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Monday, October 19, 2009

SF Gov InAction: City Brings Hammer Down on Anti-Prostitution Program, Then Forms a Glee Club to Sing Social Services to Sleep

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 11:30 AM



I've had a really busy few weeks, and I haven't been able to catch up on any of the new fall shows yet. So I tried to cram a lot of television in this weekend while writing SF Gov InAction. Just so you know. Monday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. - Public Safety Committee Somebody has to say it: the Public Safety Committee we have in San Francisco isn't nearly as good looking as the one they have in CSI Miami. Can we get them re-cast? I wouldn't mind if the supervisors stay around and occasionally make guest appearances, but, we clearly need a Public Safety Committee that's more comfortable taking its shirt off. Also, I don't think David Chiu is packing heat. While we're working on that, the committee will go through its usual update on what-our-criminals-are-doing-now, and there will be a hearing jointly sponsored by Chiu and Michela Alioto-Pier on changes to state support for domestic violence shelters. Hey, hypothetical question: if Michela Alioto-Pier's husband were to be caught in the middle of a major political scandal, do you think she'd stay by his side and then return to work at her old law firm (or whatever it is she did)? Or would she have him killed? Discuss.

10:30 am. - City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee

In a curious juxtaposition, this committee has just two items on its agenda:

1) a hearing to support the state assembly's "Alcohol-Related Services Act," which would put a "mitigation fee" on the businesses that sell alcoholic beverages; and,

2) A hearing to determine whether Hawthorne Entertainment Group should get a liquor license.

All I can say is: Hands off the booze! It's a miracle substance that, in sufficient quantities, can make me care about Desperate Housewives again! Nothing else can anymore!

Do you think I'm drinking for the wrong reasons?

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

Before getting into its agenda, I'd like to nominate this committee, which is made of up Sophie Maxwell, David Chiu, and Eric Mar, as the "least likely to understand a joke someone tells during a public hearing."

I'm watching Modern Family, you see, and would it kill this committee to be filmed in a shaky hand-cam and intersperse its public hearings with "confession room" segments? Maxwell could say things like "If you want respect in this town, you have to beat one of Chris Daly's charter amendments down at the ballot box. Until he does that, Eric Mar's my bitch."

That would be appointment viewing.

Instead, we have a continuing hearing on a proposal for establishing a Rental Subsidy Program for Low-Income Families; an "informational review" of planning department fees; and a series of revisions to the city's transportation code.

I'd tell you about that, but, I don't do transportation code.

Actually I do, but, it doesn't make anyone happy. We're all better off not knowing.

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2 p.m. - Full Board of Supervisors

Lots of contracts, lots of tinkering, several street alterations, settlements of big lawsuits -- none of these are very exciting or interesting, and there's nothing to be done about that.

But there are other issues to be voted on in this meeting, issues like whether to send $150,000 of city money to support foreign disaster relief and when to report the immigration status of juveniles in the criminal justice system -- and these issues are SCREAMING for a big musical number.

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out: All dreams start out as something crazy. Your first date, your first job, winning regionals in glee club -- at first, they all seem impossible. But they're not, if you believe in yourself. And I BELIEVE that if the Supervisors were to rehearse enough, they could form an INCREDIBLE 11-part A Capella vocal harmony band!

Okay, well, eight-piece vocal harmony band: Sean Elsbernd, Carmen Chu, and Michela Alioto-Pier would probably dissent. But eight is enough! It's veto-proof! Even Gavin Newsom's wicked harmonica solos couldn't drown them out!

(There's a rumor that Newsom sold his soul to the devil to play the harmonica like that)

Then, when they go to vote on whether or not to keep juveniles' immigration status from the feds until after they're convicted of a crime, Ross Mirkarimi could lay down the bass line, and be joined a few bars later by Eric Mar singing a falsetto scat; Bevan Dufty and John Avalos could lay down some "oooooo" sweet fifths, and David Chiu ... who I'm pretty sure is a tenor ... could take melody, trading the lead with Chris Daly's baritone and Sophie Maxwell's alto and let her rip!

"Ladies and gentlemen!" says David Campos, "so moved that we Zombie Jamboree! For the immigrants!"

The crowd would go wild. Admit it, you would. You'd be sending a YouTube clip of that meeting to everybody you know, and they'd all come out of it supporting amnesty for illegals.

David Chiu nailing the high part in "Only the Lonely" would do more to advance progressive principles than a thousand community empowerment meetings.

The only question would be whether to save the musical numbers for the really big issues, like homicide prevention and Carmen Chu's deep wish to be one of the popular kids, or to also bust it out at lesser proposals that no one cares about. I can see arguments either way. Just as long as they don't get a laugh track, they'll be fine.

Speaking of which, the supes are poised to declare Nov. 1 - 8 "Community College Week." Hilarious! Chevy Chase is great in "Community!" I assume that's what this is about ... they couldn't possibly be doing this in a non-ironic way, could they?

The supes also have an extremely well thought-out plan "urging the United States federal government to end the U.S. Military occupation of Afghanistan while providing humanitarian aid to support the recovery of the country from the effects of war."

Sheesh: Even Medea Benjamin has now admitted that the issues in Afghanistan are too complex for pat solutions. Can the supes please stick to doing what they do best -- which I'm pretty sure has to be singing?

I mean, what else is there?

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Benjamin Wachs


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