On Guard - Page 3

Our perspective on the most important San Francisco news this week

Is the death chamber at San Quentin headed for extinction? Maybe.

But then, the idea was quietly abandoned for the year. "The Budget Analyst and City Attorney determined that this change would need to go to the voters. The Revenue Coalition and neighborhood stakeholders decided not to pursue this legislation for the November 2011 ballot," Kim legislative aide April Veneracion wrote to the Guardian.

She told us by phone that the decision was the consensus of a working group that included critics of the Twitter deal such as Coalition on Homelessness director Jennifer Friedenbach and SEIU Local 1021 Political Director Alysabeth Alexander. But Alexander says she's still very supportive of the idea, as well as a fee to cover city costs on foreclosed properties.

"It's still a high priority for our union," Alexander told us, saying it was her understanding that Kim's office didn't get the required legal analysis back from the City Attorney's Office in time to qualify for the ballot. But a review of documents under the Sunshine Ordinance turned up drafts of that analysis from as early as May 16, well in advance of the deadline for getting on this year's ballot.

Veneracion (speaking for Kim, who refuses to talk to the Guardian) said the ordinance might end up on next year's ballot: "We want to continue to pursue this."

And what about Twitter's CBA? Well, after initially saying publicly that the CBA must be in place before the legislation was approved, Kim decided to move the legislation forward anyway, saying the CBA would be completed imminently.

But that CBA still isn't anyway close to completion, and it probably won't be inked until later next year. OEWD Director Jennifer Matz said the final legislation doesn't require the CBA until companies apply for the tax exclusion, which in Twitter's case will be around November 2012.

"When they apply, that triggers the need for a community benefits agreement," Matz told us. If only measures that benefited the city and its residents moved as rapidly through City Hall as those that benefit big corporations. (Steven T. Jones)



It felt as if, in the words of one observer, the entire San Francisco left was on hand Sept. 25 for a memorial service for Eric Quezada, the Mission District organizer and community leader who died Aug. 24 after a long battle with cancer. He was 45.

The speakers talked of his life as an activist, a hell-raiser, a champion soccer player, and a devoted father. But they also talked of the community he defended all these years — about the part of the Mission that doesn't eat fancy tapas and sip $12 martinis on Valencia Street, the folks who fought displacement during the dot-com boom and fight every day for affordable housing, immigrant rights, tenant protections, and limits on speculation and gentrification. That Mission was his life's work. Long may it survive.

The family needs help with medical expenses — and also to help with the education of Eric's daughter, Ixchel. Contributions can be made at www.missionassetfund.org/ixchel or mailed to 470 Columbus Ave., Suite 211, San Francisco, 94133. Checks should be made payable to Eric Quezada Memorial Fund. A fundraiser is being held at Jane Morrison's home at 44 Woodland Ave. on Oct. 16 between 3-5 p.m. (Redmond)