Fiona Hinze (Courtesy Fiona Hinze)

Advocate for people with disabilities nominated to SFMTA Board

Mayor Breed says Fiona Hinze brings ‘important perspective’ to agency leadership

Mayor London Breed nominated Fiona Hinze, a longtime champion for people living with disabilities, to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors Thursday.

Born and raised in the Outer Richmond, Hinze has made a career out of serving The City she calls home.

She currently works as the Systems Change Director for Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, where she tracks state and local advocacy efforts and helps engage locals with disabilities on their rights and the issues that impact them most.

Hinze is also co-chair of the Dignity Fund Coalition and has served on a number of boards and task forces including the Paratransit Coordinating Council, the Senior Disability Working Group of the Vision Zero Coalition, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and the California State Independent Living Council, which she was appointed to in 2014 by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 2014.

“Fiona is a respected and trusted community member, and knows how to listen to the needs of people living with disabilities and advocate for change,” Breed said in a statement. “She will bring an important perspective to the SFMTA Board and I’m confident she’ll prioritize equity and work to create a more accessible transit system for the people of San Francisco.”

These efforts are not just political for Hinze, they impact her daily life.

Hinze lives with cerebral palsy, and she navigates San Francisco streets, public transit and sidewalks from the seat of her power chair.

“I am honored to be nominated to serve on the SFMTA Board,” Hinze said in a statement. “I will bring my expertise in accessible transit to ensure that San Francisco’s transit system is equitable and accessible for all San Franciscans, including seniors and people with disabilities.”

After the Board of Supervisors voted against the re-nomination of former board member and disability advocate Cristina Rubke in May, SFMTA’s governing body was left without a voice to represent the experience of public transit for those with limited mobility.

Nearly six months later, Hinze’s successful confirmation would fill that void.

“It is important we have a member of the SFMTA Board who understands the needs of our disability community and the challenges they face getting around our City, whether that’s riding Muni or navigating our streets and sidewalks,” Breed said in a statement.

Hinze’s nomination will first be heard by the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee. If recommended for approval, she’ll then go in front of the full board, which has a turbulent recent track record when it comes to Breed’s SFMTA nominees.

Not only did the Board block Rubke’s re-nomination, it also blocked Jane Natoli, a housing activist and former board member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, in August, nearly four months after she was tapped by the mayor as nominee.

During that same August meeting, the board unanimously approved Sharon Lai, a city planner and development director with a strong eye toward equity. If approved, Hinze would join Lai as the second SFMTA board member of Chinese descent.

Breed also nominated Manny Yekutiel in September. His nomination has yet to be heard by the Rules Committee.

If both Yekutiel and Hinze are confirmed, the SFMTA Board will have its full roster of seven members for the first time since May.

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