Muni’s spending has gone out of control

? Muni for today, Muni for tomorrow,” Opinion, Thursday

Muni’s spending has gone out of control

In Thursday’s opinion piece, Muni Transportation Director Ed Reiskin complains how Muni will be $510 million in the red each year for the next 20 years just to maintain its current operations. He calls Muni crowded, late and dirty. He is a master of understatement.

He doesn’t include the $1.6 billion cost of Muni’s “tunnel to nowhere,” the Central Subway.  Muni has no problem spending about $70 million to drill a hole to North Beach, practically right through the heart of Telegraph Hill. This mad plan is needed to extract a piece of equipment, the tunnel-boring machine, that most transit agencies around the world just leave underground, but which Muni, in its penny-wise, pound-foolish thriftiness, chose to lease for $10M, even though the machine only costs $10M to purchase.

Where Reiskin comes from — Washington, D.C.’s K Street — this kind of money is spilled every morning over coffee and biscuits. It is an exclusive club for the rich, but we are the ones paying the fare. Tax-paying riders of Muni may look dumb with our faces squished against bus windows, but we are not stupid. There is no shortage of money at Muni. There is a shortage of oversight of how Muni wastes or invests money.  

It is time for the Board of Supervisors to create a Muni oversight board to advise the supervisors on more responsible allocation of Muni funds, management oversight and policy direction. Muni is careening out of control and is going to crash.

Paul Page
San Francisco

? Judge strikes down portions of voter-approved S.F. transit labor bargaining measure,” Local News, Friday

Unions are too powerful

This story is a sad but predicable example of how dysfunctional government in California has become. An unelected board just told 65 percent of San Francisco voters to drop dead. As a result of this ruling on Proposition G, Muni will continue to spiral downward, becoming more unreliable and more crowded. It will become a third-rate transit service while the Transport Workers Union continues to thumb its nose at Muni riders and city taxpayers and continuing to benefit from union sweetheart deals that are an insult to riders and taxpayers alike.

This will only end when the voters in this state wise up and stop electing politicians who kowtow to public employee union bullies who view the public as there to serve them instead of the other way around.

E.F. Sullivan
San Francisco

? Herrera investigating extent of ‘patient dumping’ from Nevada,” Local News, Thursday

Patients deserve support

It is appalling to hear that a health care facility dumps its psychiatric patients on its neighbors’ doorsteps, further marginalizing an already ostracized segment of our population.

Yes, this matter merits an investigation, but the conversation we need to focus on is the larger systemic issue affecting our health care system, in particular mental health services. While state and city officials dwell on institutional policies and restitution, what seems to be missing from these discussions is patients’ mental health and well-being.   

Having recently finished my psychiatric rotation as a student nurse, I have witnessed firsthand the strained system in which mental health care providers have to work.  There are very few community resources that support mental health patients upon discharge, contributing to the relapse of acute psychiatric symptoms. Until we are willing to support policies or invest in community resources that support and enhance the mental health of patients, they will continue to be swept under the rug.

Celina Trujillo
San Francisco

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