Compromised position

Mayor Lee's waffling on big issues is hurting the city's ability to cut the best deals for the public

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Mayor Lee's refusal to take a stand delayed the CPMC deal for months.
PHOTO BY TIM DAW

steve@sfbg.com

When Mayor Ed Lee came to the Board of Supervisors for his monthly "question time" appearance Feb. 12, Sup. David Chiu tried to get some sense of where the mayor stood on a controversial piece of legislation that would allow more condominium conversions.

Chiu explained the complexities and implications of an issue where the two sides have dug in and appear to have little common ground, and he asked the mayor for some guidance.

"What is your position on this pending legislation?" he asked. "What protections would you support to prevent the loss of rent-controlled housing in our increasingly unaffordable city? How would you address the concern that if we allow the current generation of tenancy in common owners to convert, we will replace then with a new generation of TIC owners and additional real estate investments that will lead us right back to an identical debate within a short time?"

But if Chiu and other board members were looking for leadership, direction or a clue of where the mayor might stand, they didn't get it. Lee said he understood both sides of the issue and hoped they could reach a consensus solution — without offering any hints what they might look like or how to achieve it. "I can't say that I have a magic solution to this issue that will make everyone happy," the city's chief executive explained.

Asked by the Guardian afterward why he didn't take a position and whether he might be more specific about how he'd like to see this conflict resolved, he replied, "I actually did take a position, even though it didn't sound like it, because I actually believe they have good points on both sides."

That's a typical answer for a mayor who rose to power preaching the virtues of civility and compromise and striving to replace political conflict with consensus. But now several major, seemingly intractable issues are facing the city — and insiders say Lee's refusal to take a strong stand is undermining any chance for successful.

The lack of mayoral leadership has been maddening to both sides involved in the negotiations over the condo-conversion legislation. Tenant advocates say the mayor's waffling hardened the positions on both sides and emboldened the group Plan C and its allies in the real estate industry to reject the compromises offered by supervisors and tenant advocates.

"It's very unhelpful," San Francisco Tenants Union head Ted Gullicksen said of Lee's refusal to take a stand. "Someone needs to kick the realtors in the butt, and that's not happening. They have no impetus at all to compromise."

Then there's the case of California Pacific Medical Center's proposed new hospital, a billion-dollar project that would transform the Cathedral Hill neighborhood and have lasting impacts on health care in San Francisco.

The mayor's eagerness to get the deal done — even if it wasn't the best deal for the city — led to a proposal that fell apart last year under scrutiny by the Board of Supervisors. That project has now been in mediation for months — and sources tell us they're getting close to a deal that has little resemblance to the anything offered by the Mayor's Office.

California Nurses Association Director of Public Policy Michael Lighty, who has been involved with the CPMC negotiations, said Lee's unwillingness to take a strong and clear stand, or to help mediate the dispute once the deal blew up, is why this negotiation has been so difficult and protracted.

"If he had engaged stakeholders and the supervisors, we wouldn't have had to go to the brink last summer," he said. "You've got to have clear objectives and be willing to fight for those, and that means saying no...If you're willing to accept any deal and just put political spin on it, this is what you get."

 

 

Comments

Everyone knows Mirkarimi was fired over this exact issue, that there were issues on which he did not believe in compromise, and not over some trumped up sketchy domestic violence charge, which not only made the mayor look stupid, but also perfidious.

Mayor Ed Lee is ultimately in the pocket of outsider tea bag billionaire "decline to states."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

These frauds know that what they stand for is wrong and unpopular.

They pretend to be "moderates" because they cunningly reckon that such is the most advantageous mantle for them to wear as they do their masters' bidding.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

He probably planned many controversial and alternatve measures, but now he is scared shitless to enact anything that will get his name in the press, so he keeps a very low profile.

Lee won even by losing - he has neutered the Mirk and left him as a lame duck. And Mirk can only blame himself.

Posted by anon on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

Lee has gone from "Winning without Conflict" to "winning by losing." At least we are headed in the right direction.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... to ANON: You are so correct when it comes to the GRAND SHERIFF ...

What do I mean .... look at his video where DPH breaks the LAW on 8/15 (notice the Sheriff's office and SFPD present ) .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cP3jCmJFRo . Didn't Ross fight against the RIGGED and CORRUPT system at ETHICS ???? What about this ?

Oh, that is right ... HE had a meeting and TRIED to HANDLE me as opposed to perform and then as an addition CUP of POISON sent me back to the LAWBREAKERS (see the 6 videos) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xax7ksytpu4 and as of TODAY ... ROSS still won't have a followup meeting to discuss the FAILURE and NON HELP.

So I DRANK his CUP of POISON only for DPH to do the SAME LAWBREAKING ACTIVITY as before on 12/19 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFd-KtS8Zss

I can NOT even get walked ACROSS the street by the SHERIFF to DPH .

Now ask me if I have been to DAVID CHIU'S Office regarding the FAILED CIVIL GIDEON that his office sent me to.

Look at the rest of the youtube videos to see how the system is RIGGED ... look at the SFPD videos, the OCC videos, the Sheriff videos ...

Keep DRINKING the KOOL AID ...

Enjoy ...

P.S. I have continued to post and just as the kid who stated that the EMPEROR wears no clothes ... NO ONE is LISTENING, HEARING nor CARING ...

If you'd like you can call 554-7225 and ask why I still DO NOT HAVE A FOLLOWUP MEETING with the SHERIFF who expressed such concern ... unless that too WASN'T TRUE. Shall we judge by DEEDS and not the MEANINGLESS WORDS I receieved from the city handlers when I meet with the SHERIFF on 11/27 ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYC-syG0D7Y (watch ALL six videos ... then watch the videos with me trying to followup ... then you will see )

Where is MY SHERIFF ??? Where is JUSTICE, the RULE of LAW and ANY HUMANITY?

Keep DRINKING the KOOL AID ...

Oh and for good measure ... go to http://www.myownprivateguantanamo.com to see that this is NOT the FIRST TIME the city BREAKS the LAW and leaves it VICTIM for DEAD ...

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Mar. 11, 2013 @ 8:17 am

A nebulous real estate wheeler dealer with some sort of crazy link to a bribing, money laundering teabag Las Vegas Macau gangster piece of sh*T ...

(http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1300514/000119312513087854/d44840... )

...is mounting yet another attack on liberal San Francisco through the same immoral mortgage schemes and frauds they used to line their pockets while the whole world collapsed.

How do you compromise with that?

The real reason Mirkarimi was fired was because they were uncomfortable with the thought that they may someday be under his legal custody.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

People will continue to make $100 a night or more from their spare bedrooms just because they can. Chui is wasting his time trying to control that.

Posted by anon on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

about anything and everything.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

If Avalos were Mayor, SF would be in a recession now, instead of boomng.

Posted by anon on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

After all, I think it is safe to say that a lot of people will automatically side with the opposite of what the Mayor wants. So by his adding his two cents, he is skewing public sentiment, not unlike Republicans who are much more hostile to ideas supported by Obama, but significantly more receptive to the same idea if Obama's fingerprints are nowhere to be found.

just a thought

Posted by GuestD on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

behooves him to remain above the fray, and just get on with getting things done.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

...not getting things done.

Posted by steven on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

including the boom in the local economy, new high-tech jobs, the recovery of SF RE, many on-stream new developments and the evident revitilization of Mid-Market, plus the Warriors deal, a balanced budget and a better spirit between his office and the board.

Or are you nostalgically pining for the good ol' days of Gavin?

Either way, Lee crushed Avalos at the polls. Or does that not matter to you, because you know better than the people and voters of this city?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

While Lee may be responsible for bringing in a lot of tech jobs and such, it is just exactly this action that has thrown SF housing right up into the gutter. He may have improved the economy for a particular industry, but, in general he has sent this city into a nasty downward spiral. And in fact, he may have enticed all of these big tech firms to come here, but he is allowing them NOT to pay any payroll tax!! Now if that is not pandering to some very specific people i dont know what is. He is working for the big developers and not the residents. THAT is a FACT! BOOO. Shame on you Ed Lee. You shouldnt even be our mayor because you PROMISED that you were not going to RUN... REMEMBER?? Started off with a lie... and it goes on and on and on....

Posted by bluepearlgirl on Mar. 11, 2013 @ 8:29 am

Yeah....actually nobody is paying any payroll tax anymore since the voters overturned it last November. Thanks for your post anyway, even though there wasn't much in it that was actually true. But A+ for enthusiasm.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 11, 2013 @ 9:51 am

The new business tax system is being phased in so companies are subject to the payroll tax for a couple more years. Also, many large companies such as GAP were exempted from the new gross receipts tax and will continue to use the payroll tax system with lower tax rates.

SFBG could do a community service by updating the status negotiations on the new tax regulations, the most important part of the new law where all of the loopholes and "tax planning opportunties" are created.

Posted by Troll 2 on Mar. 11, 2013 @ 10:12 am