Chris Daly Rocks the Boat
Good start, but looking for more stories like this: This is a great article ["Captain Outrageous," Joe Eskenazi, Feature, 2/2]. I especially like the "Stolichnaya structures" line. But this is of concern to me: "San Francisco regularly seals bad deals, and it could have done so again with the America's Cup — or made no deal, and lost the Cup."
If San Francisco regularly seals bad deals, then is that just a "dog bites man" story? I would assume so because SF Weekly to have ignored every other instance where [former Supervisor Chris] Daly successfully went toe to toe with powerful interests, such as Rincon Towers and Trinity Plaza, not to mention the countless other instances where city finances are pilfered by the already wealthy. The piling on Daly for negotiating these deals with his constituents' best interests put first was universal. That politicians rarely do this should be front-page news every day.
Will this piece and Matt Smith's passable piece on mayoral succession ["Ed Lee Gone Wild," 1/12] indicate now that Daly is termed out and the David Chiu-Willie Brown-Rose Pak nexus has decapitated progressives, that journalists feel safe to put the progressive case in a positive light? Might SF Weekly do what the Guardian has not been able to do: critically cover the machinations behind city politics that drain public resources so the wildly rich can have a good time, leaving the rest of us to hold the deteriorating bag?
Yachts divert attention from vacant stretch of Market Street: Yay for Chris Daly saving San Francisco from a bad America's Cup deal! And yay for Chris Daly negotiating the massive Trinity Plaza project at Eighth and Market streets! But it still does not make up for his standing in the way of redevelopment plans for mid-Market in 2005. The stretch of vacant and abandoned buildings between Fifth and Eighth streets can be greatly credited to his stubborn refusal to compromise on affordable housing. Now there's no new affordable housing in that section of Market. Though much is happening in mid-Market despite him: CityPlace between Fifth and Sixth streets and the upscale international hostel at Seventh and Market being prime examples of an equally stubborn resurgence of Market Street.
What's an Employee Worth?
Being on-call ill-defined as premium pay: As a physician, I got $9 an hour when I was on call after hours ["Your Money for Nothing," Peter Jamison, Feature, 1/26]. That is defined as "premium pay," but in fact it's less than [San Francisco] minimum wage. Yes, it was part of my job, but since when is paying city employees for time worked considered "money for nothing"? I'm supposed to be up all night taking calls (it didn't always happen that way, but sometimes it did) for free?
Think of trading SFPD for Patrol Specials: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd says that he has "no doubt" there are inefficiencies in the application of the city's little-known premium-pay add-ons to inflated city employee salaries. So, what's he going to do about it? Without an action plan, the supervisor's comment reads as just more of the same union-influenced politics. Nor does it surprise me to learn that near the top of the list in premium pay are police officers earning $15.5 million during 2009. That's about 5 per cent of the entire police department budget of some $380 million.
In view of our city's continuing disastrous deficit, I think it's high time to shrink the overpaid police department and put that money to better purposes. Turn over the never-implemented SFPD "community policing" effort to the privately paid Patrol Special Police. Have city agencies like Muni and the library, where the homeless have apparently taken over, contract with this effective neighborhood patrol force. Why have expensive SFPD officers check bus tickets or politely refer the homeless to shelters and needed programs? Patrol Specials know how to do it right. They come promptly when called, and don't consider crime prevention or compassionate policing to be babysitting, as some public police officers do. I guess that just makes too much sense for San Francisco.
The Eat review "Brain Food" [Jonathan Kauffman, 2/2] incorrectly stated that Oakland restaurant Plum is owned by the Daniel Patterson Group. It is owned by Canis Major, which Patterson and Lauren Kiino co-own. SF Weekly regrets the error.