UPDATE: Is former SF Mayor considering another run for political office?

UPDATE: As I have heard from others over the past couple of weeks, Munson is considering a run for the legislature and NOT the city council.

A South DaCola foot soldier tipped me off tonight that Munson has been hinting at ‘getting back into politics’. (I think one of the TV stations broke the news at 10 PM) I always assumed he would run for the legislature again, but it seems he is considering challenging Staggers. This would be an interesting matchup, for several reasons. For one, they are completely different kinds of Republicans. Munson is a big government, big spender Republican and not real keen on transparency. In fact he had to drop out of his 2nd term mayoral race at one point because of a middle of the night deal with Phillips to the Falls, which has been a complete failure. Staggers on the other hand is a fiscal conservative who is a strong believer of open and transparent government. I hope if Munson runs, Staggers takes off the kid gloves and shows Munson for who he was as a mayor, a backdoor salesman who blew millions of taxpayer dollars on unneeded quality of life projects while failing to upgrade our sewer system and roads. Munson may think his second term legacy is all that and a bag of chips, but he really wasn’t that good of a mayor, and I don’t see him being a much better city councilor. I’m just saying.

I also think it is odd that Munson would be stepping backwards from being mayor to being a city councilor, he wasn’t one previously, and I think he would struggle with how powerless the job can be sometimes.

I guess we will know more soon enough. February 24, is the filing deadline.



26 comments ↓

#1 Bond Perilous on 02.08.12 at 11:16 pm

Maybe he plans to run against Heil Heuther. Can he run for Mayor again?

Tangential point but…Phillips to the Falls was a failure and you want investment in roads? Dude, if you want to talk about the misallocation of public funds, then road expansion would be it. We spend 100’s of millions of dollars to save 60 seconds on commute times without any real economic benefit. Efficient mobility can only be attained through a balanced approach to transportation planning.

#2 Alice15 on 02.09.12 at 8:38 am

I think you will find that many people, including myself, will never complain about the money spent on Phillips to the Falls. It has done nothing but enhance downtown, the Falls, the Farmer’s Market, etc. The Falls was not a destination for people even if you lived here. My family now makes monthly trips through downtown via car, bikes, and walking to the Falls and have spent money down there multiple times if not every time. We did not do that before the completion of this project.

As far as Munson running, I am going to remain quiet although the thought of Dr No ie Kermie Baby, coming back into play makes me shutter.

#3 Tom H. on 02.09.12 at 8:48 am

Amen, Bond. Think how much money we spend upgrading every section-line road to 4, 5, or even 6 lanes once the suburban housing tracts start popping up on the periphery. What SF needs is a road diet – narrowing steets and eliminating lanes in order to calm traffic, lower speeds, and raise values along our commercial corridors.

Here’s a thought experiment. Imaigne if Phillips Avenue were torn up storefront to storefront, and replaced with a 4-lane high-speed road with narrow sidewalks and no parking. Would anyone want to go there?

Now imagine you took Minnesota Avenue, from about 33rd St north, and tore it up and built a road-section identical to what is now on Phillips Ave. What sorts of development and vitality would this create along this old streetcar commercial avenue?

Just for reference, the street right-of-way for both of these streets is nearly identical: about 85-90 feet property line to property line. Is a dead, unliveable, unwalkable, asphalt-filled wasteland the price we are willing to pay to save a couple minutes on a car trip?

#4 rufusx on 02.09.12 at 12:19 pm

Better idea yet – tear the center of MN Ave back out (where the center boulevards once were) and put a light rail trolley down the entire length from the Airport to 41st, where it could take a West trun and head out to approx. Roosevelt. Space the cars every 10 minutes or so each way with stops @ every 6 blocks.

#5 rufusx on 02.09.12 at 12:22 pm

Put a second line running on W 12th through DT and out to Powderhouse. Same schedule.

Cross connect with gridded bus lines.

#6 Tom H. on 02.09.12 at 12:54 pm

Transit is so incredibly underfunded in this city. Also, I believe once we hit a certain population threshold (200k?) we stop getting federal subsidy for our transit system and have to start funding it entirely from local sources. Help us all when that day comes.

Streetcar transit is much “cheaper” than people think – only about $25M/mile, about a quarter the per-mile cost of light rail. So, for the $125M we are about to shell out for the EC, we could have 5 miles of high-quality, investment-inducing rail transit.

Something like that won’t happen for a LONG time here, I’m afraid. Way too many people in love with their cars and STROADS to embrace transit and streets.

(http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2011/11/21/a-45-mph-world.html if you want to know what a STROAD is)

#7 Elaine on 02.09.12 at 1:00 pm

It sounds like Munson would run for the state legislature, where he served for 20+ years before becoming mayor. http://www.ksfy.com/category/185294/video?clipId=6723727&autostart=true

#8 l3wis on 02.09.12 at 2:38 pm

thank you for the link, I kind of wondered if that did not sound a bit strange, anyway, it does not stop us from discussing transportation in the city.

I for one sympathize with all the hippies you want to see light rail in SF, but it just won’t fly. People love their cars here, that’s just a fact.

#9 Tom H. on 02.09.12 at 3:07 pm

To emphasize my immense hippie-dom, here is a little mock-up I made of a possible SF streetcar (not light rail!) system.

http://g.co/maps/5yvbf

I think I hit all the hospitals, shopping centers, campuses, employment centers, and residential areas with enough density to support transit.

Yes, I’m a nerd.

#10 Alice15 on 02.09.12 at 3:44 pm

Any word on if Debra Owen has any desire for running? She would kick a** and take names.

#11 Detroit Lewis on 02.09.12 at 3:58 pm

Definately not for city council. I do know she has been enjoying being a full-time mom.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 02.09.12 at 4:01 pm

Tom – I hear you and agree totally a new transportation system in SF is a great idea. But watching almost every city meeting for the last 6 years has thought me there isn’t much desire for it. The bus routes seem to be getting cut more and more and until we replace our current city government with progressives and rid ourselves of the home rule charter, a light rail system does not have much of a chance. I do know that a shuttle system is being discussed in reference to the EC, which I think is a step forward.

#13 Joan on 02.09.12 at 7:29 pm

I used to work in a staffing service and poor bus service was a major complaint of people that had moved here from other states, that there were no buses running late at night or weekends. These were people that had applied for jobs and been offered them, and couldn’t take them because they didn’t have transportation to get to and from work. They had just figured a city this size would have better bus service.

#14 l3wis on 02.09.12 at 8:53 pm

Joan – Funny you say that, I get my taxes done at a place that is also a temp agency, and I heard one of the receptionist’s say to one of the staffers, “He said he doesn’t want to work right now because he doesn’t have a car.” How sad is that? I would agree, our public transportation is a joke. Could I travel in this city everywhere on foot or bicycle. Sure. But there needs to be options.

#15 l3wis on 02.09.12 at 9:25 pm

BTW, there is still rumors swirling about Munson’s political aspirations. To bad iced tea isn’t more political.

#16 Bond Perilous on 02.09.12 at 11:24 pm

Nice Tom! I’ve thought a lot about transit in Sioux Falls as well…

http://g.co/maps/yvw6p

It doesn’t display as clearly as yours though because many of my routes overlap. Unlike your system, mine would feature Bus Rapid Transit. BRT is cheaper than streetcars and just as effective (if done right). When I designed this, I set out to establish routes that traversed the entire city, and served downtown, the mall area, and some other major destination.

I think between the two us, we could come with a better system than what we have now.

#17 Lemming on 02.10.12 at 12:18 am

The references to Owen “kicking ass and taking names” are comical. Did you see her go all milktoast after being fired? Blah – nothing to see here folks, move along…
On to Dave – I think looking back we’d all have to admit he was a pretty damn good Mayor. He wasnt a dictator like Our Man Mike, and I think he actually cared about the city. Did he build a little extravaganza to the Falls? Yes…but seeing the end product I think it was well worth it (Unlike the 200 Million dollar project we are about to take on)

#18 Detroit Lewis on 02.10.12 at 2:51 am

I see you have at least one defender, Mr. Patrick ‘Bicycle to work everyday but pay someone to remove my snow’ Lalley.

http://www.argusleader.com/article/20120210/COLUMNISTS0111/302100004

Lemming – You have to remember, under Munson is when code enforcement turned into the Gestapo, Huether just turned it up a notch. You are right Dave wasn’t a dictator, in fact he was handing out freebies to the business class left and right while our sewers were backing up and our roads were crumbling.

#19 Craig on 02.10.12 at 9:28 am

Shrink Minnesota Avenue? Add light rail? Add a trolley system?

You people are nuckin’ futs. How about a little realism. As many have said people love their cars, but they also don’t like having to walk more than 100 yds from the door of those cars to the door of the home/shop/business/restaurant where they eat/shop/play/work.

Our population density is way too low to support something like light rail. A much better (and cheaper) option would be to invest heavily in the SAM system, but ridership on those buses falls straight down income lines, so expansion into the perimeter of SF just doesn’t work. People in SF ride buses because they have to – not because they want to. No matter how many times they update the routes or try to expand it never changes.

If you can change societal attitudes, you might have a chance, but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime. I know that sounds pessimistic, but I’m afraid it is the reality.

#20 Craig on 02.10.12 at 9:32 am

P.S. Munson was a horrible mayor. The projects he did manage to finish were way over budget and he put us on a path to rely upon massive borrowing in order to balance our budget.

He also thought it wise to ignore infrastructure while he focused on the paint and carpeting, and he thought a reporter from KELO was worth $120k a year to operate the city facebook page and massage his shoulders (and ego) after a hard day of kissing ass at Westward Ho.

I hope the man stays out of “public service” because he seems to feel the public should serve him instead of the other way around.

Bring back Gary Hanson and then we might get somewhere.

#21 Alice15 on 02.10.12 at 10:47 am

@ Lemming – what do you think partially lead to her demise ie her firing? She asked the hard questions and challenged everyone – especially the Mayor – to do his job ethically. She protected the city council and she protected the citizens of this community. Look at the news – it has been one closed door meeting after another, commissions hand picked by the Mayor with noone to challenge them except Jamison, and an EC vote full of lies on numbers that will never, ever take place, etc. The list goes on and on and on. She didn’t care who she ticked off because she was doing her job and she was doing it well – hence she is now unemployed. There are reasons she hasn’t spoke after her firing. Someday – I hope to hear them. Maybe right before the Mayor wants a second term would be nice.

#22 Bond Perilous on 02.10.12 at 11:55 am

@Craig: I don’t disagree with your points. In fact, I’m more in line with your proposal…e.g. invest in a quality. busing system that people want to ride. It’s cheaper and just as effective if done correctly. My proposal is a radical departure from the current system though, in that it uses direct routes on major arterials rather than meandering routes on slow side streets (see my link above). I think we’re at least 15 years away from any kind of streetcars. It needs to be considered as an option though for the day when travel preferences shift.

#23 Tom H. on 02.10.12 at 12:08 pm

Exacty. The absolute first step has to be making the transit system a desirable transportation option. Transit doesn’t have to be just for poor people. Ride a bus or train in the Twin Cities sometime, and you’ll see a mix of income levels and social classes. It’s just easy and convenient, and many people prefer it over cars.

#24 l3wis on 02.10.12 at 12:12 pm

Thank you Craig for your comments on Munson. For a second there I thought everyone forgot about his shananigans.

#25 Pathloss on 02.10.12 at 11:56 pm

Can’t Stalin just die so we can remember him for his faults. I think Phillips to Nowhere, 10 baseball fields in Iowa, & the Washington Bazillion is enough folly. Add on Home Rule Nazism and we have the perfect storm.

#26 Scott on 02.12.12 at 4:06 pm

Most of the falls improvements began before Munson, and the road to nowhere has done little to add to it.

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