Questions for the next mayor

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 The progressives on the Board of Supervisors are a long way from united on a possible mayoral candidate, and if they can't come together, the person who finishes Gavin Newsom's term will be a compromise candidate, either a short-term caretaker (not the greatest option) or someone who's more in the moderate camp but a candidate the left can work with for 2011 and possibly four years after that.

We're glad to see the proposal by Sup. John Avalos to begin the mayoral selection process early. Picking a mayor in a mad scramble on the day Newsom steps down is a recipe for chaos and potentially a bad outcome. And as the process begins, the last thing the city needs is a mayor chosen through a backroom deal.

But it's entirely appropriate for progressive board members to set some standards and to ask the people who are angling for the job to make clear exactly what their positions would be on key policy issues.

In other words, anyone who wants to be the interim mayor and possibly mayor for the next five years or longer should have to answer, directly and without hedging, question like these:

How much new revenue does San Francisco need to solve its budget problems, and where, specifically, should it come from? This is the central issue facing the city, now and for the indefinite future. San Francisco's budget has a structural deficit of at least $250 million, and it simply can't be closed by cuts alone. What taxes will you pledge to support and put political capital and fundraising clout behind when they go on the ballot?

What specific programs ought to be cut? Everyone likes to talk about the city living within its means, but that ends up leading to a series of death-by-1,000-cuts decisions that year after year devastate services to the poor. Don't tell us you need to look at budget figures and work it out later; the big-ticket items are no secret. What's on the chopping block and what isn't?

Will you work to promote public power? How will you expedite community choice aggregation, and will you support a ballot measure to replace Pacific Gas and Electric Co. with a full-scale municipal electric utility?

What are your law enforcement priorities? If money's tight, should the San Francisco police be hassling nightclubs, or should more resources go into the homicide division? How important are foot patrols, and which neighborhoods should get them? Will the SFPD and juvenile authorities continue to turn young people over to federal immigration authorities?

Who should pay to fix Muni? Should the burden of paying for the transit system fall primarily on the riders (through fare increases and reduced services) or should big downtown businesses and retailers (the major beneficiaries of the system) pay more? Should car owners pay higher fees (including parking fees and congestion management fees) to subsidize transit? Which specific fees would you be willing to push for?

Who should the city build housing for? Right now, much of the new housing stock is aimed at the very rich and San Francisco is turning into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Would you set housing policy to conform with the city's General Plan assertion that more than half of all new housing should be below market rate? How would you make that balance happen? Should the city spend a significant amount of money for affordable housing, and who should pay for it?

Do you agree that public sector jobs are as important as private sector jobs in San Francisco? Would you support the tax plan proposed by Sup. David Chiu?

Do you support giving the supervisors appointments to all major commissions?

Do you think the city should be doing more to stop TICs and condo conversions and to preserve existing rental housing?

That's just the beginning of a long list of questions but the progressives and other supervisors  on the board should make sure they have answers before agreeing to support anyone, as a caretaker or interim mayor.

 

Comments

Answers The Guardian wants and expects to hear from whichever candidate cravenly seeks its support.

Why do you want questions asked for which you've already formulated the answers? That's called a show trial taking place in a kangaroo court and its exactly what The Guardian wants from this whole, sordid spectacle.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 15, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

did these dorks just try to lay out a list of tough questions, by a list of their own answers? Guardian, seriously.... wtf? You guys just got your ass handed to you, your whole contingent is splitting apart (almost reasonable on one end - completely fucking crazy on the other) and the vast majority of your readership comes from people wanting to check out the sex advice column. You're not the power broker you think you are - at all, lol. The City is slipping away from you, forever - thankfully.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

We may disagree on the questions to be asked of the mayoral wannabes, but Bruce Brugmann is right that the process should be an orderly one based on questions of policy.

But it's not going to happen, folks. Most committee meetings at the supes are run like rigged TV shows. The fight over appointing the next mayor will be the mother of rigged TV shows.

That's because all of the supes, and especially the progressives, are now scheming against each other while looking in the mirror thinking "I am the tallest of Munchkins."

It's going to be a sad and ludicrous spectacle that will disgust the voters. The overall approval rating of the board as a whole will reach a new nadir. The winner will gain power but at the expense of legitimacy.

The national media will have a good laugh. And so will we, for a while. But then the soddenness of the situation will sink in.

To bad for the good people of SF.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Nov. 15, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

arthur evans continues to live stuck in another time period. in the past he has tried to belittle people using a comparison of monty python who was "active" between 1969-1983. now arthur evans is trying to make fun of another group of people using the munchkins which first appeared in 1900 and in 1939 in the wizard of oz. arthur evans seems incapable of thinking in grown-up comparisons when he's trying to belittle other people. there's nothing current that arthur can turn to for comparing people to to belittle them ??? no. he seems stuck in the past like his other character lucretia snapples who dug up some fiction from decades ago to slam kpfa and the guardian last week. there's got to be some recent things to slam kpfa about. no need to go back decades. arthur writes about the "good people of sf." you're not part of that group arthur with your right-wing hidden motives.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 2:44 am

arthur says that WE will have a good laugh. very presumptuous of you to think you speak for anyone but yourself. the silly boys and girls may be laughing. i suspect most of the voters wont be paying attention. they'll be too busy texting to each other.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 3:07 am

LOL. Ok, I could realy care less about this pissing match taking place on here. I do want to say one thing though. Ok, two things -

First, like 10 years ago I was a waiter at Nirvana restaurant on Castro, and Arthur always came in. He was very nice, conversational but not creepy, and he tipped well. Surprised the guy uses his real name on here - seems a little ballsy - but whatever. Just wanted to share that little tid bit about him, because some people are calling him names but he was always a stand up guy.

Second, uber lefties... you hate texting. It's weird. "If people weren't so gawd damn busy texting all the time!..." You know what? People text. It's part of the new world. So shut the fuck up and stop whining about it every other post. You're progressive, you're supposed to embrace new cultural behaviors, not be scared of them. Get an iPhone or a Droid and see what all the fuss is about.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 10:41 am

well arthur,

Excessive text-messaging by teens is tied to drug use and other risky behavior
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR201011...

Texting May Be Taking a Toll
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/health/26teen.html

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

also arthur,

Text Messaging May Lead to Repetitive Strain Injury
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Text-messaging-may-lead-to-Repetitive-Str...

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

a true progressive does not blindly embrace anything. the sheep do that. the sheep mindlessly fall in line to fads and text little nothings to each other all day and night. it would be easier to call the person or pick up the phone than texting. texting is also less personal, more impersonal in our growingly impersonal society.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

when I'm sexting your wife.

Boo-YaH! OWNED!!11

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

"a true progressive does not blindly embrace anything. the sheep do that."

Yeah! A true Progressive values their independence. Like when we take the voter guide of the local propaganda rag to the polls with us on election day! Oh wait, I guess we all forgot to do that this year and ended up accidentally voting for the Moderate Agenda. Oops.

Posted by RamRod on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

sounds just like arthur evans. might it be?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

Mayor Newsom's various sub-offices -- Housing, Criminal Justice, etc. -- have all too often been too slow to respond to public-records requests, and in many cases have not satisfactorily met them.

What is more, Newsom himself apparently believes he is above the law when it comes to sunshine, arguing that calls made on his personal mobile phone are not public records even when they involve city business.

Can we get an on-the-record commitment from you that you will abide at all times by local and state sunshine laws, and that you will direct all personnel in the mayor's office to do same?

Posted by Richard Knee on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 12:02 am

A waiter he gave money to ten years ago liked him.
So what?

Evans uses his real name as part of a ham-handed and desperate quest for attention, and as a tool for self aggrandizement.
Case in point:
"Apparently you haven’t read my book... You may want to check it out some time. In fact, it would be nice if The Guardian reviewed it! "
http://www.sfbg.com/2010/11/09/next-mayor

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

"A waiter he gave money to ten years ago liked him.
So what?"

Wow. You really are a sad, bitter person aren't you.

"Evans uses his real name as part of a ham-handed and desperate quest for attention, and as a tool for self aggrandizement."

I say, "bravo", Arthur. You show more courage than nearly everyone else who posts on here. I might not agree with you all the time, but you're sincere and honest and often times pretty funny too.

Posted by RamRod on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

arthur is commenting as ramrod and praising himself. that jives. that's what arthur would do. arthur would like to ramrod his right-wing agenda onto city hall and the board of sups. arthur is pretty funny? arthur is very dated.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

Nuhuh, I'm not Arthur. But I'd ramrod him if he were into it. Why not!?!

Posted by RamRod on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

Of downtown?? Bruce has been fighting downtown for decades, and most of the larger firms have pulled up and left town for the burbs - yet somehow they still manage to be sucking down massive amounts of services and not paying a dime.

Honestly, the vast majority of MUNI's 700k+ boardings a day are people working for the man downtown? That idea is ridiculous.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 4:15 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 8:30 pm