school board elections

What it would do: Permit those 18 years or older with children in the San Francisco Unified School District to vote in Board of Education elections regardless of whether the person is a U.S. citizen.

Proposed by: Board of Supervisors President David Chiu

Issue: Public education enrichment fund

What it would do: Extend until fiscal year 2015-16 The City’s requirement to provide money annually to the San Francisco Unified School District.

Proposed by: Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier

Issue: Establishing an Equal Access Commission and Office on Equal Access

What it would do: The commission would have authority over all city functions and programs that ensure equal access for people with disabilities.

Proposed by: Alioto-Pier

Issue: Question time with mayor

What it would do: Require the mayor to appear personally at one regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors each month to engage in formal policy discussions with members of the board.

Proposed by: Supervisor Chris Daly

Issue: San Francisco affordable housing

What it would do: Require The City to put a certain amount of money — 33 percent of any available general-fund surplus — into a fund to pay for affordable housing.

Proposed by: Daly

Issue: Rent Board

What it would do: The current Rent Board has five members appointed by the mayor. Would increase the board to seven members and the Board of Supervisors would appoint three, the mayor three and one jointly.

Proposed by: Supervisor David Campos

Issue: Muni overhaul

What it would do: Includes a number of provisions changing governance and work-related rules, including splitting up the power to appoint the SFMTA board of directors. Instead of all seven appointed by the mayor, three would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors, three by the mayor and one jointly. It would ensure Muni receives property tax dollars, estimated at $40 million annually.

Proposed by: Campos

Issue: Recreation and Park Commission

What it would do: Currently, the mayor appoints all seven commissioners. It would change the appointment power so the Board of Supervisors would appoint three, the mayor three and one jointly. It would authorize the Board of Appeals to hear appeals of decisions regarding special-event permits or special-event licenses made by the Recreation and Park Department or the commission.

Proposed by: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

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