When the news broke last week that the Internal Revenue Service had inappropriately reviewed the tax-exempt status of various far-right groups, an immediate cry went out for heads to roll — and they did, as acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller was ousted Wednesday. It was a natural and rational response to a profound breach of public trust. Read More
In Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors debate over the personal use of furniture, some supervisors took up hours for their own personal use. Read More
According to California Watch, an affiliate of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the California Teachers Association was the state’s most generous political contributor between 2001 and 2011. The total amount calculated by California Watch doesn’t even include the $75 million that the group un-ironically spent last fall to defeat a ballot measure that would prohibit public employee unions from contributing to political campaigns. Read More
Dear Supervisor John Avalos,
I watched your performance at the May 2 hearing of the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee with amusement. I use the word “performance” because your eye-rolling, peacocking, disrespectful demeanor toward Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Bill Siffermann and Assistant Chief Allen Nance was not your usual style. Luckily, they are used to dealing with juveniles. Read More
I’m definitely in favor of abortion rights, but I understand that abortion is a complicated subject over which reasonable minds can differ. However, there were few, if any, reasonable minds at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting commenting on a recent abortion-related law.
The law at issue would expand the size of the “bubble zone” around the entrances of reproductive health care facilities from 8 feet to 25 feet. People are not permitted to demonstrate, picket or distribute literature inside that bubble zone. Read More
Each year, 164,000 Californians serve on a jury out of 10 million who are summoned, according to the California Judicial Council. With a dramatic set of filters to get down to the final number, a larger pool of potential jurors sounds like a good thing. While the council wasn’t consulted about the proposal, on this past Wednesday, the California Assembly passed a bill to allow “lawfully present immigrants” to serve on juries. The vote was 45-25 along party lines with Democrats supporting the measure. Read More
April 15 wasn’t just Tax Day, it was the deadline for public officials to file their statement of economic interests. State law requires anyone serving in elected office or appointed to a commission to announce any gifts, property or income other than what he or she earns as a public servant. The files are all publicly available on the Ethics Commission website, and here are a few insights from the finances of our leaders in 2012. Read More
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, board President David Chiu told Mayor Ed Lee about his recent experience with community budgeting, whereby citizens get to decide how to spend a certain amount of money from city coffers.
Recently, after years in office, members of the Board of Supervisors have taken a shine to divestment of The City’s public-pension money as a way to punish certain industries. For instance, the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System has about $15 billion in assets, and the supervisors don’t want that money going to gun and bullet manufacturers or fossil fuel companies.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to regulate assault weapons was considered Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, where it failed, as did proposals to expand background checks. During the debate over the assault weapons ban, Feinstein made the case for a single federal standard. Read More
After I finished the Bay to Breakers 12-kilometer run last year, I felt qualified to be a Navy SEAL. Granted, I was soundly beaten by a number of children under 10 years old, and passed by a man walking backwards on stilts, but it was the longest distance I had ever run at once. Read More
This week, Gov. Jerry Brown practically declared defeat in his effort to reform the California Environmental Quality Act this year. With the continued struggle for CEQA reform in San Francisco, it seems that increasingly, politics in our fair city is in lockstep with the state.
State government is often funny, but rarely on purpose.
So you can imagine my delight when last Thursday’s Assembly session took a delightful turn during the hazing of new lawmakers. Each freshman member who stood to introduce his or her first bill was peppered with goofy and seemingly good-natured questions followed by an overwhelming “no” vote that was changed to a “yes” vote by members after giving each plebe a few minutes to sweat. Read More
Last weekend, Supervisor Mark Farrell threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener of our beloved Giants. If that doesn’t inspire some of you to run for office, I don’t know what will.
In early February, state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco quietly opened a campaign account called Mark Leno for Lieutenant Governor 2018. He told me he wouldn’t run when the position is next up for election in 2014 because he plans to serve out his current and final term as state senator, which ends in 2016.