Friday, October 28, 2005

The Union Is At It Again 


ARTICLE IX, UNION STEWARDS, Section 5. "...For the performance of their duties, the Stewards shall pay ½ of their Union Dues..."

ARTICLE X, THE EXECUTIVE BOARD, Section 8. "...For their faithful performance of their duties, Executive Board Officers shall pay ½ of their Union Dues..."

Section 6. "...In addition to the monthly dues, there shall be a five-dollar ($5) General Fund Assessment to pay for Arbitration expenses, mandatory audit expenses, and general office expenses..."

Section 10. "...Any member out of work on Industrial Injury, sickness, or pregnancy, for more than thirty (30) days shall then be required to pay only per capita tax ½ of their Union Dues and the General Fund Assessment..."

ARTICLE XXI, SAFETY AND HEALTH COMMITTEE, Section 8. "...For the faithful performance of their duties, Committee members shall pay ½ of their Union Dues..."
They want to lessen their financial burden and unload it on the rest of us.

They tried this earlier this year and failed to pass it. This "new" proposal is virtually identical to the previous one. Notice what it says at the beginning of the proposal:
In accordance with Article XXIII of the Local By-Laws, the following five (5) amendments to our Local By-Laws have been reviewed and approved the Local’s Executive Board during the September 27, 2005 Executive Board Session, and shall be read at the October 19, 2005 and November 16, 2005 Membership Meetings, followed by a vote of the Membership at the November 16, 2005 Membership Meeting. It shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all members present to adopt such changes or amendments.
They figure if they keep trying, that eventually there will be few enough opposing members present and it will pass.

When was the last time they made themselves available in a meaningful way to the membership? Do they deserve a break on their dues? Send them a loud and clear message...NO!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

VTA Must Compromise, Mr. Burns 

MercuryNews.com | 10/25/2005 | Making headway on transit tax:
Ultimately, the final scenario that is adopted by the VTA Board will require compromise from all areas of the county.

I am committed to work with all of our local and county representatives to create an expenditure plan that has broad-based support and meets the county's transportation challenges.

Michael Burns, general manager, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Mr. Burns, in 2000 the voters of this county decided they wanted a nice compromise package that promised to pay for Caltrain electrification, extension of light rail to the airport, and other highway improvements. Since then this agency has unilaterally narrowed its focus to building the BART extension to the exclusion of other projects. This showed a total disregard for Santa Clara County's true transportation challenges.

Now you are telling those same voters that they need to compromise by approving another transit tax with no clear plan as to how it will be spent and without justifying reneging on VTA's promises in 2000. VTA squandered the public trust; now you want that public to trust you again.

Why should they?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bickering on the Board 

MercuryNews.com | 10/21/2005 | No transit tax consensus

No, not the extra board, but the board of directors:

In a spending plan released earlier this month, Michael Burns, general manager of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, proposed shelving the $400 million airport line and cutting 10 percent out of planned Caltrain expenditures to help cover the rising cost of the planned BART extension to Silicon Valley.

The Burns plan relies on both the half-cent Measure A sales tax voters approved in 2000 and the additional quarter-cent tax next year. But the projected revenue from the two taxes over 30 years won't pay for everything voters were promised in 2000, plus a new road maintenance fund being proposed as a means of attracting support for the additional sales tax."
In other words, VTA wants more money to pay for fewer services. The reality of that proposal is sinking in to the minds of city councils and board members alike as they realize that CalTrain electrification and the San Jose Airport light rail extension are on the chopping block to help pay for the BART extension.

This will turn into a bitter fight, and no matter what the outcome of next year's new sales tax vote, the aftermath will not be pretty. The Mercury talks about the tax initiative as though it is a slam dunk. They seem to think the voters are ignorant enough, or stupid enough, to give VTA more money after they were stiffed by VTA's backpeddling on promises for how the 2000 Measure A tax would be spent.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Added Value, or Bad Business? 

MercuryNews.com | 10/13/2005 | Buses are to Los Gatos as soap to cat

Read this and decide for yourself if VTA is adding value by lengthening the time it takes to get to Los Gatos or if providing free rides to the affluent is attracting new, paying customers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gilroy Dispatch Editorial Sums Up BART/SJ Problems 

This editorial is worth a read.