The first round of campaign contribution reports have been filed for November’s Board of Supervisor elections and they are full of fascinating information. One of the most interesting questions suggested by all the data is which supervisors could vote in favor of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi when the board soon considers whether to sustain his suspension for official misconduct. Read More
Proposition 32 on November’s ballot would prohibit unions and corporations from using money deducted from employee paychecks for state and local “political purposes” broadly defined as giving money to candidates, candidate campaigns or independent expenditure committees.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the proposition also “prohibits government contractors (including public sector labor unions with collective bargaining contracts) from making contributions to local officials who play a role in awarding their contracts.” Read More
Last week, the Board of Supervisors considered three Planning Commission appointments: Cindy Wu from the Chinatown Community Development Center; Richard Hillis, former deputy director of the Office of Economic Workforce Development; and three-term commissioner and dentist Michael Antonini. Read More
The Golden State cities of Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino have all declared bankruptcy, and city leaders in Compton are publicly pondering that option as well. Basically the roster of California cities has become a game of dead pool to see which one will drop next. Read More
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors passed a two-year budget that assumed a 7.5 percent return on investment for its public-pension fund in the 2013-14 fiscal year. But even before it passed, it was already off by millions of dollars.
As state and local pension funds began reporting their rates of return for the fiscal year that ended June 30, the bad news kept on coming. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System posted a return rate of 1.8 percent, and California Public Employees’ Retirement System posted just a 1 percent return. Read More
Now that ballot propositions for November’s election have been given names, the real campaigning can begin.
Already, a group of folks supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, has filed to go after a competing tax proposal, Proposition 38, sponsored by Molly Munger, a civil-rights attorney. Anti-tax groups will go after both. Read More
From the looks of the headlines, anyone visiting San Francisco would think our mayor is on trial. Events at the Ethics Commission hearings over whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi should be permanently removed from office have been a source of controversy from the start, but after Mayor Ed Lee testified about why he suspended Mirkarimi in the first place, things really got heated. Read More
Mark Berndt was a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles when it was discovered that he possessed dozens of inappropriate pictures of students. He was suspended in February 2011. He had been cited for inappropriate conduct before, as far back as 1994.
But none of that was in the charges supporting his termination. Under current rules, nothing more than four years old can be used in such hearings. Read More
The atmosphere was jovial and insular last Thursday afternoon as supporters of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi sat on the ground or in lawn chairs outside the hearing room where the Ethics Commission would soon consider whether he should be permanently removed from office. Read More
Even the presiding officer of the Senate knew that Assembly Bill 1499 was despicable. Before beginning to vote on the proposal, he reminded our right honorable California senators that chamber rules prohibit members from “impugning motives of members,” “engaging in personalities” (which explains so much), and “personal attacks” or “indecent or profane language.”
I can tell you that no profanity was used in the passage of the bill, which now awaits the governor’s signature. But it should have been. Read More
Rainbow flag, colorful chatter
The annual Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride Breakfast is one of my favorite events of the year. Amid the festive air of the parade, gaggles of politically minded locals meet at Yank Sing on Spear Street at the crack of dawn to schmooze, gossip and make promises to get drinks with each other soon.
Important people try to make speeches at the event, but they are usually ignored as the room itself absorbs sound and the people in it are absorbed in conversations. But that’s all right because what really matters are the pictures. Read More
I imagine the mayor of San Jose must have felt a restrained happiness on June 5 when his proposal to revamp public employee pensions passed with 69 percent of the vote. He publicly anticipated the lawsuits that were filed in the days and weeks following the election. In fact, on Election Day, the city filed its own lawsuit in federal court seeking a declaration that the measure is legal. Read More
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor John Avalos derailed a final vote on a tax break for small businesses, claiming it is unfunded and unnecessary. And Avalos is an expert on unfunded and unnecessary legislation. Read More
Can we all just hold hands for a minute and agree that there is a limit on what we can afford to pay public employees? On the generosity of tenure and work rules? On their retiree health care and pensions? Because I wonder if some public employee unions even understand the concept of finite resources. Read More
With the overwhelming voter endorsement of pension reforms in San Jose and San Diego, folks here in San Francisco might be thinking, “Thank goodness we passed our own reform — Proposition C — last November.” Well, as was pointed out in this column and in public statements by Jeff Adachi and even mayoral candidate Joanna Rees, Prop. C was founded on the fanciful notion that we could continue to assume a 7.75 percent return on pension fund investments. Read More