It's official: SF follows the stimpack money.


A graph on the Mayor's Office's newly launched website seeks to break it all down.

Text by Sarah Phelan

So, finally, the Mayor’s Office has launched a website to track stimpack dollars that are coming to San Francisco based on census data (formula funding), or that can be competed for locally.

So far the newly launched website breaks down the dollars by the following categories: public safety, environment, education, housing, health and human services and transportation. It's a good start.

What the site does not do is break down the dollars according to whether they are going to create green collar jobs. Such jobs been defined by Van Jones, Obama''s new Green Collar czar, as, " a family-supporting, career-track job that directly contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality."

I realize it’s early days and the city may truly not have a handle on this crucial date yet, and I'm trying to practice what Jones, who likes metaphors involving ships, (the Amistad, the Titanic, and Noah's Ark all get invoked in Jones The Green Collar Economy,) calls "the Noah principles.

These five principles can be summed up thus: "fewer issues, more solutions; fewer demands, more goals; fewer targets, more partners; less accusation, more confession; and less cheap patriotism, more deep patriotism."

So, in the spirit of Jones, Noah and what feels like the sinking ship of San Francisco's economy, can we, the people, pretty please, soon have the following:

A) a category on the website where folks can see the number of green-collar jobs created with these funds.
B) consensus on what percentage of the stimpack dollars should go towards green collar job creation.
C) an opportunity for the community to identify projects that they believe would heal the planet and create green-collar jobs
D) a forum where folks running training programs and dealing with labor issues can share the challenges they face in creating and sustaining green-collar jobs in the current economy..
E) an honest examination of where the folks filling the city's newly created green collar jobs are coming from.

Meanwhile, it’s worth visiting the WhiteHouse’s stimpack tracking site—if only to get a nice follow up call from the folks at Onvia, the private company that manages that database.

I got such a call yesterday morning from Onvia's Hussain Zaidi, who told me Onvia is a private company that manages the largest database tracking federal, state and local government money. (And apparently is checking to see who visits the websites it has created.)

“We were part of the team that lobbied for transparency,” Zaidi told me, noting that thousands of projects have appeared in the WhiteHouse’s recovery database in the last few weeks, and that the folks at Onvia have noted, “confusion at every level,” and “less clarity that people would like,” as folks try to follow the stimpack funds.

So, apparently, folks in San Francisco aren't the only ones feeling spun.

The WhiteHouse site also has links to sites that share information about grants, contracts and benefit opportunities.

Last but not least, the Mayor's Office's website also links to a state website that tracks California's stimpack dollars.

So, while we all may want still mo' info, this sure beats the darkness we were all cast into during the Bush years.