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Monday, April 7, 2008

SF turns to junkies for security, state plans to "spray first, ask questions later."

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 9:17 AM


By Benjamin Wachs

Monday, April 7, 10 a.m. – Government Audit & Oversight Committee

Okay, it’s not “Kill Bill” or “Let’s Rob Mick Jagger,” but, “Eradicate the invasive Light Brown Apple Moth” is definitely the best title for a public hearing I’ve ever heard.

Last week San Francisco government was all abuzz about saving Tibet. This week, it’s the Light Brown Apple Moth. I’m not sure if this means we care THAT MUCH or if our attention span’s THAT SMALL. Because, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, but … Tibet hasn’t been freed yet, right?

Have we maybe moved on to the moths a little fast?

For those who don’t know: since the Chinese communist government’s occupation of Tibet in 1951, an estimated million Tibetans died in the country’s first famine, the local language has been suppressed, and freedom of worship has been brutally curtailed. Also, the Light Brown Apple Moth was sighted in San Francisco County this year. The Apple Moth is a “pest subject to federal and state quarantine and eradication orders,” and so the California Department of Food and Agriculture plans to conduct aerial spraying programs in August.

Last week the Tibetans got 2 resolutions in city government. This week the Light Brown Apple Moth gets 3.

Please, please, please nobody tell the Dalai Lama. He’ll be crushed.

All that said, it is a little backwards that the CDFA says it will start conducting environmental impact surveys of the spraying AFTER the spraying has already begun. Call me a stickler for procedure, but, um, really? Spray first, ask questions later? Does that ever work?

Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval has called a hearing to discuss the issue; Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has proposed a very strongly worded resolution opposing the spraying, and the Mayor, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty have proposed a less strongly worded resolution opposing the spraying. To add to the fun, a post on the SquidList is encouraging people to show up bringing “signs and banners.”

So this should be a fun and useful discussion, just like the one that saved Tibet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2 p.m. – Full Board of supervisors

Hey, remember that stuff I wrote about last week, and the week before that, and the week before that? Well, the Supes are still doing it.

Except for the part about Tibet. To reiterate: No one is talking about Tibet anymore.

You bastards.

Also worth mentioning is a resolution by Sandoval … you’ll love this … “commending the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association on the groundbreaking of SPUR's new Urban Center.” Hey, good work you guys, you started construction! Super!

You know what the Supes should also do? They should hand out gold stars to people who tie their own shoes or use good diction. It’s just so positive!

Now, I happen to like SPUR personally, but this is particularly absurd when you remember … SPUR is a LOBBYING GROUP and consulting firm, not a government agency, and the “urban center” is really a “new business office.” Why on earth does that warrant language like this:

“be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commends the leadership of Oz Erickson and Vince Hoenigman, Co-Chairs of the SPUR Campaign for the Urban Center, and Gabriel Metcalf, Jim Chappell, and Diane Filippi, along with the entire SPUR Board of Directors, for making this new Urban Center a reality.”

Hey … wait a minute … this resolution makes complete sense if you read it sarcastically! I can’t recall Gerardo Sandoval ever being sarcastic, but that must be it! It’s the only explanation that makes sense and leaves Sandoval his dignity.

You know, the Supes are actually really fun and cool if you decide that about half of what they do must be an ironic commentary on the other half. Let’s try believing that for a while and seeing if we feel better.

Wednesday, April 9, 1 p.m. – Budget and Finance committee

Four of the 10 items on this week’s agenda fit cleanly into the category of “YOU CUT WHAT? ‘08” – status updates, hearings on proposed cuts, hearings on alternative cuts, and “budget status updates.”

The remaining items mostly fall under the category of “Airport concession lease amendments and other shit that will make someone other than you rich.” It includes authorizing more money for professional engineering services (probably to safeguard the Light Brown Apple Moth) and Rent-a-Cops for the Human Services Agency.

Wait … the Human Services Agency needs security?

Not only does it need security, it needs it at 20 locations, for a 5 year cost of just over $21 million.

“This contract,” according to the Budget Analyst’s report, “provides security services at (Human Service Agency) welfare, food stamps, medical, family and Children’s sites, Housing and Homeless Sites, Workforce development sites, and Adult and Aging Services sites.”

Wow, you just can’t trust those humans.

“The clients served by HSA are generally the hardest to serve populations comprising the poor and needy, frail and elderly, many with mental health and substance abuse symptoms.”

Man, those people need to be watched!

On the other hand:

“Many of the current security officers are former clients of the department”

So, go figure.

Maybe this is another one of those bills that works best as an ironic commentary.

Hey maybe … and I’m just speculating here … instead of spraying the Light Brown Apple Moth, we could hire them to guard our agricultural sites?

Yep - sarcasm definitely makes government more bearable.

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Benjamin Wachs


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