We would not be here if SFMTA/CTA planners had not been so arrogant and condescending towards hundreds of private residents who had brought legitimate concerns about the GearyBRT/Red Carpet lane effects upon public safety and the welfare of families and community in the Richmond District. We tried for eight months to see things from their perspective and yet they never budged an inch from their original plan.
Their plan was to overwhelm, confuse and intimidate us. Ultimately they wanted to wear us out so we'd give up. It's a common tactic they use to get what they want. It's not going to work so easily on folks from the Richmond.
Had they allowed us to speak our minds and comment publicly about our group's opposition to their proposed "Red Carpet" Lane/Geary BRT plan in November of 2015 they might not have awoken a bunch of sleeping Bears. The planners of the event took such considerable efforts to stifle public comments from the hundreds of meeting participants in attendance that evening, that calling it a "Public Comment Meeting" seemed at best, an unfortunate mistake and at worse, disingenuous. The arrogance and smugness of agency staff resulted in poking the Bears.
The SFMTA is allowed to hire outside consultants to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to create presentations and promotions to persuade the general public to see the world the way they do. The only problem is that they seem uninterested in the worldview of the people who will be living with the results of their design. Unfortunately, for communities who oppose the notions of the SFMTA staff, the City offers no support for private citizens to confront and restrain an overzealous organization that seems to be accountable to no one. So our community had to come together to defend itself from the bureaucratic overreach of staffers eager to make a name for themselves at the expense of entire communities.
After eight unproductive months of meetings conducted with staff members from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation and the San Francisco County Transit Agency, residents and merchants joined to offer an alternative perspective to the narrative presented by MUNI's planners.
A group of private Richmond District residents, including two attorneys and two retired San Francisco, licensed civil engineers engaged San Francisco Strategic Marketing Firm AWMA whose founder, Antonio White is a second generation San Franciscan and whose family has lived in the Richmond District since 1943. Antonio had volunteered his time to the group until it became apparent that talks with SFMTA and CTA had ended without compromise and the demolition of Geary Blvd. seemed eminent. Antonio is a 20 yr veteran marketing strategist and a protégé of the late Terry Sellards, former editor in chief of the Berkeley Gazette and Deputy Mayor under Frank Jordan. Terry was also the man responsible for legendary PR fixer, Sam Singer's first job in the newspaper business at the Berkeley Gazette.
Having seen the community turmoil caused by the MTA and CTA actions in the Mission District, the Richmond District residents group have chosen to take a stand against the City's transit system and its planners who have proposed a 3-year, $300,000,000 construction project in the Richmond with no regard for the many Richmond district residents who oppose the project.
The groups request is simple. Immediately complete the existing and approved Transit Effectiveness Program (know as T.E.P.) and "cut the Red Carpet" bus lane experiment and its accompanying center-median demolition project from the Geary BRT plan between Masonic and 33rd avenue.
On behalf of the Residents of the Richmond District,
Founder and President