“Free Muni” Is Never Free

Things have gotten desperate enough for Muni that it's time for allusions to A Streetcar Named Desire. Imagine Muni is Blanche DuBois — a woman/transit agency in need of a protector.

She's not getting one in Stanley Kowalski (Gavin Newsom). In the play, Kowalski marginalizes and sexually assaults DuBois. In San Francisco, Newsom siphoned funds away from Muni to pay his green advisers' lucrative salaries, and allowed other city departments to pillage the transit agency, using Muni as a city slush fund. Newsom is gone, but this is still happening.

Blanche was also done wrong by seemingly nice guy Harold “Mitch” Mitchell, who tried to lay hands on her — because that's all he thought she was good for. Mitch is played in San Francisco by city progressives — who can't think of anything to do for Muni other than make it put out for free.

This latest attempt to make Muni do more with less hit a bump in the road yesterday, when transit officials said it would cost twice as much as the Board of Supervisors claims it would to allow all children to ride the bus for free. If so, this is deeply frustrating — for the rationale behind the huge cost increase was the same one that derailed Newsom's harebrained scheme to make Muni free for all.

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