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Monday, September 17, 2007

Sea Otters More Important than Roosevelt: SFGovernmentInAction 9.17-21

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2007 at 10:39 AM

Every Monday, the SF Weekly News blog 'The Snitch' reports on what the SF City Government is up to this week in a feature we call: SFGovernmentInAction. -d2


Remember the Otters!

By Benjamin Wachs

Taxes, pot, and acupuncture are high on city government’s list of priorities this week. That all sounds awfully important … especially if you’re a toked up acupuncturist worried about his taxes … but, trust me, if you’ve ever thought “Hey, what would it be like to spend a week not paying attention to what my tax dollars do,” this ain’t a bad week to spend at the park. Unless, of course, you’re seriously interested in Nicaraguan flood relief, or a big fan of Eleanor Roosevelt. In which case, city government is working for you. For the rest of us, here’s this week in government:

Monday, Sept 17, 1 p.m.: Transportation committee

If democracy has an ass, the transportation committee is what happens the night after freedom eats nachos. Today they’ll be establishing a no parking zone on Lincoln Way, rescinding some one-hour parking meters on the 1900 block of Polk Street, and adjusting various parking regulations around the city (watch out, Clemtina Street, they’re establishing a 2-hour parking area between 1st and 2nd!).

Can you believe we elect and pay people to do this shit? I know, I know, direct representation of the public and so on, but, honestly, there’s got to be an intern they can pass this stuff off too.

One small ray of sunshine will come in at the end of the ...

meeting, as the supervisors get a status update on the city’s Eastern Neighborhoods Report. Apparently we’ve got one. This is also incredibly boring, but it’s the kind of boring that developers have lots of money riding on, so it might be worth showing up just to see if somebody in the city’s Planning Department is opening up the floor to … oh, what’s the technical term … “really stupid development proposals.”

Tuesday, Sept. 18: 11 a.m. Transportation Authority – Board

They’ll be allocating just under $750,000 for designs, studies, and outreach programs. NEXT!

2 p.m.: a full Board of Supervisors meeting

Most of the items before the BOS are the usual government drudgery … accepting grants for the Public Defenders office, authorizing a liquor license transfer, commending the John Barleycorn Pub … that kind of thing. They will be setting the tax rates for this year, but, that’s all been worked out well in advance – don’t expect any surprises there. (The composite rate, in case you hadn’t heard, is $1.141 per $100 of assessed value – an increase of 6 cents over last year).

There will also be three “special orders” – public hearings where the board considers development proposals. If you want to speak out about the property at 601 Duboce (which occupies two of the hearings) or 3424 Jackson, this is your chance. These hearings are usually loooooooong, involving a lot of angry people. Three at one meeting means this sucker could go on forever. My advice: stay away, TiVo the meeting, and go live a little.

But, as always, the Board of Supes offer us a few diamonds in the rough. My favorite sparklies for this week:

-- A first reading of a bill, sponsored by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier that would tighten the certification restrictions on cannabis dispensaries. “Whoa, wait a minute!” you say, “are they trying to criminalize pot?” Nooooo … if anything they’ll be making it slightly easier to access legal pot by making the standard for service “do you have a note from your doctor?” Otherwise this proposal subjects cannabis to the death by a thousand cuts that is legal approval. If this bill passes, cannabis dispensaries would be required to add security measures to their shops and … I love this … make drug houses handicapped accessible. What a great town.

-- A resolution by Board President Aaron Peskin declaring Sept. 23 – 29 to be “Sea Otter Awareness Week.” Now THAT’S good government – I’m ashamed to admit that I can go whole days without thinking of sea otters.

-- A resolution by Supervisors Maxwell, McGoldrick, and Mirkarimi, urging the Golden Gate Bridge’s board of directors not to allow corporate advertising on their property. Rock on!

-- A resolution by Tom Ammiano “supporting the medical practice of acupuncture.” Rock …. Wait! What the hell is he talking about? Is there even 1 qualified physician on the Board of Supes?

-- The usual crap about demanding Bush bring the troops home. Because obviously he’s listening to us.

-- A resolution by Ross Mirkarimi declaring September to be “Reentry Month,” honoring those who reenter society from prison.

-- Finally, a declaration supported by a veto-proof supermajority on the board declaring Oct. 11 to be Eleanor Roosevelt Day. If I were her, I’d be pissed: sea otters get a whole week.

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1 p.m.: Budget and Finance Committee

Boring boring boring boring! Granted, this is probably the single most powerful committee, but, in politics, real power is dull.

I do have one question, though: why do Supervisors Daly and Ammiano want to spend $200,000 of city money supporting hurricane relief in Nicaragua?

Thursday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m.: Rules Committee

This week the rules committee will decide whether to:

-- Declare Nov. 10 “Eddie Fung Day”;

-- Confirm Micki Callahan as the city’s Human Resources Director;

-- Condemn radio personality Michael Savage;

That’s one sweet committee.

They’ll also have a public hearing called by Supervisor Ammiano about preventative health care in the workplace. It’s just a shot in the dark, here, but, I’m guessing he’ll come out in favor of acupuncture.

Until next week: remember the sea otters.

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