SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (11/01/11)
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) was created in 1989, is State sponsored and responsible for long range transportation planning for the City and County of San Francisco. It does a poor job.
The SFCTA analyzes, designs and fund improvements for San Francisco and public transportation networks. The Authority gets its funding from Proposition K the half-cent local transportation sales tax - prior to that Proposition B sales taxes. Now and past years it has wasted thousands if not millions.
The SF County Transportation Authority is responsible for Congestion Management and has done a lousy job. It also acts as the Program Manager for grants from the Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA). Evaluate its performance and you will see blatant - flaws.
Its director Jose Luis Moscovich for the last five years especially has done a drab and shallow job of the agency that continues to waste millions of dollars. Within the agency it prides itself hiring most of the workers who are White and the agency is rife with discrimination.
The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to the SFCTA rubber stamps most of the agenda items at its CAC meetings. Again and again its reports at the SFCTA committee meetings at City Hall in Room 263 are shallow and to not reveal a robust, active, discerning, accountable, transparent, thinking - Citizens Advisory Committee.
A general review of the turn over within the agency gives one a good idea about the general state of affairs linked to its internal work environment. If this issue is brought up the director of SFCTA; Jose Luis Moscovich is quick to get defensive and has went so far as to state that since he was queer, Jewish, Latino he knows exactly what discrimination means. Now, this is San Francisco where practically every Department Head is Jewish and that is an abundant of queer representation. I thought at that time the remark was pathetic - but let it slide.
The very poor leadership within the SF County Transportation Authority consists of pandering and that was evident with the building of the Third Street Light rail. With, Business Development Incorporation (BDI); and other minions, are doling out thousands to sell outs that did nothing but waste tax payers' money. If need be we can name them - most of them are alive and kicking.
All along the route from 4th and King to Visitation Valley; linked to the Third Street Light Rail - many hot spots containing higher levels of Asbestos, Lead, and other dangerous elements known to the Project Manager at the track site were not removed and transported off site. The dangerous, toxic material was buried below the tracks and covered with concrete.
The concrete poured was inferior, did not meet standards, and the shoddy work along the Third Street Light rail shows even today. From the markers along the track that are peeling off, to the cracks in the concrete on the floor of the hubs, to the seats that were first installed, only to be removed and inferior ones installed. To the roofs of the hubs that are supposed to shelter but adversely impact the riders and do not shelter them from the elements.
Again and again I encounter astute people many visitors who point this out to me. I take public transportation all the time. Add to the unkempt garbage cans, many of the lids missing, graffiti all over the place, health and safety issues are not thought out, and the entire Third Street Light Rail - line is a mess.
SFCTA is supposed to work with Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) the entity that operates our Municipal buses (MUNI), our Light Rail System. These two agencies are supposed to work together but are diabolic went it comes to standards and more when it comes to squandering tax payers' money in the millions. MUNI is famous for wasting millions on Over Time.
From the sales of Proposition B - monies were set aside to repair the roads and to take care of the pot holes. Money was funneled to plant trees and once the trees were planted - little maintenance was done. The sad state of affairs linked to our present state of our roads; in some measure, stems from this practice. Today, we have an over $400 million back log linked to repairing our roads. If only we had worked on the roads when the State appropriated the tax money; the SFCTA is also responsible in some measure of this ongoing mess.
The SFCTA proudly gave millions of dollars to build three conduits under Islais Creek off Third Street and by Marin Street. No soil testing and assessment was done. The three conduits were burrowed under the Force Main that carries eighty percent of the City's secondary effluents. That is treated raw sewage.
The three conduits were being built to carry high powered electrical lines to power MUNI Light Rail operations. A hearing is called for on this matter. With intent it has been shoved under the dirty mat. This debacle cost the City and County of San Francisco millions. Also involved the SFPUC, MUNI, SFCTA, the SF Port Authority, and others.
The Force Main was compromised and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Public Works, the San Francisco Port Authority, the SFCTA and MTA were all partners in this debacle. It cost millions to fix the problems but the three conduits were buried - WHITE ELEPHANTS underground that have NOT seen the light of day.
I brought this matter to the Controller's Office and have NOT heard from them. If you Google about this matter you will see correspondence and other pertinent information bearing my name - Francisco Da Costa, Director Environmental Justice Advocacy.
Nearby on Marin street; spanning Islais Creek an Inter-Modal Bridge, that can propped up to offer safe passage under it, and costing over $30 million was built again to facilitate bike riding and offer safe passage to the many vehicles that deal with concrete, aggregate, recycling, movement of toxic material, industrial goods, and so on.
When the brand new bridge spanning over Islais Creek was built it was found to be narrow. Now, two vehicles have a few feet of space, between them; and must first lower their speed, and secondly careful navigate their passage across the bridge. I have made note of these and other serious issues coming under the jurisdiction of the SF County Transportation Authority and it relates agencies - one worse than the other. Not to mention Sophie Maxwell the former District 10 Supervisor who was complicit in many of these shenanigans.
There was the Muwekma Park and Sanctuary had been created by those living near Marin Street much before the new bridge was built. Much before the diabolic conduits was planned. When the Force Main was compromised and millions of secondary effluents spilled on land - the entire Muwekma Park and Sanctuary were destroyed. Not a word from SFCTA,SF Port Authority, MTA, SFPUC, DPW, the Controller Office that settled this case, the City Attorney that knows too much about this incident, and the Mayors of San Francisco that cannot be trusted.
A little further the MUNI, Maintenance Facility is still undergoing tweaking and has cost tax payers' millions of dollars. The building was halted three times and after umpteen amendments and change orders the building was complete. Millions of dollars over budget and no one in their right mind has audited this building and its many faults - that still stare and glare into our faces.
Bothe MUNI and the SFCTA share a common DNA both of them are dysfunctional and corrupt. Lack accountability and less transparency.
Watch the MTA meetings and then watch the SFCTA meetings. You will witness a lot of hot air and very little action. Millions of dollars wasted and very little leadership. On the SFCTA side Jose Luis Moscovich has been there for too long and the time has come to ask this man to move on. May be he can find some solace whistling to the birds and conducting some classical music that a little bird says he is somewhat accomplished with. Time will tell.
The above is just the tip of the ice to the pandemonium that will ensue with the building of the Central Subway which started with the First Phase and about 900 million for its construction and insurance and has now climbed to over $1.6 billion with even more hurdles and headaches.
As with the debacle linked to the Third Street Light rail - MUNI, SFCTA, and the other dubious entities backing the Central Subway project - no one in the majority is analyzing the Engineering difficulties, no one really paying attention to our Seniors and the length they will have to walk from the Light Rail hubs to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) hubs. This Central Subway will be built and then they will say, even though - we are putting it in writing: "You did not bring it to our attention". Mind what I am putting in writing.
Crooks and corrupt folks that make millions are behind these projects and they have blood on their hands. In this dire economic times; these entities are stealing and robbing tax payers' in broad daylight and the time to protest and reveal the devious intentions of these corrupt people is now. Most of them must be sent packing. Outside companies mostly PRIME CONTRACTORS come, make deals, do not hire lock workers, laugh at our faces, and go laughing all the way to the banks to collect their nefarious benefits. Turn around, and laugh at the City and County of San Francisco, the SFCTA, MTA, and other cities enterprise departments that cannot be audited immediately. These corrupt practices cry to heaven for justice.
The advocates and few astute City Officials and constituents speak up - and when they do they endure abuse and the wrath of the corrupt; waiting on the sidelines to rake in the illegal - millions. I know all of them and have a rap sheet on them - going back to ten years and more.
For more information check the SFCTA website. Find out if you can email the corrupt directly: