Guardian editorial: City Hall's 2012 agenda


EDITORIAL There's so much on the to-do list for San Francisco in 2012 that it's hard to know where to start. This is a city in serious trouble, with unstable finances, a severe housing crisis, increased poverty and extreme wealth, a shrinking middle class, crumbling and unreliable infrastructure, a transportation system that's a mess, no coherent energy policy — and a history of political stalemate from mayors who have refused to work with progressives on the Board of Supervisors.

Now that Ed Lee has won a four-year term, he and the supervisors need to start taking on some of the major issues — and if the mayor wants to be successful, he needs to realize that he can't be another Gavin Newsom, or Willie Brown, mayors who were an obstacle  to real reform.

Here are just a few of the things the mayor and the board should put on the agenda for 2012:

+Fill Sup. Ross Mirkarimi's seat with an economic progressive. This will be one of the first and most telling moves of the new Lee administration — and it's critical that the mayor appoint a District 5 supervisor who is a credible progressive, someone who supports higher taxes on the rich and better city services for the needy and is independent of Lee's more dubious political allies.

+Make the local tax code more fair — and bring in some new revenue. Everybody's talking about changing the payroll tax, which makes sense: Only a small fraction of city businesses even pay the tax (which is not a "job killer" but is far too limited). Sup. David Chiu had a good proposal last year that he abandoned; it called for a gross receipts tax combined with a commercial rent tax — a way to get big landlords and companies (like law firms) that pay no business tax at all to contribute their fair share. That's a good starting point — but in the end, the city needs more money, and the new system should be set up to bring in at least $100 million more a year.

+Create a linkage between affordable and market-rate housing. This has to be one of the key priorities for the next year: San Francisco's housing stock is way out of balance, and it getting worse. The city's own General Plan mandates that 60 percent of all new housing should be available at below-market-rate prices; the best San Francisco ever gets from the developers of condos for the rich is 20 percent. The supervisors need to enact legislation tying the construction of new market-rate housing to an acceptable minimum level of affordable housing to keep the city from becoming a place where only the very rich can live.

+Demand a good community-benefits agreement from CPMC. The California Pacific Medical Center has a massive new hospital project planned for Van Ness Avenue — and so far, CPMC officials are refusing to provide the housing, transportation and public health mitigations that the city is asking for. This will be a key test of the new Lee administration — the mayor has to demonstrate that he's willing to play hardball, and refuse to allow the project to move forward unless hospital officials reach agreement with community activists on an acceptable benefits agreement.

+Make CleanEnergySF work. A recent study by the website Energy Self-Reliant States shows that by 2017 — in just five years — the cost of solar energy in San Francisco will drop below the cost of Pacific Gas and Electric Company's fossil-fuel and nuclear mix. So the city's new electricity program, CleanEnergySF, needs to be planning now to build out both a large-scale solar infrastructure system and small-scale distributed generation facilities on residential and commercial roofs and set the agenda of offering clean, cheaper energy to everyone in the city. The money from the city's generation can be used to purchase distribution facilities to phase out PG&E altogether.

+Don't let Oracle Corp. take over even more of the waterfront. The America's Cup continues to move forward — but at every step of the way, multibillionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is trying to squeeze the city for more. Mayor Lee has to make it clear: We've given one of the richest people in the world vast amounts of valuable real estate already. He doesn’t need a giant TV screen in the Bay or more land swaps or more city benefits. Enough is enough.

There's plenty more, but even completing part of this list would put the city on the right road forward. Happy new year.




He's under no obligation to listen to the little squeaks coming from the progressive mice.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 02, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

Impish little creep. How sad.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Jan. 02, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

Why is it the mayors job to work with the BOS? It's the other way around

Posted by Guest on Jan. 02, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

left-wing than the Mayor, and so Bruce thinks the Mayor should simply follow them.

Which is why Lee has all the power and Bruce is just an angry bitter old windbag.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 02, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

Not to over beat anything that has been said many times in these comments, but when the Mayor's office was vacant the SFBG and other Progressive leaders were very strongly in favor of ignoring the will of the electorate and appointing a Pprogressive to replace him, someone very different from Newsom. This, in spite of the fact that Newsom had been reelected with over 70% and a similar number in the city's Lt Gov vote.

So there seems to be one standard of what someone 'must' do if the open seat is a Progressive as opposed to if the vacancy had been held by a Moderate.

Not trying to start the New Year on a discordant note, just trying to illustrate why some people have a hard time taking the political writings of the SFBG seriously.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 10:51 am

That if Lee doesn't appoint a "homegrown" "progressive" to that seat he is going to move to that district and run for it.

The really is no reason to take progressive "values" seriously.

It's about getting over.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 11:29 am

And that he fumbled the ball to give Lee power.

He's a dried-up old has-been.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

Buys foreclosed houses in Fairfield, sends kids to school in Fairfield when they get old enough to go to SF schools.

Buys below market rate housing on Duboce and Valencia for him and his family, now threatens to move so he can run in another district.

Wants one of his own in in mayors office one short year ago, but is upset that Lee might appoint someone other than a progressive to Mirkirimi's seat.

Wants a homegrown progressive in Mirkirimi's seat, but all the progressives supervisors are from someplace else. Daly from Maryland, Avalos from LA, etc...

Posted by matlock on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

so what...your point?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 2:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

Else he'd have run for Mayor or Assmebly, rather than being a barman.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

I predict that he will be either mayor of SF or a CA assemblyman one day. Daly has always been and will be a force to contend with.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

I needed a good laugh today. Chris Daly as mayor!! Yeah - that'll happen.

He barely won re-election to his Supervisor seat when he last ran.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

SFBG is an objective news organ in theory only. In practice they seek to inlfuence power in the direction they like, even while they know in their hearts that their views are a fringe minority.

So the hypocrisy that you perceptively observed means nothing to them. They just want to win and if the truth gets sacrificed in the process, they don't care.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Progressive is the new non-progression

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 11:59 am

For instance, they'd rather keep decrepit, victorian housing for poor people than build new homes for the successful. They're thrilled when they can delay, defer to stop new development.

They want to stop this city in time and never let it grow or flourish.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

by that logic, Ed Lee is the progressive, commie pinko, eh?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

So if the left always oppose development, new projects, new businesses etc. then it's reasonable to dismiss them as NIMBY conservatives.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

I've always wanted to live in San Francisco. I can't wait for the affordable housing so I can get out of the burbs. Thanks!

Posted by Guest Valentinne on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

San Francsico needs to do alot, they have a big job, a really big job.

Posted by garrett on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 11:50 am