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Monday, October 1, 2007

San Francisco Taxi Rates To Rise Pending Health Care Plan: SFGovernmentInAction

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2007 at 8:15 AM

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


By Benjamin Wachs

Okay, before we get started, I’m going to lay a ground rule – no more talking about any motions by the city government to stop the war in Iraq. Okay? Assume they’re doing it – over and over and over again – and I’m just not going to talk about it. Because, why should we both waste our time?

That said, it’s on to a week in city government filled with renewable energy, increased taxi fares, and the most hard core zoning act I’ve ever ...


Monday, Oct. 1: Government Audit and Oversight Committee – CANCELLED


Tuesday, Oct 2: full Board of Supervisors, 2 p.m.

What is the Board of Supes doing this week? Well, they’ll be settling a grand total of seven lawsuits and complaints (with two more lawsuit settlements being referred to committee). They’ll be voting on whether to condemn radio demagogue Michael Savage’s “defamatory language” towards the immigrant community. They’ll be confirming the appointment of a new human resources director zzzzzzzzzzzzzz …

Yeah – sad but true – the Supes just aren’t interesting this week. That’s understandable, though: not even the great Barry Bonds can hit the muscle with the needle every time.

However, if you have something to say about the property at 3424 Jackson Street, or 2721 Pierce Street, you will want to show up. Personally I’ll be taking the day off. Anybody want to go clubbing?

Wednesday, Oct. 3:

Budget and Finance Committee, 1 p.m.

Hey – is it just me or is the Budget Committee starting to heat up?

The big news is that they’re still discussing a $185 million bond for the purchase and improvement of SF parks : they’re now calling it the “Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks General Obligation Bond” – which is a GREAT name for a band – and hoping to have a vote on it by Feb. 5.

The sponsors of this measure are: Gavin Newsom, Aaron Peskin, Sean Elsbernd, and Bevan Dufty, which means it’s going through. The Mayor can summon his five Nazgul – Elsbernd, Dufty, Maxwell, Alioto-Pier and whoever’s sitting in Ed Jew’s chair (to me, it will ALWAYS be Ed Jew’s chair) – to vote on his behalf. Peskin makes 6, which is a majority. Additionally, the presence of Peskin means it’s highly likely that at least one or two other “progressive” supervisors – Ammiano, Mirkarimi, and McGoldrick being the prime suspects – will toss in to support the measure.

So, get ready for a big vote early next year.

They’ll also:

Be releasing $5 million of city reserve funds to the Mayor’s sadly misguided “HOPE SF” housing fund and setting the guidelines by which that money can be spent (basically the Mayor’s Office of Housing can do whatever it wants).

Be preparing to sell 13.4 acres of land that the City of San Francisco somehow owns in the City of South San Francisco to the City of South San Francisco for just over $21 million.

Start discussing whether or not the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission can enter into agreements with PG&E to wire city property for solar power without consulting the Supes first. And;

Go over in closer detail a proposal to send $200,000 to Nicaragua for hurricane relief.

All in all, not a bad week.

Land Use and Economic Development Committee, 1 p.m..

It must be a big week for renewable energy: as the Budget Committee considers solar power, the Land Use and Economic Development Committee looks at wind turbines. Should they be allowed in Bernal Heights? Tom Ammiano says yes, God bless ‘em.

If this keeps up, pretty soon we can have solar powered wind turbines – the first in the nation.

But that’s the nice stuff - this week the land Use and Economic Development committee isn’t playing nice.

Have you ever seen a parcel of land get the shit zoned out of it? I mean Tarantino style?

Those of you who like hard core city planning should tune in, because this week the Land Use and Economic Development committee will be zoning the area around Market and Octavia until it can’t walk.

They will be amending 33 different zoning regulations, all at once … and that’s just the point where I stopped counting (I’m easily bored). Everything from sign exemptions to residential permits and density limits for group housing could change. They’ll also be adding a “residential special use district,” and changing the zoning map.

Check out item 071157 – if you dare.

Thursday, Oct. 4, Rules Committee, 10 a.m.

I have a confession to make. The Rules Committee was the very first San Francisco government committee I attended … and it was good. It was verrrrrry good. They were gentle, and sensitive, and sweet, and made me feel affirmed both as a reporter and a human being.

But that will not make me forgive them if they raise taxi fares.

This week the Rules Committee will hear a measure on increasing taxi gate and meter costs in order to finance a taxi driver health care plan.

Now, I realize that we want our taxi drivers to be healthy. In fact, I’ve often worried that my death would come at the hands of a taxi driver who suffers from severe arthritis and restless leg syndrome. But, dammit, it already costs me $20, plus tip, to make it home from a night of drunken carousing! Do you have any idea how much drunker I’m going to have to get to justify paying a higher cab fare?

Alcohol poisoning’s not pretty. What about MY rights?

Don’t do it Rules Committee – not if you treasure what we have.

Speaking of what we have, did you know we have a “Peak Oil Preparedness Task force”? Well, I didn’t. And there isn’t one listed in the San Francisco directory of government departments and agencies. However, this week the Rules Committee will be appointing seven new members to just such a body.

Is this new? What the heck is it for? Does it get funding?

There’s also a charter amendment being proposed by Supervisor Alioto-Pier to “create minimum qualifications for members of City bodies that oversee and administer election, campaign finance, lobbying, conflict of interest, open meeting and public records laws.”

Sounds like a good idea – in theory – but the text of the amendment hasn’t been posted yet, so she could just want to disqualify Chris Daly. There’s no way to tell.

Meanwhile Board President Aaron Peskin is proposing letting city employees to assist the Department of Elections with this year’s voting. One can’t help but wonder: under Alioto-Pier’s charter amendment, would they be qualified?

That’s it for this week. And remember: I’m no longer talking about the city’s lame attempts to tell the Bush administration what to do. Who do we think we are, Texas?

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David Downs


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