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How to fix San Francisco’s corruption problem

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San Francisco City Hall.(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Corruption. It’s as San Francisco as fog, organic produce and good weed. And by that I mean, it’s such a part of the culture here that we take it for granted. Of course we have good weed! Of course City Hall is corrupt! But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The corruption in this town has become unbearable. It’s so blatant that it’s hit a point of arrogance. The mayor and his cronies feel untouchable and because of this things are getting worse, far worse. And so I’ve come up with a three point plan on how to fix San Francisco’s corruption problem, but I’m gonna need your help to make it happen.

1. We need to elect our elected officials. Anytime a supervisor quits or leaves, (which they do all the time) the mayor gets to appoint somebody loyal to him. Since the mayor was given this power, 23 separate supervisors have been appointed in this manner. And of course the mayor’s appointed supervisors do whatever the mayor asks. So whenever a supervisor, quits, moves on to another office, or ahem…goes to jail for corruption, we need to hold a special election to replace them. It’s important that the people of San Francisco are electing their elected officials. Not the mayor.

2. San Francisco needs a public advocate. The public advocate is a badass who’s job is to investigate corruption on all levels and represent the people against the evil armies of bureaucracy. The public advocate (and his or her office) would address quality of life issues and hear public grievances by taking 311 calls. They would also sit at every Board of Supervisors meeting, weighing in on issues, but wouldn’t be able to vote on them. More importantly though the public advocate would be able to initiate investigations into both corruption and bureaucratic ineptitude, and we have plenty of both. Also, the public advocate would be able to introduce legislation that can be voted on by the BOS and signed by the mayor. Yeah, they’re basically Batman.

But this isn’t even a novel idea. Many other major cities like New York, Seattle and L.A. already have one. A public advocate would bring a better harmony to our system of checks and balances in San Francisco’s local government. And boy do we need it!

3. We need to start giving a shit. This is probably the most important one. The people and media of San Francisco can’t just accept this as business as usual. We need to get mad and we need to take action. San Francisco’s citizens can get involved by educating their friends and neighbors about what’s happening in The City and making their voices heard on election day. And the media needs to take some responsibility as well. When the Shrimp Boy allegations came out the other week The Chronicle didn’t just softball the issue, they little-leagued it. And that’s not OK. I know newspapers don’t have much money these days for investigative journalism, but it’s important now more than ever that voices with power continue to bring truth to the people and call out those who are doing wrong.

And that my friends is how we fix San Francisco’s corruption problem. Wanna learn more? Email me at Stuart@BrokeAssStuart.com.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in The San Francisco Examiner.

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