A last-ditch effort to stave off San Francisco Municipal Railway service cuts via a flat-out rejection of the MTA budget didn’t work for the Board of Supervisors last year, but this isn’t 2009 anymore.

It’s 2010, with a new budget, a new round of service cuts slated for Muni riders on Saturday and — well, nothing else is new. Even so, the Board will try again with the rejection option, after Board President David Chiu introduced Tuesday a motion that would allow the Board of Supervisors to reject the MTA’s budget and sent it back to the MTA board’s drawing board for improvement.

“This is a power that has never been used…. but it is a power this Board should be able to exercise,” Chiu said. “We can do better than this budget that’s in front of us.”

Chiu also followed up on the recent audit of Muni’s work orders; that audit found that many city departments request and receive money from Muni without submitting much in the way of paperwork — paperwork including details such as “This is how much money we want, this is why, and this is what we’re spending it on.” Chiu asked Tuesday the City Attorney to draft a law that would require city departments to submit a detailed written request to the MTA before cashing in on a work order windfall.

The Appeal solicited Supervisor Sean Elsbernd — the board’s stalwart fiscal conservative and chief proponent of a ballot measure that would reform Muni operators’ compensation package — for an off-the-cuff assessment of Chiu’s measure.

“Let’s say of all eleven of us do vote for it [the motion to reject] — what happens?” asked Elsbernd, who knows that whether or not the monies asked for by departments come from Muni, they’ll still need to come from the general fund. “Nothing changes.”

Nothing save the length of hearings and public comment to come. In the bag of political tricks, brinkmanship is stashed somewhere between the nuclear option and the tire iron — it’s last-ditch, it’s desperate, but sometimes it’s the only choice left. And sometimes it works.

Buckle in, kids — it’s going to be a great month!

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