By G.W. Schulz
> Homicides are up 20 percent this year over the same time last year, and much of it cannot be blamed on gang violence, according to the Chron, which suggests, like it or not, that City Attorney Dennis Herrera's gang injunctions can go only so far. It's hardly July, but we'll put good money on any bet that the mayor won't be cheerfully taking credit for the city's homicide rate next January. As usual, we should make clear that this conversation still doesn't take into account nonfatal shooting injuries. San Francisco General does a remarkable job saving people who've been shot, meaning the homicide rate is not really a reliable indicator by itself of how well the city's doing on street-level violence.
> We saw the mayor yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce downtown where he extolled the virtues of community courts, joined by Public Defender Jeff Adachi and former District 6 candidate Rob Black, who didn't say a whole lot, at least while we were there. The mayor showed up 40 minutes or so late, chewed absent-mindedly on an apple provided by Safeway, escaped to the hall for a little phone chatter, then gave five minutes of platitudes referring to how he wasn't going to let skeptics slow his quality-of-life initiatives. ("For those who believe walking away from the problem is solving the problem, we will prove them wrong.") It's not necessary to state here whether or not community courts are fundamentally a good or bad idea, although there certainly are critics. I know I'm open to the idea of getting defendants out of the hyper-expensive world of criminal defense at the Hall of Justice that leaves so many people in jail for months while awaiting trial, which itself might or might not go well depending on how committed their court-appointed attorney is if they're not wealthy enough to hire their own. But as far as logistics (and the mayor's Hump Day) go, the Examiner pointed out smartly this morning that state law could pose some serious problems for the community-courts plan, which so far has been a major part of Gavin's reelection strategy.
"One of the obstacles San Francisco faces is that state law dictates that all infractions — crimes such as urinating in public, sleeping on the sidewalk or aggressive panhandling — can only carry a penalty fine. That means a police officer cannot take a person committing such a crime into custody and bring them before the Community Justice Center judge. Nor can The City use the threat of incarceration to encourage those committing infractions to seek services."
Damn! Stupid Constitution and its two centuries of time-tested procedural rules!
>The Gavster proclaimed today that Sup. Ed Jew's battle to prove he actually "lives" in the Sunset was a "benign thing" compared to the FBI's ongoing probe into whether or not Jew solicited graft from a pair of entrepreneurs doing business in the district he's supposed to be representing. We don't have much of a foot fetish, Mr. Mayor, so when you dislodge your own foot from your mouth, let us know what it tastes like. After a years-long fight to establish district elections, residents here might prefer that someone claiming to represent their district actually live in their district. Not to mention, the district attorney and city attorney don't seem to think it's such a "benign thing." Jew's lawyer, Steven Gruel, seized on the opportunity anyway telling the Chron:
"It's not only trivial, the issue is nonexistent. That's a victory on this front that we moved the mayor off of that issue and on to the next."
Not so fast, pal. The mayor simply said maybe Jew's residency problem wasn't as bad as the possibility that he demanded payment for a park project in exchange for smoothing permit hurdles. Everyone else is saying both issues smell pretty bad. Nice try, though.
> None of the aforementioned mayoral headlines appeared on the Chron's front page, however, so the mayor should still consider it a plus that the task force he formed to determine how far the city needs to go in demanding green standards from local developers did make it onto the front page. And so far, the task force's conclusions look good, considering the panel was actually made up of developers. If city leaders agree with the task force's recommendations, then San Francisco would be ahead of the nation in rigorous building standards, with private and commercial developers falling into the scope of the requirements along with local government buildings. Gold LEED standard requirements could be in place by 2012. Good work, Mr. Mayor, if things work out. Seriously.