Mayor Gavin Newsom and wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom (left) at a ceremony Monday honoring teachers. Newsom spoke to reporters about the MTA budget after the event.
On the eve of a possible rejection of the MTA's budget by the Board of Supervisors over widely unpopular fare hikes and service cuts, Mayor Gavin Newsom told reporters at City Hall that he is not playing a game of chicken
, and hopes supervisors do not "make the mistake" of approving the motion by BOS Prez David Chiu.
"It will be devastating to the impact of our general fund money," said Newsom, who has been accused by some advocates of using scare tactics in the debate over the MTA budget. "They haven’t even seen the total budget yet they increase the total budget deficit by 30 million dollars and I don’t think that’s going to help anyone." (Hear raw audio of his remarks to reporters below).
Sources involved in the negotiations, however, say the MTA has not made
any changes to the budget since last week's Budget and Finance Committee meeting, which means the Board of Supes will today consider
approving Chiu's motion to reject the $778 million spending plan as it was presented. Chiu had hoped the MTA would "sharpen its pencils" and come back with a better budget.
"There is a voter mandate and moral covenant to the voters that we are
committed to a 21st century transit and transportation system and we're
not prepared to abrogate that," said David Noyola, an aide to Chiu.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty will not vote for the
motion, a reversal of his earlier vote on the budget committee, leaving Supervisor Sophie Maxwell as the swing. Contacted by
Streetsblog San Francisco late last night, Maxwell said she will
"possibly" be voting to reject the budget, but is still considering it.
Chronicle reporter Rachel Gordon wrote
that the Mayor's office would likely put "the full court press"
on Maxwell, who had been listed as a co-sponsor.
Dufty has also been feeling heat from the Mayor's office and said in a brief interview this morning that he feels the motion "is going to create more discord in a very, very difficult year." He said he's confident MTA Chief Nat Ford will be able to make some enhancements within the 5 percent of the budget he has discretion over.
"I think that while the dollar amounts aren't large the issues are significant. Whether it's the Lifeline pass, whether it's rolling back the youth and senior fares, whether it's trying to provide some enhancements to the TEP or getting a little more angle on the work orders. There's some good things to be done, but right now I feel this resolution is really unfortunately going to upend us moving forward with the budget."
The five expected to vote in favor of the motion with Chiu are Supervisors David Campos, Ross Mirkarimi, John Avalos, Eric Mar and Chris Daly. A total of seven votes are needed. Read more...