“Radicals in the Immigrant Movement, Transit Advocates Agree… But Hold On A Minute!”

by on May 5, 2006


In the rush to identify new income sources for MUNI, San Franciscans for a Better MUNI would do well to avoid further degrading the public transit infrastructure through increasing commercialism and privatization. Let’s not make the mistake that Atlanta made last year. This is a quality of life issue that will impact all transit riders.

Before he left the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority last year, MUNI’s new executive director, Nathaniel Ford, implemented a first-of-it’s-kind, on board television news/FM radio service provided by The Rail Network (TRN), for MARTA.

Under the auspices of creative innovation, Ford led the charge for commercializing MARTA, opening up a public market worth tens of millions to advertisers, while pulling in a fraction of those dollars for their transit system.

While it’s true that we have had graphic poster mini-billboard ads at bus stops, on trains, etc over the decades, we have never had television or radio packaged with market specific commercial advertising piped directly into the rail cars and buses. In fact, radios, TV’s, and loud music are currently prohibited.

With the growth of privatized city services, including the expansion of Business Improvement Districts, and new “public benefit authorities” like the Music Concourse Community Partnership, which owns and operates a first-of-it’s-kind underground garage in Golden Gate Park, San Franciscans could really use a new Commission on Privatization.

In my opinion, The Rail Network is not a viable option here. If they come courting, they should be sent packing. San Francisco is more than an untapped market.

Defend the Commons,

Stephen Willis – ndmedia


Enjoyed reading your article. Was present for some of the local planning(in San Jose). There, the coalition leaders did not advocate for a walkout or a boycott.

In the meetings I observed it did seem as if a small group favoring the walkout and generally pushing for confrontational behavior came onto the scene very late and tried to take control. I spent some time trying to analyze what was going on.

In my opinion the folks favoring confrontation did not represent very many of the immigrants present. American-born students were the loudest voices and, so far as I could tell, had only minor influence on the events

Here’s a thought: Isn’t it remarkable that with so many hundreds of thousands of people out en masse there was virtually no violence or disorderliness?? It was beautiful to be there and I was proud of the organizers and the participants.

Imagine if there had been that many football fans out in the street! What a mess that would have been.

Gail Sredanovic

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