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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chris Daly: Proposed Charter Amendment to Defang Mayor's 'Non-Veto Veto' Stems From '07 Dustup

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 5:30 AM

Supervisor Chris Daly
  • Supervisor Chris Daly
Yesterday, my colleague Benjamin Wachs said he wanted to give Chris Daly a hug due to the supervisor's long-overdue proposed charter amendment to confiscate one of the nastiest and most anti-democratic bullets in the mayor's bandolier.

We won't go that far -- we think a hearty handshake is entirely appropriate -- but we agree with the sentiment. In San Francisco, it's entirely possible for the Board of Supervisors to pass a law calling for money to be spent on a program, have this law quashed by the mayor's veto, then override the veto -- only to have the law go into effect but die in all but name because the mayor has the discretion not to allocate it any money. This is proof that the framers of our city charter were either foolish or careless and hardly resembles any notion of what folks think of when they hear the word "democracy." It'd be great to see Daly's proposition plug up this fetid loophole.

In case you hadn't noticed, signs seem to be pointing toward a knock-down, drag out battle between the supes and mayor regarding the city budget. So the timing of Daly's proposal is more than a little intriguing. But the District 6 supervisor remains unhuggable, because when we asked why he's making this move right now, he had someone else call up to not answer the question. 

Our message for Daly was returned by his legislative aide, Tom Jackson, who said the supervisor's frustration is still simmering after a 2007 imbroglio. Back then, the supes voted to spend some $28 million of an $126.6 million-plus surplus (oh, the good old days...) for affordable housing. Rather than veto the move and face a certain override, the mayor employed his "non-veto veto" and simply let the proposition perish on the vine by not spending any money on it.

Again, it's underhanded and hardly seems like the kind of thing you'd see in a thriving democracy -- but that was so goddamn long ago that the phrase "$126.6 million surplus" was involved. When asked, again, why now, Jackson told us that Daly was "not interested" in giving us a quote.

Fair enough. We can see what you're doing here. So, as Online New Editor, I'm allowing my writer Benjamin Wachs' proposal that he give Daly a hug to pass -- but I'm going to let it die by simply refusing to allocate any funding toward it.

So you get no hug, Daly.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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