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Monday, February 18, 2008

The environment and slavery awareness duke it out for Noblest Cause this Presidents Day! It's ...

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2008 at 5:02 PM


By Benjamin Wachs

Monday, Feb. 18 – Presidents Day.

Today the Supervisors take the day off to dream of what it would be like if they were president. Some of them are already fundraising for 2040.

Tuesday , Feb. 19 – No meetings scheduled.

Our presidents are so great, they deserve a second day of government rest.

Wednesday, Feb. 20 , 1 p.m. – Budget and Finance Commitee

This week the Budget Committee is hanging out at a North Beach bar, decked to the nines and buying expensive drinks, hoping that some hottie will come over and say “Hey big spender!”

Even budget committee’s get lonely, and if you’ve got it, fluant it. By my (admittedly crude) estimation, the budget committee will be debating $96 million in new city spending. Granted, that’s chump change to a city with a $6 billion budget, but it sure impresses a lot of those smaller, cuter cities like Half Moon Bay and Sausalito … cities whose calls we won’t return in the morning.

The vast majority of that money is being spent on environmental initiatives – which everyone appreciates in theory no matter what happens in fact. If only you could spend $90 million on the environment and then have everybody walking around the next day saying “Wow, this environment sure is $90 million cleaner!” But, somehow it never works like that.

The bulk of that money - $50 million – is a Mayor proposed program that will provide loans to private businesses seeking to create renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Since the Supes won’t pay for that out of the regular budget, Hizzoner is calling for an election on June 3 with a $50 million bond on the ballot. Why? Because we care, that’s why.

Another $750,000 goes to pay for 3 more months of contract sludge hauling (it must be nice to own a truck around here); another $300,000 goes to finance “clean air vehicles” for the airport; and another $7 million goes to the creation of a new Public Utilities Administration building (on top of $4.5 million already spent); and another $5 million goes to the Water System Improvement Program.

Why? Because we care. Now drop your pants.

Thursday, Feb. 21

10 a.m. – Rules Committee

Just over a year ago the city passed a “Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance” mandating that any companies that do business with the City disclose whether they profited from the slave trade. Why? Because we care.

It also “suggested” that those companies contribute to a voluntary fund to address racial healing. Why? Because you care.

Today, in what is sure to be a touching and moving moment, the city will receive its first report on how will this program is working.

There’s no telling what the report will say – I mean the sky’s the limit – but I’m guessing that thanks to the city’s timely action, the scourge of racism has finally been eliminated.

Also on the agenda are more appointments to the planning commission, and a debate on a measure that would tighten the restrictions on new liquor stores even further : preventing them from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, public libraries, recreation centers and … other liquor stores.

Apparently our officially "420 friendly" city is concerned about sending a bad message to kids about alcohol. Isn’t that cute?

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

I have to tell you, there’s nothing funny about this committee – in a good way. Their agendas are small and manageable, the issues they look at important, and it serves a function … connecting members of different governing bodies that otherwise might not meet together … that’s actually important.

Today, for example, they’ll be examining ways the city and school district can collaborate to improve kids’ health outcomes, especially mental health; and they’ll be going over the needs of school libraries and ways that the city might have to help fund additional library resources.

That’s how government ought to work. President Washington would approve. But instead, most of our government's time is spent on slavery awareness and greening contracts.

Why? Because we care.


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Benjamin Wachs


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