EDITORIAL Mayor Ed Lee got his start as a lawyer working on tenant issues. He understands the city's rent laws and the shortage of affordable housing. He also knows or ought to know that when the city's tenant groups are unanimously opposed to a project, elected officials who care about tenant rights should pay attention.
The Parkmerced project will be a clear test: Does he follow his activist roots, stick with the people he started with and show his independence or side with the big out-of-town developer and allow the project to move forward?
EDITORIAL The California initiative process is broken. The state's too big, and it costs too much to gather signatures and mount a media campaign for or against a ballot measure.
But in San Francisco, the initiative process has traditionally been, and for the most part continues to be, a check on corrupt or ineffective political leaders and a chance for progressive reforms that can't make it through City Hall. That's why Sup. Scott Wiener's proposal to allow the supervisors to amend (or, in theory, abolish) laws passed by the voters is a bad idea.
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The moment Ed Lee accepted the job as interim mayor — with the strong support of former Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak — we knew that the word "interim" would soon be in play.
Lee promised he wouldn't run in November, and for some supervisors (particularly Sean Elsbernd, who nominated Lee) that was a deal breaker: Elsbernd told us he wouldn't vote for anyone who wanted to seek a full term. But immediately some of Lee's supporters began pushing him — quietly and not-so-quietly — to go back on his word and announce his candidacy.Read more »
The latest video of a police arrest in a Tenderloin hotel room — this one apparently showing police officers entering a room without a warrant, attacking an unarmed bystander, and stealing a resident's duffle bag — has set off a wide range of investigations. But what's really disturbing is that the video is all too typical of what seems to be business as usual among undercover narcotics detectives. In fact, a series of recent security videos show San Francisco cops doing one thing — and reporting something else.Read more »
EDITORIAL The president of the state Senate, Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), has a bill that could profoundly change that way California pays for government. At lot of insiders think it's just a ploy, a way to force Republicans to come to the table and accept some tax measures, but Steinberg appears serious. He's presenting the bill to the Governance and Finance Committee May 4, and a simple party-line majority vote could get it to the governor's desk.Read more »
A few years back, when Aaron Peskin was president of the Board of Supervisors, he decided that the contract to perform budget and policy analysis ought to go out to bid. Supporters of longtime budget analyst Harvey Rose were aghast — Rose, by all accounts, does a great job watching the city's dollars and helping the supervisors evaluate proposals. He has more than 30 years of institutional knowledge and memory; the very thought of replacing him seemed insane.Read more »
EDITORIAL Mayor Ed Lee has released a draft set of proposals for pension reform, and union leaders continue to meet with financier Warren Hellman to try to craft an alternative. Meanwhile, Public Defender Jeff Adachi is narrowing his options and appears ready to move forward to put his own plan on the ballot.Read more »
EDITORIAL Gov. Jerry Brown did everything he promised to do. He negotiated in good faith with the Republicans. He listened to their ideas. He made it clear he was willing to accept concepts (pension reform, for example) that his biggest campaign supporters wouldn't like. And he got absolutely nowhere.Read more »
On every level, the San Francisco mayor’s race is critical. San Franciscans will decide whether a fiscally conservative candidate backed by downtown interests will continue Gavin Newsom’s legacy of gutting critical services while refusing to raise taxes, or if a progressive will lead the city into a new era.
San Francisco needs a mayor who is motivated not by campaign donations from corporate fat cats, but by true San Francisco values. The city needs some one who is ready to fight the war on fun, by boldly having more fun than the warmongers can possibly stand. Read more »
EDITORIAL It's entirely possible that San Francisco voters will see three different pension proposals on the November ballot. Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who failed to pass a harsh pension-reform plan last year, is determined to try again. A working group headed by investment banker Warren Hellman is working on a plan, and Sup. Sean Elsbernd expects some version of that to move forward. And organized labor may do its own initiative.Read more »