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Monday, March 1, 2010

A Look Ahead at Your Week in S.F. Government

Posted By on Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Sit. Lie Down. Hold still for a jolt of electricity. And listen up -- this is a week in S.F. government you don't want to miss.
click to enlarge City Hall is crackling with energy this week
  • City Hall is crackling with energy this week

This morning the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee is taking a look at a ban on sitting or lying down on sidewalks. The measure, a favorite of SFPD Chief George Gascon, is aimed at curbing a supposed epidemic of harassment of passersby by vagrants in such areas of the city as Haight Street. (Is it really that hard to just say "no" to the dreadlocked 16-year-old offering to sell you shrooms?) Opponents of the legislation say it's an attack on the city's homeless population. It'll be interesting to see where Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in whose district the Haight lies, comes down on this one.

Later today, at 2 p.m., the Land Use and Economic Development Committee will discuss legislation to encourage or require seismic retrofitting of wood buildings. (Timely, we'd say, given recent events to the south.) On Tuesday, the full board is scheduled for a vote on whether to put an initiative on the June ballot that would allow poor tenants to ask the city to bar their landlords from increasing their rent. This is bread-and-butter tenant activism from the board's progressive faction, and Mayor Gavin Newsom has predictably come out swinging against it.

Gascon will go to bat for another pet project on Wednesday, when the Police Commission discusses -- and possibly votes on -- allowing city cops to carry conducted electricity devices, better known as TASERs. The chief, with support from some commissioners, has mounted a full-on PR blitz to sway skeptics on the commission and in the public, arguing that the weapons -- which deliver an electric shock, disabling suspects -- would reduce the use of deadly force.

Also on Wednesday, a plan to overhaul the city's energy system will go before the California Public Utilities Commission for review. Called CleanPowerSF, it would let the city use PG&E's electricity grid to provide power it had bought or generated on its own -- a scheme known as community choice aggregation. Advocates of CleanPowerSF say it would enable the city to develop cleaner, renewable sources of power, though economic and energy experts say it would increase customers' power rates by as much as 24 percent.

Closing out the week with a bang, on Friday the Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the implementation of Supervisor David Campos' sanctuary city legislation, which was supposed to bar local officials from turning juvenile suspects over to federal immigration authorities until they had been convicted of a crime. Newsom vowed not carry out the legislation, outraging immigrant-rights activists.

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Peter Jamison

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