Apparently, back in 2007, our enlightened city leaders decided that Councilmembers would be entitled to the use of a city-owned vehicle, complete with city-paid insurance, maintenance, and even gasoline. For the last three years, we've been paying to subsidize the Council's travels, and there isn't even a restriction that they utilize these cars only for City business. The cost of this subsidy runs between $417 and $585 a month, depending on whether or not the driver is Councilman Steve Adams.
Even worse, though, Council salaries have included a $350 per month as long as I'm aware of.
In a city that has been touted as "California's first Emerald City", a city that is working on burnishing its green cred and building transportation alternatives, a city where every City employee is entitled to free transit service just by flashing their ID card (and I can only assume this extends to Councilmembers, as they are City employees)... why are we paying to subsidize the fossil fuelled transportation of our politicians?
I understand that the bus doesn't quite cut it for many of the meetings and business that Councilmembers must attend- distant board meetings and the like. Perhaps a City contract with ZipCar is in order, with City employees given certain allowances on their ZipCards for City business. (This would also help make downtown more livable by bringing ZipCar there.) But for most business, our politicians should enjoy the free transit service we give them, or they should pay for their driving out of their own pockets.