Free Muni: The Stupid Idea That Just Keeps Giving

It seems the activist group POWER has done us all a favor. In holding a demonstration demanding Muni be made free, fiscal reality be damned, they've permanently answered the question, “should I pay attention to anything POWER ever does?”

By all means, Muni's fare recovery is poor — hovering around 25 percent. That is, Muni only earns back a quarter of its budget via fares. Still, you're talking about a quarter of a budget approaching $800 million. In technical terms, this is a metric shitload of money. Caterwauling about making Muni free without addressing this disparity is the sort of thing that, in an ideal world, should result in people being mandated to do pushups in public.

So, yes, POWER's latest creative call for defunding Muni is an example of foolish policy promulgated by fools (and is especially vexing when you consider POWER was at the forefront of the successful move to curtail Muni's beefed-up fare inspection program). But behind nearly every group of city lunatics is an enabling politician.

In this case: Gavin Newsom.

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