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Monday, February 22, 2010

A Look Ahead at Your Week in S.F. Lawmaking

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Pay attention, supervisors: The hair ain't pleased
  • Pay attention, supervisors: The hair ain't pleased

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors is coping with some serious budget issues -- well, one big one, in the form of a $522 million deficit -- and there are some serious pots of money on the table this week as the supes head to City Hall. Health care for retirees, green power for the entire city, bodyguards for Mayor Gavin Newsom -- these things don't come free, and it's your tax dollars that our famously free-spending legislators get to play with.

So, without further ado, here's the skinny on major measures up for debate this week:

On Tuesday, the full Board of Supervisors will take a swing at overriding a mayoral veto handed down by Newsom of one of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's pet initiatives, a law that would require city officials to reimburse the San Francisco Police Department for security expenses incurred while traveling on campaigns. The law, which Mirkarimi began pushing last year, is a not-so-subtle stab at Newsom: progressive supervisors suspect he ran up a substantial tab by bringing security details along with him as he gallivanted about the state on the gubernatorial campaign trail.

The full board will also take a look at a proposal from Supervisor John Avalos to place an initiative on the June ballot requiring the mayor to spend money allocated for various purposes by the supes. This is a direct strike at the substantial amount of power vested in San Francisco's mayor, and Newsom and his press office are putting on the full-court press in their opposition to the measure.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, an ever-vocal crusader for pension reform, will advocate for a change to the City Charter that could reduce the city's payouts in health-care benefits for retired public employees. And supervisors will vote on whether to adopt a revised plan for the green-power scheme known as CleanPowerSF, which promises to bring cleaner energy to the city but could also substantially raise electricity rates.

As usual, the action doesn't stop with the regular Tuesday afternoon dog-and-pony show in the supes' chambers. Some highlights from committee meetings: Today at 10:30 a.m., the City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee will review a law requiring that census workers be allowed into residential hotels. Some city officials maintain that San Francisco's population has been under-counted, resulting in fewer federal dollars coming to the city. 

 At 1 p.m., the Land Use and Economic Development Committee will take up a proposed law to outlaw smoking in even more areas of relatively smoke-free San Francisco, including tobacco shops, charity bingo games, and farmers markets. (Forget about sucking on that Marlboro while you test the firmness of your Asian pears.) Land Use will also take yet another look at the city Planning Department's "Discretionary Review" process, which critics say allows NIMBY neighbors to unfairly put the brakes on construction projects.

Some come on out, have a listen, and have your say. You're the one who voted for these people. 

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Peter Jamison


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