My letter to Mayor Newsom:
ATTENTION MAYOR NEWSOM: THE MUNI IS BROKEN! PLEASE FIX IT NOW…it's your job.
I can handle waiti ng half an hour for an N to show up at Carl and Cole during morning rush hour to take me down town. It sucks but it happens so frequently I’m used to it. I can deal with the cattle-car conditions on the N itself—hundreds people packed in like doomed galley slaves. I can withstand the constant barrage of delays in the tunnel. I’ve even grown accustomed to the terrible customer service: the surly, mean, dismissive attitude shared by most Muni drivers. These drivers routinely display the stereotypical worst behavior of the protected civil servant whom only a gun rampage can get fired for cause.
With the new T-line, all of this has gotten immeasurably worse, but I have been riding the Muni for a few years now and I’m used to all these annoyances. What I cannot handle, what no citizen of our great city should EVER have to handle, is riding on the Muni during the hottest week of the year, when half the Muni cars on the N have the heater on. On the way home last night and again tonight, I was stuck on standing-room only, outbound-N with the heater running full bore.
As a Jew, I paniced momentarily, recalling that our Govenor was raised by an SS man.
WHY in the NAME OF GOD are the heaters going in these cars? It must have been a hundred degrees! People were already squished together, sweating and stressed and upset while old people stripped and fanned themselves, just an inch from fainting dead away, and the HEATER was BLASTING from the ceiling like a infernal kiln. What circle of Hell, I wondered, had I been banished to at last?
Mayor Newsom, hard working San Franciscans should not be treated like this. We SHOULD NOT be subject to such dangerous conditions on a daily basis, as we commute to and from our jobs where we earn the money that pays you and the City Council and subsidizes the Muni. These conditions are unacceptable. I can guarantee that the first person to hit the deck from heat exhaustion will cost the city plenty. I will certainly voulanteer to testify in their suit. Does your budget have a surplus for the possible law suits that await?
I ride the Muni by choice: to help the environment, to save on parking, to avoid traffic. All the typical San Francican tree-hugger virtues. Yet I am being punished for my choice. I feel punished because the conditions on the Muni feel, in every way, like punishment. A kind of daily purgatory. Are you aware that the new Pope abolished purgatory? Are not steamrooms still banned in San Francisco?
I don’t care what you have to do to fix this, just fix it. FIRE who you need to fire. Retire deadwood supervisors. Raise taxes to pay for maintenance people to fix the cars. RAISE THE FARE TO $2.00! Start a guest worker program for foreign cable car repairmen. I would happily pay more to have a nice commute to work. Hell, I think I *deserve* a TOLERABLE commute! I'm certainly willing to pay for it!
PLEASE HELP US! I voted for you. I even worked on your campaign. Please do not let me down. I appreciate many of the progressive choices you've made during your term to make San Francisco a beacon of hope for many. However, if you can't maintain the transportation infrastructure that you are responsible for, do not expect my support come reelection time. You are leading a city, not a morning talk show. Great hair and good looks will take you only so far in politics. Please act like my mayor and fix the damn MUNI.