March 12 2003

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Talkback

Fourth and Freelon a good deal

It was disappointing to see the Bay Guardian's false account of Sup. Daly's legislation creating a Fourth and Freelon special-use district ["Life after the Live-Work," 2/19/03].

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Sup. Daly's measure because a project that replaces live-work units with apartments, eliminates 150 parking spots, and produces 56 nonprofit-owned low-cost apartments without public funds is a great deal for the city. While the Bay Guardian claims that the vote undermined the community-planning process, none of the dozens of South of Market groups involved in this process testified against the legislation.

Under the Daly measure, an off-site affordable-housing project that would otherwise be owned by a private developer will instead be owned by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, a nonprofit housing organization. Whereas the city's inclusionary housing law – which Calvin Welch argued should govern this project – allows the private developer to charge rents as high as $858 for studios and to impose standard security-deposit requirements, Daly's legislation will result in rents of no more than $557 without the $2,000-plus move-in fees. The board deserves credit for rejecting Welch's call for higher rents, as this would have prevented elderly, disabled, and low-income working SRO tenants from obtaining "affordable" apartments.

Chris Daly took a political risk in carrying this legislation, again demonstrating that he walks the talk when it comes to improving the lives of San Francisco's lowest-income residents.

Randy Shaw Tenderloin Housing Clinic San Francisco

City College sunshine

For the record, I support and endorse complete Sunshine at City College of San Francisco. As one of the newer members on the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees, I am often troubled by the lack of transparency and perfunctory public disclosure emanating from City College. Quite frankly, such an approach benefits the true power at City College, i.e., the tight circle of administrators and consultants that jealously guard every type of information. Those very administrators practice to perfection the political axiom that he/she controlling the dissemination of information has true power.

I and a minority of like-minded trustees are constantly engaged in a never-ending battle to obtain information necessary for the performance of our public duties.

Consequently, material information is often either suppressed, distorted, or filtered by the chancellor's office to such a degree that only the barest sliver of information is ever made available to me and my colleagues.

Moreover, I want to state for the record that no, and I repeat no, formal action has been taken by City College's Board of Trustees on the rejection or acceptance of a sunshine policy that mirrors the Sunshine Ordinance governing the operations of the City and County of San Francisco. The chancellor's statements to that effect are outlandish and reprehensible and have no basis in formal policy.

I publicly repudiate and am embarrassed by Chancellor Philip Day's statements to the Sunshine Task Force at its Feb. 25 meeting. I will continue my efforts to implement a suitable mechanism whereby a sunshine process will be implemented in good faith at City College of San Francisco. I urge the Bay Guardian to continue reporting on this very important issue.

Julio Ramos City College Board of Trustees San Francisco

Harris on Hallinan

I believe your readers deserve a response to several of District Attorney Terence Hallinan's unfounded assertions printed last week ["It's the Corruption, Stupid," 3/05/03].

In particular, the District Attorney's claim that if Kamala wins, "that's the end of the case" is complete political posturing on his part. As the district attorney, I would judge this case like all the others I have tried in 10 years as a prosecutor – on its merits, and applying the law equally to all.

One thing I would definitely not do is to use the grand jury and the criminal justice system as a self-serving political tool, as our current D.A. has done again and again.

As a prosecutor and as a citizen, I have long advocated for civil liberties and police reform. Currently, I serve as cochair of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights. This work is important to me, and I would continue it as the district attorney.

It is true that Mayor Willie Brown supports my candidacy. This, however, is only half the story – my campaign to restore professional, ethical standards to the District Attorney's Office is also endorsed by reform-minded, independent leaders such as Assemblymember Mark Leno, former supervisor Harry Britt, and Sups. Fiona Ma, Sophie Maxwell, and Aaron Peskin.

Last week, the District Attorney urged San Franciscans to "let the legal process work" and not make "rash political statements." With all due respect, now is the time for him to heed his own advice.

Kamala Harris Deputy City Attorney City and County of San Francisco

For the record

In this week's Bars and Clubs, the photograph of Bree from the Lexington Club was taken by Liz Harrelson.