Guardian Editorial

Let counties raise taxes

SB653 would help to allow counties to determine their own finances

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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 »

Stopping the garbage monopoly

No-bid contracts are a no-win situation for the city

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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 »

No cuts-only pension deal

Pension reform has to be linked to tax reform -- or else it won't work

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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 »

Taxes -- without the GOP

Democrats need to get over Republican obstructionism -- and give the public a clear choice

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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 »

The Guardian endorses: Jello Biafra for Mayor!

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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 »

Progressive pension reform

Under Mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom, the city used its flush pension fund as a way to avoid tough decisions on employee pay

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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 »

Shut down Diablo Canyon

The nuclear power plant is built on unstable ground and continues to generate, and accumulate, highly radioactive waste
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EDITORIAL The six-unit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was designed to withstand the strongest earthquake that geologists said could reasonably be predicted for the region near northern Japan. It was designed to withstand the largest tsunami that the experts expected. It had triple backups to keep the reactor cores cool in the event of a natural disaster.Read more »

The lobbyist loophole

The public has a right to know who's trying to do what deals behind closed doors.
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EDITORIAL As the stories in this issue show, open government laws are critical to democracy. Without the city's sunshine law, we wouldn't know how the proposal to give Twitter a tax break ballooned into a major giveaway. Without the sunshine laws, Tim Crews, the embattled publisher of the Sacramento Valley Mirror, wouldn't have been able to use his small paper to hold public officials accountable.

That's why the laws on the books need to be enforced — and sometimes strengthened. One example in San Francisco is the lobbyist registration requirement.Read more »

The mayor's race: beyond compromise

The candidates, particularly those who want progressive and neighborhood support, need to start taking positions

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EDITORIAL The race for mayor is now fully underway, with eight candidates declared — and at least four are fighting for the progressive vote. It's a remarkably open field — and the fact that there's no clear frontrunner, no candidate whose money is dominating the election, no Willie Brown or Gavin Newsom, is the result of two critical progressive reforms: public financing and ranked-choice voting.Read more »

No San Bruno rate hike for PG&E

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EDITORIAL In a Feb. 18 message to shareholders, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced that the projected costs of the San Bruno pipeline explosion could exceed $700 million. Now the company wants to get some of that back from ratepayers. That will be a huge test for Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Public Utilities Commission, and send a signal about how the new governor will deal with the rogue utility. Read more »