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Monday, February 4, 2008

Trans-Fats, Chain Menus on SF Government's Tongue This Week

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2008 at 12:50 PM


By Benjamin Wachs

Monday, February 4:

10 a.m. – Government Audit and Oversight Committee

Okay, this is interesting. For months, Michela Alioto-Pier has been working on a fee increase for taxi drivers that hasn’t been getting anywhere. Today this committee has two such bills - which as far as I can tell are identical – except that one of them has Alioto-Pier’s name on it, and the other has Board President Aaron Peskin’s.

Is this a bureaucratic snafu? A hostile legislative takeover? A clerk’s mistake? Peskin’s way of saying “fuck you” to a colleague he’s never really liked?

I guess we’ll find out when one of them clears committee.

Also interesting is the fact that the justification for the fee increase has now changed three times. First it was to provide drivers with health insurance; then it was to help cab companies keep up with increasing expenses; and now most of it is a surcharge for “clean air vehicles.”

If at first you don’t succeed …

Tuesday, Jan 5 – ELECTION DAY – 2 p.m. – Full Board of supervisors Meeting

You’ll be pleased to know that the city’s “Trans-Fat Free Program” is on track. Because the very biggest problem you have in your life right now is figuring out which restaurants you want to eat at. If only the city could help!

I mention that because it’s the “exciting” part of this meeting.

Only one other thing needs to be said: Bevan Dufty’s proposal to take $45,612 from “Economic and Workforce Development” and give it to “Special Events Promotion in the Entertainment Commission” is a terrible idea. Because those people need jobs way more than we need an entertainment commission.

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1 p.m. – Budget and Finance Committee

I am so not waking up for this.

Thursday, Feb. 7:

10 a.m. – Rules Committee

This I’ll wake up for. The Rules Committee is where the action is. Let’s recap:

• Mayor Newsom’s appointments to the MTA Board are STILL being held up in committee. Why? Because Aaron Peskin’s a badass, that’s why.

• There will be a big hearing on Newsom’s proposed solar power plan, providing eligibility criteria, setting limits on incentive payments, allocating funding among types of buildings -– in other words, fleshing out all the boring details that make the difference between a government “program” and a “boondoggle.”

•There is not one, but two bills to limit campaign contributions to the Board of Supervisors from people who are city contractors or have environmental reviews up before the city.

And, as if that weren’t enough, the committee will be going over a bill to … wait, is this serious? … force chain restaurants to label their menus.

It will: “(1) require chain restaurants to provide, per standard menu item, the total number of calories on menu boards and food tags, and the total amount of calories, saturated fat, carbohydrates and sodium on menus; and (2) revise existing requirements for providing nutritional information on alternative disclosure media.”

I think they’re serious. Hey, would it save time and money if the Supes just told everybody what to eat? Maybe sent out recipes, or frozen entrees?

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

This committee has finances on the brain: all three agenda items are examinations of the district funding and reserve funds. Why? Because the governor’s budget has the city school district scared – and rightfully so.

Scared enough that the school district and city might actually enter into a joint planning process for future education funding. The school district has submitted a proposal to the city for just such a thing: the reaction it gets here might very well determine the future of education in San Francisco.

No pressure or anything.

(SF Government InAction runs every Monday on SFWeekly news blog, the Snitch)

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