Jane Kim and MUNI party in Europe, Ignore 17th St.!

Jane Kim David Chiu Haley_tbm_vip_event
Jane Kim and David Chiu at a Central Subway (read: $1.6 Billion and growing project) press event. David was on the Amsterdam bike junket in 2010 and Jane did Copenhagen in 2015. That’s Tom Nolan (SFMTA) & Norman Fong (Chinatown CDC) sitting with them.

August 1, 2016 — Update: San Francisco Ethics Commission has checked their records and it’s official, this “gift  of travel” which you are about to read about was not reported to them. Aside from the fact that that’s not cool it raises the question of how many other “gifts” went unreported by San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim. {The penalties for this alleged misdemeanor are listed below} — An official complaint was filed on Friday, August 5, 2016 with the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

Kim Sue Sallaberry etc
Can you spell “Central Subway?” — I knew you could.

Original Article: It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The national bicycling lobbying group People for Bikes started a campaign a few years back to get transportation big shots in key cities to learn about high end bike infrastructure. They called it the Green Lane Project. Helping U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. They push hard for protected bike lanes and have been very successful in many places. But San Francisco transit bosses are a different breed.

In the immortal words of California State Assembly Speaker Jesse “Big Daddy” Unrue on the subject of lobbyists: “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them you’ve got no business being up here.

And that sums up the way the SFMTA Senior Managers and Board Members and SF Board of Supervisors treat the bike lobby. They’re giving away trips to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, we’re going! This has been going on for years with virtually no local media coverage and absolutely zero benefit to the bicycling community.

Link to Los Angeles Times Editorial (8-29-2016) “Enough gifts. Public officials shouldn’t have tip jars.”

This list of San Francisco City Officials who have gone on these junkets is not complete. But consider that these elite political insiders took these week long trips in groups together. Long airplane rides (read: big carbon footprint), staying in nice hotels, and eating out in pricey restaurants getting treated as a VIP the whole time, just because they work for us. A fairly substantial expenditure of time and other peoples money spent learning about bicycling, bike paths and that sort of thing.

Jane Kim In Denmark
Supervisor Jane Kim riding in Copenhagen, Denmark where you don’t need a helmet and the bike path is super safe, unlike 17th St. where we ride at great risk.

And we still can not locate Supervisor Kim’s Reported Gifts of Travel filing for this trip. Under section 3.216(d) of the San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, form SFEC-3.216(d) must be filed by an elected officer who either:

  • accepts a gift of transportation, lodging, or subsistence for any out-of-state travel that is paid for in part by an entity other than the City and County of San Francisco, …

Not one of these San Francisco officials (elected or appointed) has had five minutes to help us in the two months that has passed since that mother and her two children were maimed by the open 4 inch MUNI track flanges in the 17th Street bike path. Jane Kim refuses to say a word despite being asked many times.

In fact SFMTA Director of Public Relations Candace Sue, who signed off on the letter saying that these tracks must stay was flown to Copenhagen last year with Supervisor Jane Kim. They spent a week together and appear to be having a great time in the pictures.

Jane Kim and Candace Sue in Copenhagen
Supervisor Jane Kim & SFMTA Communications Director Candace Sue in Denmark

That’s kind of like the referee and one of the contenders taking a private unreported vacation together before the fight. It might be okay, but it doesn’t look right. And in this case we’re not just losing a wager, its much worse than that. People are being hurt, sent to the hospital with broken bones, due to this collusion.

Here’s who we know has gone so far and a little about the role they play in the City.

Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden., May 17-22, 2015

Kim and SFMTA in Copenhagen
Supervisor Jane Kim, SFMTA PR Chief Candace Sue, Randy Neufeld from Chicago, SFMTA’s Ariel Espiritu Santo & Mike Sallaberry,  SFMTA Director Gwyneth Borden (end).

Just think about this picture and read the rule book below. How many rules appear to be broken in this picture from an unreported trip to Denmark.GiftOrBribe-YouDecide

PeopleforBikesCopenhagenGwynethBorden - 1

Gwyneth Borden, appointed to the SFMTA Board of Directors in 2014, is a long time transit rider.  Ms. Borden has served in a variety of civic roles including serving on San Francisco’s Planning Commission and as a former aide to then Supervisor Gavin Newsom.  In 2013, she served as a member of the Mayor’s 2030 Transportation Task Force and in 2003, she was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve on the Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee that authored the half-cent sales tax for transportation which today funds the city’s transportation projects.    Ms. Borden has long been active with public policy efforts at the local, state and federal level. Ms. Borden currently serves as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

ArielEspirituSanto - 2Alicia John-Baptiste - 3Jane Kim - 4Candace Sue-5

Mike Sallaberry

3 media stories from this trip: StreetsBlog-1, SteetsBlog-2, and SFBike Blog.

Copenhagen, 2012

Joél Ramos (SFMTA Director), Julie Kirschbaum (SFMTA), Seleta Reynolds (SFMTA), Jonathan Rewers (SFMTA)

Copenhagen SF Delegation 2012

GreenLane2012

Joél Ramos joined the SFMTA Board of Directors in 2011 and has been an active volunteer on the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit Community Advisory Committee since 2008.

Through his personal transit advocacy and prior professional work in community planning at TransForm, Director Ramos has been active on several other Bay Area committees that are committed to providing better pedestrian, bicycling and transit infrastructure, as well as more affordable housing through transit-oriented development.

As a pedestrian, a daily rider of Muni and a regular bicyclist, Director Ramos is committed to making San Francisco’s streets safer for everyone—in particular, seniors and pedestrians. His experience working with underrepresented and low-income communities enriches the SFMTA’s ability to meet the needs of those communities. Director Ramos graduated from San Francisco State University in 1998.

Julie Kirschbaum has worked at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) since January 2007 and manages the operations planning group and the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). The TEP is the first comprehensive review of the Muni system in a generation and aims to make transit serve more reliable, attractive and convenient. Prior to joining SFMTA she worked for partner agency, the San Francisco Transportation Authority, managing the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Study. Since entering the industry in 1996 Julie has worked on a range of transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects, including the development of a FHWA guide on how to design sidewalks and trails that meet the needs of people with disabilities. She is passionate about designing transportation systems that promote alternatives to the private automobile and are accessible to all users. Julie holds a master’s degree in city planning and a master’s of science in transportation from MIT.

Seleta Reynolds has never lived in Los Angeles. Still, on Aug. 11, 2014 she started a job that impacts each of the city’s 4 million residents: general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Reynolds, 38, had spent the last three years leading teams in the Livable Streets division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Jonathan Rewers

Good article about the 2012 trip.

Amsterdam, 2010

Ed Reiskin (SFMTA), Supervisor David Chiu, Ricardo Olea (SFMTA), Bridget Smith (SFMTA)

Traveling to the Netherlands, bicycling home by Jay Walljasper, 
originally published by Solutions 

Excerpt: In September 2010 I joined a team of latter-day explorers in the Netherlands on a quest to discover what American communities can learn from the Dutch about transforming bicycling in the United States from a largely recreational pastime to an integral part of our transportation system. Bikes Belong sponsored our trip, which included half a dozen government officials from the San Francisco Bay Area.

My fellow explorers on this journey included the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (or city council) and the city’s director of public works, chief traffic engineer, and director of the Livable Streets program.

The trip started in Utrecht, where our group marveled at the parade of bicyclists whizzing past us all over town. Next stop was the Hague, population 500,000, where bikes account for 27 percent of all trips around the city—exactly the average for the Netherlands as a whole. But not content with being merely average, the Hague is spending €10 million a year (roughly $14 million) to improve those statistics.

“There is actually a road map of do-able public policies we can adopt to get us where the Dutch are today.”—David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — Read David Chiu’s Ethic Commission Filing for the trip.

“They don’t just think about bikes, every presentation we heard tied things together—public transit, parking, cars, streets. The Dutch sense that people are going to do what’s easiest. If we think about how to improve the quality of biking, more people will bike.”—Ed Reiskin, director of public works, City of San Francisco

The San Francisco Rules of reporting gifts of traveling to elected officials.

Two individuals are described but never identified anywhere. who exactly were the chief traffic engineer, and director of the Livable Streets program taking this trip in 2010? Was it Bridget Smith who now works in Los Angeles like Seleta Reynolds? Was Bond Yee the second person unidentified? So far we just don’t know but strongly suspect and wish there was some reference to these trips in the local press explaining some of this but alas, there is none.

How much do these people earn in a year working for the County? Check here.

This is the same article but with more names, information and pictures including this remark by Bridget Smith, now with Los Angeles Department of Transportation:

The experience of biking through four Dutch cities provided our team of Bay Area transportation leaders with plenty of examples of what they can do to make cycling more safe, popular and pleasurable back home. Bridget Smith, for instance, director of San Francisco’s Livable Streets Program, is excited about using more color on the roadways as an inexpensive but dramatic way of making sure everyone can tell bike lanes from car lanes.

A Week of Biking Joyously — On a fact-finding mission to the Netherlands, a delegation of California public officials marvel at the promise of bicycles for 21st Century transportation. Jay Walljasper gives this personal account of the trip. — Planetizen, September 16, 2010, 9am PDT — This is a more complete

Talk is cheap. Flying to Europe, not so. Big carbon footprint. But to come home and do nothing for bicyclists? Reprehensible. A week to play in Europe but none of these people gives a rats behind about us on 17th Street and the spectacle of broken bones on that lousy excuse for a bike path in front of my house.

I have about a hundred follow up questions.

Here’s the section on Penalties from the SF Government Code for the ethics laws in question:

SEC. 3.242. PENALTIES AND ENFORCEMENT.

(a) Criminal Penalties. Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any of the City’s conflict of interest and governmental ethics laws shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 for each violation or by imprisonment in the County jail for a period of not more than one year in jail or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(b) Civil Penalties. Any person who intentionally or negligently violates any City conflict of interest or governmental ethics law shall be liable in a civil action brought by the City Attorney for an amount up to $5,000 for each violation.

(c) Injunctive Relief. The City Attorney or any resident may bring a civil action on behalf of the people of San Francisco to enjoin violations of or compel compliance with a conflict of interest or governmental ethics law. No resident may commence a civil action under this Section without first notifying the City Attorney in writing of the intent to file a civil action under this Section. If the City Attorney fails to notify the resident within 120 days of receipt of the notice that the City Attorney has filed or will file a civil action, the complainant may file the action. No resident may file an action under this Section if the City Attorney responds within 120 days that the City Attorney intends to file an action or has already filed a civil action. No resident may bring an action under this Section if the Ethics Commission has issued a finding of probable cause arising out of the same facts, the District Attorney has commenced a criminal action arising out of the same facts, or another resident has filed a civil action underthis Section arising out of the same facts. A court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to any resident who obtains injunctive relief under this Section.

(d) Administrative Penalties. Any person who violates any of the City’s conflict of interest or governmental ethics laws shall be liable in an administrative proceeding before the Ethics Commission held pursuant to the Charter. In addition to the administrative penalties set forth in the Charter, the Ethics Commission may issue warning letters to City officers and employees.

(e) Statute of Limitations. No person may bring a criminal, civil or administrative action under this Section against any other person more than four years after the date of the alleged violation.
(Added by Proposition E, 11/4/2003)

For those wondering what SFMTA is, good question:

Creation
The San Francisco Charter, amended through Propositions E and A which were approved by the voters in 1999 and 2007 respectively, established the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) as a separate agency of the City and County of San Francisco. The Municipal Railway, Parking and Traffic, Parking Authority, and Taxi Service make up the SFMTA. The Charter stated goals for the SFMTA is to “manage San Francisco’s transportation system – which includes automobile, freight, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks” to help the City achieve “an effective, efficient, and safe transportation system…” to support “its goals for quality of life, environmental sustainability, public health, social justice, and economic growth”.
Specifically, the Charter provides SFMTA with a level of governance; financial, operating and administrative independence; and authority to manage its employees and to establish efficient and economical work rules and work practices to maximize responsiveness to public needs.
Governance
SFMTA is governed by a board of 7 directors who may serve 2 year terms and who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed after public hearing by the Board of Supervisors. At least four of the directors must be regular riders of public transit and must continue to be regular riders during their terms. The directors must possess significant knowledge
of or professional experience in, one or more of the fields of government, finance, or labor relations. At least two of the directors must possess significant knowledge of, or professional experience in, the field of public transportation. During their terms, all directors are required to ride the system on the average once a week.

 

–John Entwistle

Click here to see the video that started it all from May 19th, 2016. — Mom & 2 kids down on 17th Street.

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