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Monday, June 8, 2009

SF Gov InAction: Mandatory Composting Gets Some New Sponsors. Which Bin Do We Put 'Futility' In?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:01 PM


I hope you'll forgive me if I keep this week's Gov InAction curt: I told WAY too many David Chiu jokes over the weekend, and now I'm worn out. I've got to remember to pace myself. However, in case you're wondering, here's how many David Chius it takes to change a light bulb:
• None: Aaron Peskin already changed it. • One: and he will change it, assuming no one else can agree on a consensus candidate for the job. • Two: it takes two David Chius to gloat about a major accomplishment like this. • Three: you need three David Chius, because that's the only way he'll manage to override a mayoral veto and not sit in the dark. • Four: the light bulb has to know who screwed it.
Monday, June 8, 2009 10:30 - City Operations & Neighborhood Service committee While other things will happen at this meeting (like three Department of Public Health grants and an agreement wit Caltrans for maintenance on city facilities), the dominant items are yet more hearings on the two remaining entertainment and nightlife proposals made by the mayor and Sophie Maxwell: One tightening up the regulations for one-time event permits and the other tightening up the rules for extended hours permits.

I know I should go into more detail, but, these items have been coming up for over a year now, they've been written to death, and I've just run out of interest. Instead, I'll try to develop some Sophie Maxwell based knock-knock jokes.

It's not really a better use of my time, no -- but, I bet I'll finish before these bills do.

1 p.m. - Land Use & Economic Development committee

This meeting will see a bunch of items intended to stop the deadly spread of massage parlors throughout San Francisco. And by "massage parlors," they mean "dens of prostitution," since - come on, nobody needs that many massages.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Carmen Chu, and David Chiu have a measure that would slap a bunch of regulations on new massage parlors -- everything from requiring a conditional use permit to new guidelines for planning commission reviews, which I suspect will lead to a new sub-genre of "How many David Chius does it take to change a lightbulb in a massage parlor?" jokes.

But really this isn't his fight: The mayor and Chu have another measure that would change the hours massage parlors are permitted to operate and add strict penalties for violating code (including criminal penalties).

Did you know the city had regulations about when massage parlors can operate? Because I didn't. I get my massages the old-fashioned way: lying to women in bars. As it stands, massage parlors are presently forced to close between midnight and 7 a.m.. Under the new law, they'd be forced to shutter at 10 p.m. That includes "Solo practitioner massage establishment" and "outcall massage service" too. Expect outrage ... outrage! ... from all the people who need neck rubs after watching the 11 o'clock news.

After the massage parlor measures are finished, the committee moves on its six-month-long discussion of how San Francisco can streamline the regulation of small businesses. This discussion is taking so long because the only real answer they've come up with, "be more like a red state," is unacceptable.

Finally, Maxwell has a measure that will exempt the India Basin Industrial Park from minimum off-street parking requirements. I'm mentioning this to you here because I honestly couldn't fit it into a knock-knock joke. I swear I tried.

Tuesday, July 9, 2 p.m. - Full Board of Supervisors

Let's begin on a light note: here is a list of Homeland Security grant programs that Michela Alioto-Pier would like to authorize S.F. to pursue:

• The Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI),

• The 2009 Buffer Zone Protection Program (BZPP),

• The 2009 Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP),

• The Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP), and

• Public Law 110-329 (The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act)

Do you feel safer? Or at least more appropriated? I know I do.

But that's just a warm-up act. In fact, the whole idea that you need to suggest to Gavin Newsom that his administration chase after money is pretty silly when you think about it. I have it on good authority that he's already looking into ways the Department of Homeland Security can pay for his gubernatorial campaign.

A more serious issue is the mandatory recycling and composting bill the mayor has proposed, which is now moving forward with Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly (gasp!) listed as co-sponsors.

This thing is gaining momentum, people. Now, I've pilloried it in the past, on the principle that (a) it's impossible to enforce it justly in a city where you can't easily differentiate who trash "belongs" to, and (b) it's wrong for the government to send agents to root through your trash looking for evidence to use against you without any reasonable suspicion that you've committed a crime.

But nobody seems moved by those arguments, so we'll move on ... albeit with a terrified shudder at how quickly progressive politics can turn into ego trips, and how quickly ego trips can turn into laws intended to make you just like progressive lawmakers.

After that, it's off to the races with our weekly chest-thumping for social justice:

• Supervisors Chiu, Chu, and Campos have proposed a measure "calling for an accurate, fair and inclusive count of all San Francisco residents in the 2010 Census." Now, I know that there's a serious argument here about whether the census is inadvertently leaving our homeless population out of its count ... but really, was the census ever planning an "inaccurate, unfair, and exclusive count of San Francisco for the 2010 Census?" Even under the Bush administration? If so, I'd love to see the paperwork on that.

• Chiu has proposed a measure "urging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to reallocate funds from highway expansion to public transit and environment- and community-friendly highway designs." Huh. If he wants them to do that, he maybe he should reject their budget, or something.

• Supervisors Dufty, Campos, Mirkarimi, Alioto-Pier, Chiu are "calling for the creation of an interagency task force to investigate and prosecute fraud crime." That's probably a good idea, actually, but coming as it does just after revelations of how understaffed our own Fraud Division is, one can't help but think that we're asking those other agencies to do our job for us.

There's more, lots more, but, I just can't bring myself to keep going. I'm allergic to the stench of futility.

Wednesday, June 10

11 a.m. - Budget and Finance Subcommittee

This meeting almost gets exciting when Bevan Dufty proposes a measure authorizing an agreement for more advertisements on the side of Muni vehicles -- but then I stop and think about it. However much I usually consider advertising on transit to be a kick in the public groin -- with the city in the financial shape it's in, the Colombian drug cartels could advertise on the side of the N-Judah and I'd be okay with it, provided they paid in advance.

After that, it's nothing but "reserve fund" this and "building code fee adjustment" that, and "Plumbing code permit expiration." I now suspect that, of all the supervisors, committee chair John Avalos has the least fun.

I tried to develop some "John Avalos" jokes, but they never turned out right. Watch:

Q: Why did John Avalos cross the road?

A: What matters is that he crossed it on his bicycle.

Q: If you took away John Avalos' nose, how would he smell?

A: With the help of a community of dedicated home-health providers, paid for by city grants that are now in danger of losing their funding.

Q: Why does John Avalos hide in strawberry patches?

A: To demonstrate solidarity with migrant farm workers. The better question is: Why AREN'T you hiding in a strawberry patch?

Q: How can you tell that John Avalos has been in your refrigerator?

A: Look for John Avalos tracks in your butter.

See? Something just isn't working out.

1:30 p.m. - Budget and Finance Committee

Not to be glib, but: What do YOU think the budget committee will be working on this week?

Here's a hint:The mayor submitted his city budget last week.

Here's another hint: John Avalos is wearing green sneakers. Why? To hide in the tall grass. (DAMMIT -- does NOTHING work?) Also, to remind you that the fiscal prosperity of tomorrow will come from green initiatives. (DOUBLE DAMMIT!)

Thursday, June 11, 1 p.m. - Government Audit and Oversight Committee

This short meeting begins with amendment to the contract for shoreside power at Piers 27 and 29, and moves on to an extension for the S.F. Tax Collector's software maintenance contract.

It would be possible for me to care less, but the trailer for a kids movie entitled Star Power! would have to be involved.

Then, suddenly, the meeting swerves to the left in a big way with a proposal from Eric Mar "Urging Attorney General Jerry Brown to not use evidence gained through the use of torture."

Um, what?

Okay, that had the subtlety of a brick, Eric, but, I'm listening.

According to the digest (the full proposal is not yet available online) this is a reference to the San Francisco 8, and the measure urges Jerry Brown to drop all charges against them.

Um ... okay. Good way to end the week.

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