¡Arriba! Class Warfare Erupts During Muni Hearing.

UPDATE, 4:22 p.m. — The San Francisco Business Times reports that the MTA board has voted not to enact rate hikes for elders, young people, and the disabled (yet), but will cut service citywide by 10 percent to alleviate its budget woes. It'll be interesting to see how the Transit Workers Union reacts, since the MTA may now be expecting labor to approve concessions that would also help balance the budget. (See below.)  

12:12 p.m. — The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board is facing some tough decisions. Confronted with a $17 million budget deficit and hamstrung by an army of pampered transit operators represented by a stubborn union, the MTA is looking at a rate hike targeted at those who need public transportation most — elders, the disabled, and young people. (We've also heard rumors that fees could rise for puppies, the Dalai Lama, and extremely cute, helpless bunny rabbits.)

The board convened for a public hearing on this deeply unpopular proposal this morning; as we write, the contentious gathering is still going full-steam. This being San Francisco, however, many of the firebrand orators who took to the podium during the public comment period digressed from the bureaucratic nightmare at hand to other issues. Like bank and insurer bailouts. Or Barack Obama. Or the plight of Afghan transit workers.

We're not kidding. As fliers circulated in the crowd with such labor slogans as “¡Mochen desde arriba!” (Chop from the top) and “¡Cobren a los ricos!” (Tax the rich), the rafters echoed with leftist outrage against the MTA Board — and not just against the Muni operators' union, which so far has taken plenty of lumps for its members' intransigence.

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