The progressive wing of the Board of Supervisors (including, to her credit, Sup. Jane Kim) has placed three important reform measures on the November ballot. That the measures are headed for the voters is a clear indication of the shift of power at the board — progressives no longer have a reliable six votes. But the progressives still have the ability to push issues — and in an mayoral election year, these measures will provide a valuable gauge for the candidates and create broad-based organizing opportunities.Read more »
Supervisor John Avalos and state Senator Leland Yee, who are both running for mayor, picked up on a populist issue last week, blasting away at Muni for paying outgoing chief Nathaniel Ford a whopping $384,000 severance. "With $384,000," Yee's website lamented, "the entire city of San Francisco could park free of charge for three days. Muni could be entirely free for a whole day. We could stripe seven miles of new bike lanes."Read more »
The San Francisco City Planning Commission hearing June 9 on California Pacific Medical Center's expansion plans was remarkable — both in the comments that the commissioners had and in the mind-boggling arrogance of the giant hospital chain.Read more »
EDITORIAL Mayor Ed Lee got his start as a lawyer working on tenant issues. He understands the city's rent laws and the shortage of affordable housing. He also knows or ought to know that when the city's tenant groups are unanimously opposed to a project, elected officials who care about tenant rights should pay attention.
The Parkmerced project will be a clear test: Does he follow his activist roots, stick with the people he started with and show his independence or side with the big out-of-town developer and allow the project to move forward?
EDITORIAL The California initiative process is broken. The state's too big, and it costs too much to gather signatures and mount a media campaign for or against a ballot measure.
But in San Francisco, the initiative process has traditionally been, and for the most part continues to be, a check on corrupt or ineffective political leaders and a chance for progressive reforms that can't make it through City Hall. That's why Sup. Scott Wiener's proposal to allow the supervisors to amend (or, in theory, abolish) laws passed by the voters is a bad idea.
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The moment Ed Lee accepted the job as interim mayor — with the strong support of former Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak — we knew that the word "interim" would soon be in play.
Lee promised he wouldn't run in November, and for some supervisors (particularly Sean Elsbernd, who nominated Lee) that was a deal breaker: Elsbernd told us he wouldn't vote for anyone who wanted to seek a full term. But immediately some of Lee's supporters began pushing him — quietly and not-so-quietly — to go back on his word and announce his candidacy.Read more »
The latest video of a police arrest in a Tenderloin hotel room — this one apparently showing police officers entering a room without a warrant, attacking an unarmed bystander, and stealing a resident's duffle bag — has set off a wide range of investigations. But what's really disturbing is that the video is all too typical of what seems to be business as usual among undercover narcotics detectives. In fact, a series of recent security videos show San Francisco cops doing one thing — and reporting something else.Read more »
EDITORIAL The president of the state Senate, Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), has a bill that could profoundly change that way California pays for government. At lot of insiders think it's just a ploy, a way to force Republicans to come to the table and accept some tax measures, but Steinberg appears serious. He's presenting the bill to the Governance and Finance Committee May 4, and a simple party-line majority vote could get it to the governor's desk.Read more »
A few years back, when Aaron Peskin was president of the Board of Supervisors, he decided that the contract to perform budget and policy analysis ought to go out to bid. Supporters of longtime budget analyst Harvey Rose were aghast — Rose, by all accounts, does a great job watching the city's dollars and helping the supervisors evaluate proposals. He has more than 30 years of institutional knowledge and memory; the very thought of replacing him seemed insane.Read more »
EDITORIAL Mayor Ed Lee has released a draft set of proposals for pension reform, and union leaders continue to meet with financier Warren Hellman to try to craft an alternative. Meanwhile, Public Defender Jeff Adachi is narrowing his options and appears ready to move forward to put his own plan on the ballot.Read more »