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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Traffic Code Is Gone, Baby, Gone! It's ...

Posted By on Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 10:52 AM


By Benjamin Wachs

Read what’s happening this week in SF government and tell me if you reach the same conclusion I did: We MUST be able to find robots that can do this for us. There’s just no need for human supervisors: combine an algorithm to search for improvements in municipal code with one of those robot dogs that rolls over to have its belly scratched, and then make it a littttttle self-righteous, and you’ve got San Francisco government at a fraction of the cost.

At least, that was my conclusion. You decide.

Monday, March 3:

10 a.m. – Government Audit & Oversight Committee

This meeting has just one purpose — to repeal the entire San Francisco traffic code and replace it with something new.

Wow. That sure sounds important.

It’s sponsored by Aaron Peskin, who has a history of implementing good policy changes that no one cares about for long. (Anybody remember last year’s Prop A? Anybody?) This new effort, major as it is, probably fits that bill. It includes sections on historic street signs, permits for news vehicles, and explains which city employees have the authority to enforce traffic laws that involve parking in public transit areas (you do NOT want to piss off a deputy general manager of equipment maintenance).

And so forth.

I think all most people need to know is that “It shall be unlawful for any person to direct or attempt to direct traffic unless authorized to do so by order of the Police Commission, except in case of immediate danger or necessity.”

So cut that shit out.

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

Peskin strikes again! This meeting is just filled with items of his that amend very detailed city code in ways that most people would rather sleep through. According to one measure, large scale institutions accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges would now be considered “educational institutions” rather than “arts institutions.”

Can you get excited about that? Of course not.

There’s a good reason for it: certain large-scale arts institutions (cough Academy of Art University cough) haven’t been filing legally required master plans with the city, and this change emphasizes that they need to. But that doesn’t mean you care.

Somebody will care, though: because the next proposal he makes bans Educational Services from the Western SoMa Special Use District.

Oooooooooo, SNAP Academy of Art University! No expanding into SoMa for you!

This is kind of the ultimate bureaucratic slapdown. We are so THROUGH with your artsy ass, pursuant to section 823.11 of this municipal code.

Peskin and a bunch of other supes are also proposing what’s likely the final draft of a bill restricting large tourist hotels from transforming into condominiums (like in that movie “The Large Tourist Hotel that became Condos!”). Once again, probably important … but not very high on the excitement scale. Unless you own a large tourist hotel. Or are a sick, sick person.

Tuesday, March 24, 2 p.m. – Full Board of Supervisors

And AGAIN with Peskin and the minor code changes! Does he never sleep?

This time he’s proposing “a statutory reference in (a) provision regarding settlement of minors' claims” by tweaking which statute the existing statute references.

Man his Legislative Analyst must have gulped a lot of coffee last week.

There’s lots of other stuff happening at this meeting too, of course: Supes Mirkarimi and McGoldrick have competing amendments to the omnibus zoning legislation for Market and Octavia … their Legislative Analysts must be on cocaine … but I’ve already written about all the interesting stuff happening at this meeting here, last week. Take out the bill on rent-a-cops and the taxi gate fare increase, and very little has changed.

How depressing is that?

Wednesday, March 5, 1 p.m. – Budget and Finance Committee

Don’t let anyone tell you differently: THIS is the committee that cares.

Today they’re looking to spend:

• $2.5 million on the salaries and benefits of Workforce Development personnel (because they’ve been doing SUCH a bang up job)

• $4.2 million for Capital Improvements at San Francisco General Hospital (which kind of needs them); and

• $246,000 to fund the “Workers Compensation Clinic” at the hospital

They’ll also be setting standards for city run shelters, and requiring that the Department of Public Health have 3 full-time employees looking after them to make sure standards are met - cost undetermined, but, if you’re going to have shelters in the first place you really ought to have someone looking after them.

Why did that not occur to us before?

Thursday, March 6, 10 a.m. – Rules Committee

This entire meeting will be devoted to appointing people to civic boards. We’d probably all be better off if it didn’t happen.

Could we try that?

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Benjamin Wachs


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