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Monday, November 12, 2007

Writer's Strikes Sends SF Government into Re-Runs: It's! ...

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2007 at 8:51 AM


By Benjamin Wachs

The Writer’s Guild strike is on this week and that means that some city meetings are in re-runs. I don’t understand it either, but, hey, we’re a union town.

It’s also Veterans Day on Monday, and as of Sunday night there’s not a single proclamation on any board agenda to end the war. Coincidence? Good taste? Writer’s strike?

There’s no way to tell. But, as I look over this week’s government agendas, I feel a certain patriotic sense … of nausea … filling me. The reason we have flags and anthems and pledges of allegiance is that nobody’s going to fight and die for the crap that governments like San Francisco’s do day in and day out.

I mean, how many of us even bothered to vote?

Anyway, respect to the writers, honor to our veterans, and … um … I don’t know what to say about the city’s Asthma Task Force.

Monday, Nov. 12 – Veterans Day

No meetings, which is probably a blessing because it means Chris Daly’s that much less likely to say something stupid during a national holiday.

Tuesday, Nov. 13:

1:30 p.m. – Budget & Finance Committee

The best Budget & Finance Committee meeting is the shortest Budget & Finance Committee meeting. While this week’s agenda isn’t perfect by that standard – it has two items instead of 0 – it’s almost as good as it can get.

And what items they are:

1) Municipal ID Cards. This sucker’s moving forward, people.

2) $7 million in bonds that will loaned to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association” ( so that they can buy a swank 15,000 square foot facility on Market Street.

SPUR is a non-profit think tank that tries to promote good public planning and good government. How exactly they can speak truth to power while petitioning the government for loans is a little unclear. Nevertheless, I’m in favor of this project purely on the grounds that SPUR officials return my calls. That’s worth $7 million to me.

2:00 p.m. – Board of Supervisors

This week’s BOS meeting is also surprisingly attendable, and will probably be short enough that – if you go – you’ll still have time for dinner and a movie before your payroll officer knows you’re gone.

That said, the Supes seem to be spinning their wheels lately, and virtually every item on this agenda – from “landmark tree designation” and “biosludge hauling” to Chris Daly’s Morality Crusade and Revenge – has been covered here before.

In fact, I think this meeting is a rerun. Probably from last season. I won’t give away the ending because – hey, if you haven’t seen it yet it’s new to you – but San Francisco finally makes sense once you find out that Sean Elsbernd is “the man with the horn rimmed glasses” and Ross Mirkarimi can fly.

While we’re on it, keep a careful watch on Tom Ammiano’s effort to make sure the city never re-runs it Workforce Development Debacle – some $20 million wasted on employment programs that found maybe twelve guys jobs, and that was on a jury.

Ammiano’s proposing a small army of new regulations for the city’s efforts to connect residents with jobs. They include centralization of efforts, one person signing off on all Workforce Development expenditures from the city’s General Fund, and the creation of a “community advisory committee.”

So far this package has been supported by Supervisor’s Ammiano, Peskin, Mirkarimi, and Maxwell - a coalition that suggests the Mayor’s against it.

This will definitely be a flashpoint during sweeps week. I just hope they don’t do one of those stupid “highlight” episodes where they run a lot of clips.

Wednesday, Nov. 14.

1:00 p.m. – Budget and Finance Committee

Wait, again? Didn’t they already meet? Is any way to honor our nation’s veterans? With an extra Budget and Finance Committee Meeting? That’s not what they fought for!

This meeting has three times as many agenda items, and most of them are dull.

However, you will be glad to know that Supervisors Mirkarimi, Maxwell, and Ammiano are trying to get an extra $2 million and change spent on beds for the psychiatric ward at San Francisco General Hospital, and that the Board of Supervisors will be springing for a new voting system …. now that the election’s over.

I called a veteran to check, and he said that – yes – it made him cry.

Thursday, Nov. 15:

10:00 a.m. – Rules Committee

Honest truth: after I read the Rules Committee agenda, I wanted to kill myself. Because every time I think I know how pointless SF government gets I discover new committees.

According to the Rules Committee agenda, we have a “Local Homeless Coordinating Board.” (I need to die) An “Urban Counties Caucus.” (Kill me now) An “In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority.” (Nothing left to live for) A “Western SoMa Citizens’ Planning Task Force.” (I hope it’s painless) An “Asthma Task Force” …

An “Asthma Task Force?”

Fuck you, Rules Committee! Now you’re just toying with us! There is no goddamn way we have a fucking “Asthma Task Force,” and that, to sit on it, you need to either …. have asthma, be the parent of a child with asthma, or an “asthma patient advocate.” No goddamn way! No government in the world is going to think that a civic task force can best handle a medical issue!

Holy shit, the Asthma Task Force has 30 members.

That’s a lot of people.

Its mission is to “prevent asthma and to improve the quality of life for people with asthma, especially the underserved, who live or work in the City and County of San Francisco, by the use of advocacy, legislative action and citywide strategies.”

It has its own “video vignette series.”

Each episode shows “the successful results of the Task Force in action as it effects positive change for improved lung health.”

This is really happening.

Excuse me, for a moment, I’m a little dizzy and have trouble breathing.

The Rules Committee will also be changing the name of Rowland Street to “Dirk Dirksen Alley.” I just thought you’d want to know.

3:30 P.M. – City and School District Committee

Is our school district doing enough to prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in San Francisco children exposed to violence?

That’s the rather terrifying question the City and School District Committee will be asking this week. Brrrr.

)SFGovernmentInAction describes upcoming local legislation without fear or favor every Monday morning, just before we go drop our back-to-work deuce. Bookmark it here.)

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David Downs


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