After Mayor Gavin Newsom threw his support behind a charter amendment to overhaul Muni on Monday, a different version of the bill submitted to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday included a major change that would negate a controversial bid backed by businesses for more parking spaces in The City.
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin spent weeks collaborating with the Mayor’s Office in labor union negotiations to win the union’s support of the charter amendment he has introduced for the November ballot.
On Monday, Newsom, who is running for re-election in November, held a press conference with Peskin and labor unions to announce that an agreement was reached and handed out copies of the proposed charter amendment to overhaul Muni, without the parking provision.
“It is my belief that this [parking] provision is the only provision that was not presented at the press conference yesterday, but is a provision that I made abundantly clear to those that have participated in the discussions and negotiations would be included in the final version before this board,” Peskin said.
As the Board of Supervisors discussed adopting the changes to the charter amendment Tuesday, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier raised questions about why the version handed out during the Newsom press conference on Monday was not the same version the board was voting on.
The version before the board Tuesday included a provision that would not allow parking to be built that exceeds current parking restrictions without approval by at least nine votes of the 11 member Board of Supervisors. The provision also says that a vote by at least six members of the board could reduce those parking allowances.
The provision would negate the so-called Parking for Neighborhoods Initiative, which has made it on to the November ballot. Sponsored by San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations, the measurewould allow for significant parking increases in the downtown area.
“I am just curious, if they knew then why wasn’t it there when the press conference was held and when this document was disseminated?” said Alioto-Pier, who supports increased parking in The City.
Peskin responded, “I believe it was the desire of the chief executive of San Francisco [Newsom] that that be not included yesterday and that it would be up to this board to consider today and indeed that question is now before this body.”
Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said the version of the Muni charter amendment Newsom supported “did not include new or increased restrictions on parking” Ballard said the parking provision was discussed and Peskin and Newsom “agreed to disagree on the appropriateness of that restriction.”
Changes to the charter amendment were adopted Tuesday in a 7-4 vote, and in a separate vote of 8-3, the parking provision was included. The board will vote Tuesday on whether to put it on the November ballot, which requires the vote of at least six board members.