Yesterday we pondered departing Muni CEO Nat Ford's legacy. It's hard to assess. In a way, under Ford, Muni is a bit like a meal at McDonald's — you always get what you expected to get, and you're never all that thrilled with it.
There is a case to be made, however, that Ford is doing Muni a great service by leaving — specifically by leaving now.
This may come as a surprise to anyone who's seen how things work here in the big city over the past six-odd years, but Muni's CEO doesn't work for the mayor. He works for the Municipal Transportation Agency board. That the MTA board will do whatever the mayor commands it to do is a truism akin to “drinking battery acid is bad for you.”
That being said, San Francisco is ostensibly being run by an unelected bureaucrat who doesn't have designs on making political points. So this may be the only time in the foreseeable future that the MTA board can make a truly independent decision on who should next run the agency without the mayor leaning on it to do his bidding.