San Francisco

The Chronicle's dishonest hit on district elections

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The move to get rid of district elections – which is based entirely on the fact that big business and more conservative voices (including the Chron) don’t like the progressive policy positions of the current board – is now well under way. The Chron devoted its Insight section to the issue Feb. Read more »

Who cares about SF's (black and brown) prisoners? Part 2

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Eileen Hirst of the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office just sent me statistics that prove that the majority of folks sitting in our county jails are black men awaiting trial -- statistics that underscore the extent to which the “let’s not rebuild the prison” debate really is racially tinged:

“On any given day, we have about 2000 to 2100 people in custody,” Hirst said, noting that the two jails at the center of the debate only house male prisoners. Read more »

Who cares about San Francisco's (black and brown) prisoners?

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I knew Sup. Chris Daly was going to get slammed for his Feb. 23 vote against placing a $412 million earthquake-safety bond measure on the June ballot. I knew it when I heard him say the following: ''I care more about the people at the jail, the people who are there involuntarily, if we have a seismic incident, then I do about the rest of the people at 850 Bryant."Read more »

The "Newsom wins" merry-go-round: What fun

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Gavin Newsom still hasn’t said for sure that he’s in the race for lt. governor, although just about everyone in town now thinks he's going for it.

But the very prospect of the mayor leaving office before his term is up has the political classes speculating: Who gets that job? And how does it happen?

It’s actually pretty interesting. Read more »

Newsom's $72 million corporate giveaway

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City economist Ted Egan yesterday released his analysis of the payroll tax exemption for new hires that Mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed, one of several business tax cut proposals that we discuss in this week’s Guardian. Egan estimates that the net revenue loss (which takes into account taxes paid by the new hires) to the city would be $72 million over the next two years.

“The proposed policy will have a strong positive effect on local hiring, albeit at a steep costs the City’s General Fund,” Egan wrote, later adding, “The policy would also make the City’s serious current budget deficit worse, and likely lead to significant employment reductions in the City’s workforce.” Read more »

"Whatever happened to my sanctuary city amendment?"

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Yesterday, Sup. David Campos called for a status report on steps taken by San Francisco’s Juvenile Probation Department to implement an ordinance that the Board passed last fall to protect the confidentiality of juveniles’ immigration status.

And it already sounds like JPD has done nothing to implement it—and isn’t planning to, either, any time soon.

Campos announced that he met with Juvenile Probation Department (JPD) Chief William Siffermann today, and Siffermann told him that he had no intention of complying with the ordinance, which the Board passed Nov. 10, 2009.

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Gavin for Lite Guv?

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Willie Brown thinks it's a good idea. And you can tell Newsom wants to consider it, since he knows there's nothing else obvious for him to do once his term as mayor is up -- and there are going to be a lot of options not too far down the road. Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn't getting any younger, and at some point she'll retire. If Jerry Brown doesn't get elected governor, the Democrats will be looking for someone very different in four years. But once a politician like Newsom is out of office and out of the spotlight, he'll have a hard time coming back.

So he could sit up there in the Lite Gov's office, doing what John Garamendi did -- taking on issues like cuts to the University of California (the Lt. Gov. sits on the Board of Regents) and making speeches about reform, and maybe he could get out in front of this constitutional convention stuff, and keep his name in the news, without having to make a single difficult or unpleasant decision that he can be blamed for later.

You know he wants to do it ....

But there's this problem, and for Newsom, it's very real.

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The attack on district elections begins

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I knew it was coming. After ten years of district-elected supervisors promoting progressive policies (minimum wage and sick day laws, universal health care, tenant protections, public power, development limits, affordable housing etc.) downtown has finally figured out how to launch a counter-attack. It was announced this morning in the pages of the Chronicle

I knew it was coming. After ten years of district-elected supervisors promoting progressive policies (minimum wage and sick day laws, universal health care, tenant protections, public power, development limits, affordable housing etc.) downtown has finally figured out how to launch a counter-attack. It was announced this morning in the pages of the Chronicle

The idea is to replace some of the district supes with at-large representatives – say, four of the 11. That Chamber of Commerce is doing a poll on the issue. Expect a November ballot initiative.

C.W. Nevius chimed in, too, arguing in favor of the “hybrid” (sounds so much like an eco-friendly car) system.

The line is going to be this: District supervisors don’t pay attention to citywide issues.

"People like the idea of being able to talk to a district supervisor about neighborhood problems, but also feel that they want someone they can go to with broader, citywide concerns," said Steve Falk, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Or as Nevius puts it:

The truth is that San Francisco has more supervisors than any county in California. Is it too much to ask that a few of them have the entire city's best interest in mind?

Let’s consider for a moment what this is really about.

Read more »