...The only thing that can counter cynicism this big is an even bigger musical number.
By Benjamin Wachs
Monday, September 22
10 a.m. - Government Audit & Oversight Committee
Yet more hearings this week on the new Civil Grand Jury reports noting how, in the words of one report: "San Francisco is so inefficient at following through that you're not even reading this right now."
I'd like to think that all these hearings mean that the city is taking the issue of poor accountability seriously, but I think it more likely that this is a particularly byzantine way of paying off gambling debts.
On the other hand, at least they're talking about it. We live in a city so cynical that government reports saying "the government doesn't do what it says it will" makes the media yawn. At the rate we're going, I expect a Civil Grand Jury report to come out next year titled "San Francisco can go fuck itself" that will yield a single, outraged, story in the Fog City Journal.
The other hearing to be held at this meeting is an update of the "Communities Of Opportunity" program. COO is just the kind of program that San Francisco is great at conceptualizing, bad at naming, and terrible at implementing, which leads me to predict that the supervisors will discover, to their shock, that while the idea behind the program was sound it's been poorly implemented. And maybe it should be renamed.
Oh, and that no one's being held accountable. In fact, they're not even paying attention to the hearing.
It's a prediction, anyway. We'll see if I'm wrong.
10 a.m. - Public Safety Committee
In addition to this committee's usual Three Ring Circus of Justice (THRILL to Ross Mirkarimi as he makes the police jump through flaming hoops! CHEER Sophie Maxwell on as she tames the lions of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice! PURCHASE cotton candy from Bevan Dufy!), there will be a hearing on homicides in the Excelsior.
Oh? Have there been homicides recently? Is that something people have been talking about?
1 p.m. - Land Use & Economic Development Committee
Real estate speculation has gotten so intense in SF that even babies are checking to see if they can convert their cribs into market rate condominiums. ("Small, cozy, perfect for somebody just starting out.") This is the final frontier: at the rate we're headed, wombs will soon be the only affordable housing left.
Someone must have tipped the Land Use committee off about this, because they'll be looking at an ordinance on below market rate condominium conversions.
Condo owners will be looking back. The shouting has already begun. The ordinance, updating the rules on how BMR (Below Market Rate) condos can be sold, repaired, and appraised already has over 100 pages of letters from angry condo owners shouting that they'll be ruined if this measure passes.
Could they be? I dunno - I honestly can't tell from reading the bill. I made a few calls to people to see if they could clarify, and they couldn't. Huh. I'm afraid it's every man and woman for themselves on this one.
After all that, the committee will look at the "status of the eastern neighborhoods plan" ...again. For literally the third time in a week. I know it's a big plan, but, can it possibly be that hard to keep track of?
Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m. - Full Board of Supervisors
Aw man, are they STILL setting our tax rates? I know there's a process that needs to be followed and everything, but, since we really all agreed on this ages ago and the budget's set, couldn't we sort of skip to the end a little on this?
I mean, if somebody doesn't agree with the tax rate they presumably shouldn't have agreed to it.
Mirkarimi, Dufty, and Maxwell are still pushing for "certificate of preference" holders to get preference in all city housing programs, which I still think is (1) hilarious, because it doesn't make any sense to give someone a "certificate of preference" and then not give them preference (what kind of crappy certificate is that?) and (2) probably a good idea ... there's no reason why, if the city determines that some people should get preference in affordable housing, that it doesn't extend to all the city's affordable housing programs.
Is there? Because maybe I just haven't thought of it ... maybe there's an ancient gypsy curse, or something.
Well, now, this is interesting: a measure put forward by a majority of Supervisors (Elsbernd, Chu, Mirkarimi, Maxwell, Peskin, Alioto-Pier, and Dufty) commending Yomi Augunbiade. Who woulda thunk?
Agunbiade, you may recall, just resigned his position as head of the city's Recreation and Parks Department after religious and sexual harassment charges were filed against him ... along with a scandal involving a tiger you might have heard something about. Apparently it got loose.
"After the Recreation and Parks Commission scheduled a performance review of Agunbiade last month, the department and Newsom's office was flooded with dozens of letters from community leaders and parks advocates asking for his firing. Many people complained that Agunbiade has been unwilling to listen to or work with community members on projects in their neighborhood parks, and others praised (Rose) Dennis (the woman he is accused of having harassed) for her service and openness."
But the Supes, according to the resolution in which they "commend" him, have this to say:
"The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco do hereby extend our heartfelt thanks to Yomi for his outstanding contribution and dedicated service to the public and wish him continued success in his future professional endeavors."
Now I know this is all pro-forma ... technically he's leaving voluntarily and everyone feels obliged to go through the motions ... but come on: Ross? Sophie? Aaron? Bevan? Aren't you at least a little embarrassed? Rose Dennis is a city employee too, you know.
On a completely different note, there will also be a motion to extend the sunset provision of the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force. Um ... guys? Isn't the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force supposed to be self-sustaining?
Wednesday, Sept. 24
11 a.m. - A very special episode of the Land Use & Economic Development Committee
Apparently last week the members of this committee were all sitting around drinking whiskey right out of the bottle, when someone said "Hey, do you think we should have a meeting sometime where we don't even mention the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan?"
And the rest of them looked a little shocked, maybe a little hurt, but then started to warm to the idea. "You know," Aaron Peskin (allegedly) said, "that's so crazy it just might work!"
So today they'll be putting on their fancy dress clothes and rolling the dice and seeing if maybe there's still enough luck left in this crazy world for three big city Supervisors with dreams. Dreams!
Dreams like changing the sidewalk width of Golden Gate Avenue! Dreams like naming the alleys behind the 2200 block of Fillmore Street "Goldberg Lane"! Like letting the owners of historic movie houses repair their historic marquees! And developing a rental subsidy program for low-income families!
Dreams! The kind that make you wake up in the morning with your heart pounding ready to swim the whole ocean if that's what you have to do! Dreams!
Oh sure, they've fallen on hard times before ... Daly has tried to kick-start the rental subsidy program into high gear before ... Mirkarimi has tried to let historic buildings repair themselves before they need to be condemned before; Gerardo Sandoval has tried to impose tighter restrictions on "tobacco paraphernalia" stores before, but this time ...this time ...this time there's just something in the air that says it'll be different! It'll be great! It'll be swell!
Do you hear a musical number coming on?
1 p.m. - Budget and Finance Committee
Ah heck, this is just budgeting stuff. Maybe if we clap our hands real hard, the Land Use & Economic Development Committee will do an encore!