Guardian Editorial

Dismantling the Newsom budget

The mayor's cheery line may sound good when he's out of town running for governor, but it's not going to play so well on the streets of San Francisco.
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EDITORIAL Mayor Gavin Newsom was upbeat when he delivered his budget proposal last week. It won't be that bad, he told everyone — "At the end of the day, it's a math problem."

Well, actually, it's not. Read more »

How to repeal Prop. 8

This time, let's get it right
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EDITORIAL When the late Sup. Harvey Milk was fighting to defeat the Briggs Initiative, a statewide ballot measure that would have barred gay people from teaching in public schools, he repeatedly made the point that the more Californians met and interacted with openly gay and lesbian people, the less likely the voters would be to sanction discrimination. Read more »

Newsom's tax proposals

He promised to work with labor and the business community on measures for November, but he needs to do much more
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EDITORIAL Mayor Gavin Newsom and a negotiating team from the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 have hammered out yet another deal, this one slightly better for the workers than the proposal that the 11,000 union members voted down last week. As part of the deal, SEIU members will take 10 legal holidays without pay over the next 14 months, and gain five floating paid holidays. Read more »

Downtown's missing history

Reject the new condo tower project next to the Transamerica Building
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EDITORIAL To hear the proponents of a new downtown condo complex talk, you'd think they were giving the city a wonderful deal. In exchange for an exemption from height limits that would allow a tower twice the allowable size just a few yards from the Transamerica Building, the developer would give the city a little patch of parkland that's now privately owned. Read more »

Rewrite the Muni budget

Newsom's foolish attempt to play chicken with the supervisors
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EDITORIAL Just one day after the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee voted to reject Mayor Gavin Newsom's Muni budget, the mayor's press flak, Nathan Ballard, reminded us of how deeply the Mayor's Office remains in budget denial.

"We are currently operating under the assumption that the supervisors will approve the MTA's sensible budget," Ballard told City Editor Steven T. Jones May 8. "If they reject the budget, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

That was a foolish assumption. Read more »

Making sunshine work

Fourteen times the task force has asked Ethics for action, and 14 times those cases have been dismissed - with little serious investigation
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EDITORIAL The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and the Ethics Commission are talking to each other, which is some small progress on one of the most annoying lingering issues in San Francisco. But the joint meeting last week, while positive in tone, didn't solve the basic problem.

Under the city's Sunshine Ordinance, the task force investigates complaints about city agencies improperly withholding records or meeting in secret. Read more »

Arnold's big hoax

ENDORSEMENTS: Props. 1A-1F would damage public services and lock the state in a fiscal straightjacket -- forever. Vote no
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The choice facing California voters May 19 is, to put it mildly, unpleasant. The budget deal hammered out by the governor and legislative leaders — which these six ballot measures will confirm and implement — at least kept the state solvent and prevented a financial catastrophe. But the solution is just terrible, and will lock the state into a budgetary nightmare for years to come.

State Sen. Mark Leno, who supports the deal, makes no attempt to soft-peddle what went on here. Read more »

Slow down the solar project

Why is the Obama administration giving tax breaks for private projects that aren't available to cities?
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EDITORIAL The concept is so good it's hard to imagine why anyone would criticize it: the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission wants to cover the Sunset Reservoir with solar panels, creating the largest municipal solar generating project in the country. The money would come from existing SFPUC revenue — no new taxpayer dollars. Read more »

Gavin Newsom's Earth Day

Newsom has plenty of ideas for Detroit. We'd like to see him focus on San Francisco
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EDITORIAL Here's a snapshot of the state of green San Francisco, as we approach Earth Day 2009:

San Francisco ought to be getting $18 million a year for energy-efficiency programs, but the money instead goes to Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which is wasting half of it.

Mayor Gavin Newsom went to Washington, D.C. Read more »

What's Newsom got to offer?

The city's facing a deficit for fiscal 2009-10 of a staggering $438 million - and the mayor wants to keep his plans secret
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EDITORIAL The front-line city employees have stepped up to the plate. Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the largest of the city-worker unions, are discussing concessions worth close to $40 million, the equivalent of the raises they were set to get in next year's budget. Other unions will likely follow suit, meaning that as much as 20 percent of the city's budget deficit could come directly out of the pockets of city workers.

That was probably inevitable, and Local 1021 members were willing to give up pay increases to avoid further layoffs. Read more »