Hand it to Mayor Gavin Newsom's office for upholding the bureaucratic tradition of euphemism. In a statement today outlining the mayor's plan for addressing San Francisco's revenue shortfall this year, estimated at up to $125 million, Newsom calls for "solutions" -- in the form of spending cuts and "new revenues" squeezed out of city departments -- totaling $118 million. "Only 11 percent of the $118 million in solutions is made up of direct reductions to services," the statement boasts.
So just where has the mayor scrounged up his "$118 million in solutions" for the city's budget woes in this sputtering economy? The breakdown, according to today's release, includes $71 million in spending cuts and $47 million in new revenues. Some $56 million of those amounts comes from savings on administration and financing.
But city residents can still expect to feel the budget crisis where it hurts. The mayor proposes $47 million in "solutions" for health, human welfare, and neighborhood-development services; the Department of Health has already instituted a hiring freeze. The city's troubled police department would delay hiring two academy classes of fresh officers and would freeze hires on 77 civilian jobs.
Last but not least, Newsom is proposing 399 layoffs in city government, combined with 313 eliminations of unfilled positions, for a total reduction of 712 bodies in the city's workforce. Add the City and County of San Francisco to the ever-swelling club of organizations coping with trying economic times by shedding workers. (Other recent additions include Yahoo Inc. and NFL headquarters.) These days, it appears, solutions are everywhere. --Peter Jamison