It follows a study by the Commission on the Status of Women that such individuals are underrepresented on the policy bodies that run many city operations.
Despite the overblown concerns raised by local Republicans in the ballot arguments, this advisory measure would do nothing to interfere with qualified white males or anyone else getting slots on commissions.
Board approval of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission appointees
"The last thing we need is more politics at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission," was the first line in Mayor Gavin Newsom's ballot argument against Prop. E. That's ironic: it was Newsom's recent political power play including the unexplained ousting of SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal and the partially successful effort to reappoint his political allies to this important body that prompted this long overdue reform.
The SFPUC is arguably the most powerful and important of the city commissions, controlling all the vital resources city residents need: water, power, and waste disposal chief among them. Yet with the mayor controlling all appointments to the commission (it takes a two-thirds vote of the Board of Supervisors to challenge an appointment), that panel has long been stacked with worthless political hacks. As a result, the panel never pursued progressive approaches to conservation, environmental justice, public power, or aggressive development of renewable power sources.
Prop. E attempts to break that political stranglehold by requiring majority confirmation by the Board of Supervisors for all SFPUC appointments. It also mandates that appointees have some experience or expertise in matters important to the SFPUC.
If anything, this reform is too mild: we would have preferred that the board have the authority to name some of the commissioners. But that seemed unlikely to pass, so the board settled for a modest attempt to bring some oversight to the powerful panel.
Vote yes on Prop. E because the last thing we need is more politics at the SFPUC.
Hunters Point-Bayview redevelopment
On the face of it, Proposition G sounds like a great way to restart the long-idle economic engine of the Bayview and clean up the heavily polluted Hunters Point Shipyard.
Who could be against a plan that promises up to 10,000 new homes, 300 acres of new parks, 8,000 permanent jobs, a green tech research park, a new 49ers stadium, a permanent home for shipyard artists, and a rebuild of Alice Griffith housing project?
The problem with Prop. G is that its promises are, for the most part, just that: promises which could well shift at any time, driven by the bottom line of Lennar Corp., a financially stressed, out-of-state developer that has already broken trust with the Bayview's low-income and predominantly African American community.
Lennar has yet to settle with the Bay Area air quality district over failures to control asbestos dust at a 1,500-unit condo complex on the shipyard, where for months the developer kicked up clouds of unmonitored toxic asbestos dust next to a K-12 school.
So, the idea of giving this corporation more land including control of the cleanup of a federal Superfund site as part of a plan that also allows it to construct a bridge over a slough restoration project doesn't sit well with community and environmental groups. And Prop. G's promise to build "as many as 25 percent affordable" housing units doesn't impress affordable housing activists.