In San Francisco, the reward for failure is often a promotion.
Holding someone accountable for their shortcomings would require a comeuppance for whomever put that person in a position of responsibility -- and onward up the chain.
Our city doesn't have a monopoly on this. But we have raised it to an art form. To paraphrase the old Palmolive commercials, enjoy it San Francisco -- you're soaking in it.
So, it ought to come as little surprise that, days after SF Weekly broke the story that Muni's brand-new $700,000-a-pop hybrid buses are failing, in bunches, en route from Minnesota, the Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the purchase of 50 more.
This is a similar bus to the one that left Mayor Ed Lee high and dry when it failed to start for a ceremonial 2.5-mile trip from the waterfront to City Hall. Muni boasts that the costly new vehicles are among the cleanest available. That's so -- but there's also no bus cleaner than the bus you don't ever drive.
See Also: Muni Buses Failing En Route from Factory
To be fair, these are exceptionally neat buses. Before the spate of five failures in one week's time, more than 50 arrived safely in San Francisco. They're gorgeous, equipped with enviable environmental and safety doo-dads, and the supes will, no doubt, lobby hard to ensure they roll through routes in their districts.
They still have that new-bus smell. It remains to be seen if the de rigueur Muni odor of Old Spice accented with urine will ever penetrate their shiny interiors. Time will tell.
As we noted last week, Neal Popp, Muni's chief mechanical officer, was dispatched to the New Flyer plant in St. Cloud, Minn. following the bevy of breakdowns (though Muni claims the timing was incidental).
Hopefully he saw something. Perhaps New Flyer had the break down/don't break down switch toggled to the former.
In any event, they are amazing buses -- whether or not they're hooked to a tow truck or motoring under their own power. And now they're ours.