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Monday, September 28, 2009

Supes' Mistimed Yom Kippur Day Off Stretched to Canceling of All Week's Meetings

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge These lads wouldn't dream of taking the whole week off for Yom Kippur -- but San Francisco's Board of Supervisors is
  • These lads wouldn't dream of taking the whole week off for Yom Kippur -- but San Francisco's Board of Supervisors is
We've written a bit about how the Board of Supervisors opted to hold no meeting tomorrow in honor of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur -- even though Yom Kippur began yesterday evening, ends tonight, and the supes will be taking off a day on which every gainfully employed Jew will be working. In fact, there's even something of a biblical precedent to get to work on the day after Yom Kippur.

It turns out, however, the supes aren't just taking a day off  to honor Yom Kippur -- as my colleague Benjamin Wachs pointed out to me, they've canceled every meeting this week. While it makes perfect sense to cancel Monday's two committee meetings -- they, after all, actually do fall on Yom Kippur -- the supes have gone ahead and nixed meetings scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in addition to calling off the Tuesday full board meeting. 

A City Hall insider and longtime Board of Supes observer who spoke to SF Weekly on condition of anonymity said that it was only a mistaken belief that Yom Kippur fell on Tuesday that led to the full Board of Supervisors meeting not being held. "That was a screw-up; the board meeting shouldn't have been canceled from the get-go." As is common on weeks when the full Board of Supes meeting is canceled and no "serious" legislation is pending, the committee meetings were all quietly called off last week: "It's usual to cancel committee meetings on weeks the board meeting doesn't happen unless there's some argument the Supes need to somehow act."

David Noyola, legislative aide for Board President David Chiu, didn't have such a simple explanation as for why every last meeting was nixed this week. He said we'd have to call the supes heading all those committees and ask them (While Noyola graciously returned our call on a Sunday afternoon, not everyone is so generous with his or her time). Noyola did admit, however, that it is "common" to call off committee meetings on weeks when the full Board of Supes does not meet.

So, if you're scoring at home, an alleged scheduling SNAFU regarding a Jewish holiday led to a Board of Supervisors meeting inappropriately being nixed -- which then, like dominoes, knocked out every other committee meeting this week. In the spirit of the day, that's farkakte.

Of course, whether all of this is based on someone making a mistake when figuring the date for Yom Kippur isn't a dead certainty. While former Board President Aaron Peskin told SF Weekly he felt that was the case, Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo noted that it's common for the Supes to take the Tuesday meeting off following a Monday federal holiday -- meaning someone could have thought this was, you know, a good idea.

If those are the only two scenarios, it means San Francisco's government either really did call off a week's worth of meetings because of a scheduling screw-up -- or is monumentally mixed up about this Jewish holiday and just effectively got a week off out of it. It simply makes no sense on any level for an almost exclusively non-Jewish body to take off the day -- and now the whole week -- after Yom Kippur, especially when even Orthodox rabbis told SF Weekly they'd be back at work on Tuesday when the supes will be off doing Yahweh knows what.  

As for the supes' oft-repeated refrain that just because they're not at the board meetings doesn't mean they're not doing work, our City Hall insider chuckled about that: "It depends on the supervisor."

Photo   |   Daniel575

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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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