July 10, 2002

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Hall Monitor


Sun shined on HIV service: Members of the public have been cut out of key decisions about which HIV programs will be affected by budget cuts, an AIDS activist charged in a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force hearing June 25. Activist Patrick Monette-Shaw complained that the San Francisco HIV Health Service's Ryan White Care Council failed to properly announce a Feb. 27 meeting in which $2.2 million in federal funding cuts was discussed.

The task force voted unanimously that the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council had violated the Sunshine Ordinance and ordered the council to ensure that agendas be posted on a Web site at least 72 hours in advance of a meeting.

The task force also ordered the council to post meeting minutes on a Web site within 48 hours following the committee's approval and state on the agendas, the minutes, and a Web site where back issues can be accessed.

HIV Health Services Planning Council director Michelle Long Dixon told the task force that the federal government had refused to release records regarding how its funding application was scored, even after the council filed a public information request. Task force member Bruce B. Brugmann, Bay Guardian editor and publisher, suggested that the city attorney demand the relevant records from the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act and sue if necessary. Deputy city attorney Aleeta Van Runkle told us the City Attorney's Office will submit a letter of appeal this week requesting the records. (Shadi Rahimi)

House beautiful: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted July 8 to provide $349,000 in temporary rental assistance to undocumented immigrants cut off from federal subsidies this winter. The 1998 Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act requires communities to verify the immigration status of anyone receiving housing subsidies. The city was able to opt out of the requirement until January, when it was forced to comply or lose millions in federal funding.

Introduced by board president Sup. Tom Ammiano, the ordinance easily passed, with Sup. Tony Hall casting the sole dissenting vote. The pilot program will provide San Francisco Housing Authority tenants and Section 8 recipients affected by the federal act with a subsidy for 60 percent of their rent increase in the first year of the program, 40 percent in the second, and 20 percent in the third. Ammiano's office said the intent is to give tenants enough time to meet federal eligibility requirements.

An estimated 100 to 120 families stand to benefit. Tenants who do not have immigration documents will be offered the assistance at their yearly low-income certification reviews. But there is a catch: the program's funding, an add-back Ammiano set aside from the 2000-01 General Fund, will only pay for the first year. The rest will have to be scraped together over the next two years from foundations, immigrants rights groups, and fundraisers. (Julian Foley and Camille T. Taiara)

Labor's love could be lost: The Day Labor Program has been increasingly critical of Mayor Willie Brown. Now, it seems, the mayor could be getting even.

La Raza Centro Legal has been managing the program – which is dedicated to providing job services to one of San Francisco's most disenfranchised populations – for two and a half years. Under La Raza's care, the program has also fought for the resources it needs to provide those services, such as a building on Cesar Chavez Street (where contractors have been going to hire day laborers for decades) with an indoor hiring hall, bathrooms, and parking spaces. Most recently day laborers marched on City Hall to protest the SFPD's latest ticketing campaign, during which the police have upped their patrols of the area and fined laborers looking for work.

After a June march, program director Renee Saucedo says, La Raza got a call from Pam Davis, director of the Mayor's Office of Community Development. The program, she says La Raza was told, was being put up for bid. If La Raza loses its contract, the program's new building, which it has yet to occupy, could go with it. "We've always exceeded our numbers in terms of job referrals under our contract with the city," Saucedo says. "They can't say they're putting the program up for bid for our failures."

The Mayor's Office did not return the Bay Guardian's calls by press time. (Taiara)

Brown bites back: In what some have described as a tit for tat in the budget battle between Mayor Brown and the supervisors, the mayor is considering a veto of Sup. Mark Leno's Entertainment Commission ordinance. "I will oppose any legislation forwarded to me that does not have a detailed financing plan and relies on the City's General Fund for its implementation," Brown wrote in a July 5 letter to Leno.

The ordinance, passed 8-3 at the board's July 8 meeting, will create an independent body to oversee nightlife permits rather than leaving that job to the police.

The mayor's concerns echo those of Sup. Jake McGoldrick, who requested more information on the proposal's hidden costs last week. "I don't care if it's a motherhood-and-apple pie department," McGoldrick told us. "I want to know how much it's going to cost."

In response, Leno amended the initiative, requiring the commission to use its own permit revenue to become self-sufficient within its first three years. That may not be enough to change the mayor's mind, said P.J. Johnston, Brown's press secretary.

But it looks like that won't matter. With eight votes, Leno can easily override the mayor's veto. (Cassi Feldman)