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Monday, October 15, 2007

SF Ghettos Re-Zoned for More Booze? It's: SFGovernmentInAction!!!

Posted By on Mon, Oct 15, 2007 at 8:34 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 post we call: SFGovernmentInAction.


Photo courtesy of Serg Dun @ Beer & Rap.

By Benjamin Wachs

It must be bring your daughter to work week at City Hall or something, because, man, the place is just on fire right now. They are holding so many meetings this week, tour groups are going to think we’re efficient.

I know that’s crazy talk, and you know that’s crazy talk, but Bob Robertson from Springfield, Kansas, is liable to go away thinking, “those West Coast city-folk sure look industrious.”

I feel just terrible about it, because, every time San Francisco lies to America, the baby Jesus cries.

Strap on your seatbelts and hang on tight, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Fortunately, most of it involves heavy drinking, golf, and hypocrisy, so it’ll be more fun than actually running the government.

Monday, October 15

10:00 a.m. – Government Audit and Oversight Committee

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about MUNI’s “Transit Effectiveness Project” – an effort to quantify important MUNI statistics, like:

-“How late are you?”

-“Why is this man shouting at the driver?” and

-“Is cutting your wrists now a faster was to die than waiting for the N-Judah on a Sunday?”

We’re liable to hear more, since Supervisor Sean Elsbernd (or, as his friends call him, “How the hell did he get elected?”) is asking for an update.

The highlight of these hearings is usually the way Supervisor Elsbernd looks at his watch and acts like he’s got better things to do than attend the hearing he called. But you can also expect MUNI representatives to bring lots of statistics that are both irrelevant and boring.

Why? Because it beats real work – which pretty much sums up everything about this meeting. Moving on ...

1:00 p.m. – Land Use & Economic Development Committee

“Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!” Heavy drinkers of San Francisco: the Land Use & Economic Development Committee has got your back. This week they examine not one, but two, proposed laws that will make it easier to get a drink around here.

First they will be proposing a law that will allow grocery stores and big box type retails stores to sell liquor in areas of the city where that’s otherwise prohibited.

The idea, as best I can tell, is that the city’s “Alcohol Restricted Use Districts” (I kid you not) are having a hard time getting grocery stores to locate there. But allowing these stores sell booze to the generally poor and depressed residents – who we were trying to save from the perils of alcoholism by setting these districts up in the first place – might just get them to open shop.

I’m not sure if this is incredibly cynical or just stupid, which probably means … oh look! … it was proposed by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. However, if you’ve been having trouble buying beer to drink alone in the Tenderloin, or at:

-Mission from 14th to Ceasar Chavez;

-Haight from Central to Stanyan;

-Third Street around 101;

-Divisidero between Haight and Geary

Fret no more. Your unhealthy drinking habits are now a marketing pitch!

As if that weren’t enough to make my cup legally runneth over, the committee will ALSO be voting on whether to allow full service restaurants and bars in the Inner Clement neighborhood. Sweet! I’ll support anything as long as it’s full service!

Most of the rest of the meeting is taken up with a giant omnibus zoning measure to make the area around Market and Octavia more … um … um … Okay … what I think this is going to do is facilitate the expansion of mixed-use buildings (buildings that are both residential and commercial) and improve the flow of transit. BUT …The zoning proposal involved is over 250 pages long and includes diagrams. I didn’t read it.

And I rather doubt the supervisors did either. I hate diagrams. Are you with me, Jake McGoldrick?

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2:00 p.m.: full Board of Supervisors

Hey … this is funny … this week the Board of Supervisors will pass a resolution urging the Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District not to accept advertising near the bridge, and pass another resolution allowing Clear Channel to put advertisements on city bus terminals.

No wonder people don’t take us seriously.

You know what? If I had to attend meetings like this, I’d want more places to buy booze in the city too.

This week the Supes will also blah blah blah … Blah blah blah … Spend $45,000 for a “Golf Course Task Force.” Their purpose – should they choose to take it seriously – will be to (1) figure out how to increase use of the city’s golf courses, (2) consider whether to put the city’s golf courses to work as something other than golf courses, (3) come up with a three year plan to reduce the golf courses’ reliance on city funds, and (4) create a second plan that does more or less what the previous plan does, just in case … I don’t know … the first plan gets kidnapped or something. ... Blah blah blah …

They’ll continue discussing a measure to take out a $185 million bond to acquire, restore, and improve park and recreation facilities in the city.

$185 million! You can buy over 4,000 Golf Course Task Forces with that kind of money!

Blah blah blah …

And they’ll be establishing “board procedures” for the official misconduct proceeding against Ed Jew. You know, if the rest of the meeting weren’t so dreary, I’d actually suggest showing up just to hear this part. Maybe you can TiVo it.

To make a long story short, they’ll decide to hire an outside lawyer who can tell them how to handle Ed Jew.

Hey, here’s a fun contest: How many different ways can a lawyer come up with to say “Fire him”?

Blah blah blah.

This week the Board of Supervisors will also be doing a lot of stuff we already knew was coming (if you read “Your SF Government In Action” each week). Things like sending $200,000 to Nicaragua, deciding on the penalty for defacing city chalk marks, formalizing appointments to the city’s new “Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force” (do you know who YOUR representative is?); and selling land to the city of South San Francisco.

If any of this takes you by surprise, it’s not my fault. You could have read about it all here (

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m. - Budget and Finance Committee


Thursday, Oct. 18

10 p.m. – Rules Committee

This week Supervisors Alioto-Pier and Dufty continue their Don Quixote-like quest to bring chivalry back to the Board of Supervisors. Ever since Chris Daly’s infamous “Gavin Newsom is an ax murderer on blow” comment (I’m paraphrasing) the mayor’s BFF’s on the board have been pushing a code of conduct to keep Supervisors from being mean to each other.

The Rules Committee will also look at ways to shift responsibility in the city’s workforce development efforts so that it actually uses the millions of dollars allocated to find people jobs, rather than not finding them jobs. It’s a novel approach, but, San Francisco’s always been a center of innovation.

Does that ever work?

3:30 p.m. – City & School District Committee

This week the city and the school board will be talking about ways to protect local students’ mental health. Good luck with that.

Insanity strikes me as a perfectly rational response to growing up in San Francisco.

And Finally:

The “Toothless Proclamation of the Week”: A resolution, sponsored by Tom Ammiano, “urging” the American Psychological Association to tell its members not to participate in the U.S. military interrogations at Gitmo. I'm sure they'll take down the man-pyramids any second now.

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David Downs


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