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Monday, March 9, 2009

SF Gov InAction: 'Avalos' Law' Predicts Virtually No Meetings This Week

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 3:37 PM


For all its good points (and I dare you to name three) the new Board of Supes is not dynamic. Their meetings are regularly canceled, and their agendas are limping along. It's a sign of the times and failure both: Despite the calls for bold new leadership, the Supes have spent most of the last few weeks realizing they have nothing to lead. There's no discretionary money left. They can't agree amongst themselves on a veto-proof plan for either cuts or new revenues, and without that they have limited power to influence events. Labor and downtown are intransigent, the mayor is absentee ... Bold new leadership would be great! But right now they'll settle for a lobbying trip to D.C., to try and to explain to congressmen from Ohio why San Franciscans don't really mean all those terrible things they've said about Ohio -- and can we please have money to fund our "We're not the Midwest" initiative? Anything to avoid talking to each other. Bottom line: There's only one meeting this week. Yep, just one. Which leads me to what I'm going to call Avalos' Law: The deeper the crisis we're in, the fewer meetings we're actually going to have about it. It's named after John Avalos, the one Supervisor who seems determined to get some work done this week. You can thank me later, John. Here's your one meeting: Wednesday, March 11, 11 a.m. - Budget and Finance Committee The Supervisors on the Budget Committee deserve special commendation -- not just for sticking around San Francisco when actual governing needs to be done, but for choosing to have what will likely be a long and bloody meeting filled with shouting and feelings of impotent helplessness. The kind of meeting that makes it impossible to have sex with your wife.

Here's the innocuous stuff that starts it off:

• $265,000 in Rec and Park grants to be accepted and expended.

• David Campos tries to waive the street occupancy fees for the Cesar Chavez holiday parade and festival (I guess that won't be a flash mob ...).

• A proposal by Ross Mirkarimi to revamp San Francisco's Solar Incentive Program, making solar-panel funding more accessible to low-income residents and non-profits. This has been moderately controversial in the past because people have argued that even with the incentives, virtually no non-profits and low-income residents will want to apply for the money. But the consensus reply has tended to be: Hey, why not find out?

And it's all nice and easy, until John Avalos brings the whole room down by doing his job. Here's the blood, sweat and tears:

• A hearing to go over the proposed cuts to the Health and Human Services Departments

• A hearing to consider the proposed cuts to the city's culture and recreation departments

• Budget updates from the Mayor's Budget Office, the Controller's Office, and other city departments.

Admit it, wouldn't you rather be on a lobbying trip to D.C., listening to a functionary from the Federal Office of Urban Forests and Suburban Livestock lecture you on why the maps the city included with its "We're not the Midwest" grant application aren't to the proper scale?

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Benjamin Wachs


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