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Monday, July 6, 2009

SF Gov InAction: The Budget's All finished, Except for the Backstabbing

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 10:45 AM


Our story so far: The Supervisors were drinking champagne in City Hall last week after reaching a budget deal that restored an unprecedented amount money to programs that Mayor Gavin "Call me Governor" Newsom cut from San Francisco because he thought it would play well in Fresno. Par-TAY! But then Chris "Cassandra" Daly, the Supervisors' progressive Id, ruined the vibe by going to the budget committee and yelling lines from Jerry Maguire at it. In other cities, people would be surprised by this sort of behavior. In San Francisco, we're just disappointed that he chose a Tom Cruise vehicle. Come on, Daly, where's your support for small, independent cinema? Sellout. But that was last week. This week, everyone's scratching their heads and saying "You know, Daly's got a point: This whole budget deal hinges on the assumption that Gavin Newsom, a man who had an affair with his best friend's wife, will keep his word to six of his political opponents." Oops.

To borrow a phrase from the last time the progressives got rolled by the mayor's office: John Avalos really Chiu'd this one, didn't he?

Okay, to be fair, Avalos has demonstrated a lot of talent and skill as budget committee chair, just as David Chiu has demonstrated a great deal of competence as Board President. It's just that they've both gotten rolled on the big conflicts with San Francisco's entrenched political operatives during their first six months in office. There's no shame in that: just an awful lot of pain and bitter recriminations.

I look forward to their second acts ... when hopefully they'll let Ross Mirkarimi, David Campos, and ... yes ... Chris Daly, help them keep the city from going off the rails.

Meanwhile, with budget madness subsiding, there's very little work getting done this week. Count your blessings and lick your wounds: Sometimes no news is good news.

Here's this week's meetings:

Monday, July 6, 1 p.m. - Rules Committee

I should get a marionette in a cowboy outfit just so that, at times like this, I can have him descend from the rafters and say, "Guess what time it is, boys and girls? It's ballot initiative time!"

I know that some of you would accuse me of reinforcing conceptions of binary gender, but I still think it would be worth it.

Aside from appointing John Avalos and Ross Mirkarimi to the Association of Bay Area Government's Executive Board (mazel tov!), this meeting is all about the ballot initiatives -- all of which we've seen before. They are:

Chris Daly's charter amendment allowing the Supes to designate that the city HAS to spend the money they tell it to spend, rather than making democracy optional as is now the case.

• A charter amendment (from Bevan Dufty) creating an Office of Management and Budget, with a director serving 10-year terms (nice work if you can get it), mandating a two-year budgetary cycle, and requiring the city to adopt a five year financial plan.

• A charter amendment (from the Mayor and Supervisors Chiu, Mirkarimi, Avalos, and Campos) instituting a two-year budgetary cycle, providing for the adoption of a five-year financial plan, and changing various other miscellaneous budgetary policies.

• A charter amendment (from Supervisors Elsbernd and Chu) requiring that one-time revenues be spent only for one-time uses, as would automatically be the case in a sane world.

• A ballot initiative from way back when (so far back it has Aaron Peskin, Jake McGoldrick, and Gerardo Sandoval listed among the sponsors) prohibiting any new general advertising signs on street furniture and on the exterior of city-owned buildings.

Feel free to disagree, but I think getting all this information in puppet form would only help the process.

Tuesday, July 7, 2 p.m. - Full Board of Supervisors.

The budget deal is all over except for the paperwork. This meeting is the paperwork.

Expect fees on literally everything you can imagine -- from tree removal permit fees to the Medical Examiner's fees for copies of documents - to be raised today.

Also, the Supes are going to strongly denounce the coup in Honduras. So there's that.

Oh, and whaddya know: Eric Mar's resolution on the San Francisco 8 is scheduled to come up again today. Just so we don't have a meeting go by without at least a little shouting.

Wednesday, July 8, 1:30 p.m. - Budget and Finance committee

More final budget paperwork.

How desperate for money is the city? So desperate that it's actually an additional $50 fine for driving under the influence ... in order to pay for the breathalyzer.

See, now that's just adding insult to a five-year prison term.

But it's what we do now. If you have a creative idea for a city fine, please feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

Preferably in the form of a Jerry Maguire quote. Show us the money, indeed.

See you next week.

NOTE: There is another meeting of the Rules Committee scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m., but no agenda is yet available.

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Benjamin Wachs


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