My list of New Year’s resolutions has been the same since about sixth grade: Stop cursing so much, lay off the Skittles and find a way to meet Patrick Dempsey.
I bring up the depressing fact that I never seem to keep a damn one of them because they are resolutions — that is, they are statements of sentiment that don’t amount to much without action.
The Board of Supervisors doesn’t need the prospect of a new year to consider a resolution; it does it all the time.
Some resolutions are necessary for a functioning government. Accepting a grant, transferring a liquor license and approving certain contracts are all done using a resolution. The board also uses resolutions to make statements of sentiment that, though often for good causes, are about as useful as my annual resolutions.
In 2009, the board passed a total of 515 resolutions. Here are some of my favorites:
On sports: The board congratulated Mike Singletary and Jed York for being named 49ers coach and team president, respectively. In another resolution, supervisors urged us to “vote for Pablo Sandoval to represent the Giants and San Francisco at the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.” (Attention Board of Supervisors: The wonks that read board resolutions are not the same people who vote on MLB All-Stars.)
On foreign policy: The Republic of San Francisco commended Iranian voters, denounced the coup d’etat in Honduras, supported Irish unification and urged withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan.
City Hall calendar: Did you know that March 16-20 was Mediation Week? It was! Also in March, we celebrated the Persian New Year Holiday of Nowruz; April 24 was Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day; and June through August was Soda Free Summer.
On restaurants: The board commended a bar called Moby Dick on 30 years of operation and service, and thanked city restaurants that have stopped serving foie gras.
Other governments: The board still likes to weigh in on state and federal government decisions, passing more than 20 resolutions directed at politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In this area, our love letters appear to be worse than futile — they may be the kiss of death. Only three of our 24 requests have become reality.
Most recently, the board passed a resolution “Urging the United States to Enter into a Strong International Treaty to Address Climate Change.” That it wasted paper making a futile statement in favor of the environment sure as hell gave this Skittle-eating Patrick Dempsey fan a good chuckle.
As we reflect on the year that was, let us take a moment to acknowledge some ideas that reared their heads and then disappeared:
1. The plan to rename Third Street “Willie L. Brown Jr. Boulevard.”
2. An (asinine) ordinance that would require downtown businesses to turn off their lights at night, else get ticketed.
3. Civilian oversight of BART police.
David Chiu: Resolve to get control of board meetings. Supervisors — most notably Chris Daly — talk, run around and leave in the middle of meetings like there’s a substitute teacher in charge. Michelle Pfeiffer in “Dangerous Minds” can be your inspiration.
Mistermayor: Resolve to enjoy your lame duck-ness. With no election looming, you can pretty much say and do anything you want. Let ’er rip, sir!
Sean Elsbernd: Resolve to pick a day and vote “yes” on everything. With a progressive majority at the board, your constant “no” votes are futile and predictable. Let’s spice things up, shall we? Also, declaring a “yes day” will confuse everyone and you will be asked to write a memoir. (See: Sophie Maxwell.)
Chris Daly: You are the gift that keeps on giving and shouldn’t change a thing.
Ross Mirkarimi and David Campos: Resolve to talk for no more than a total of one hour per meeting. You can divide the time between yourselves as you see fit. The sheer force of the yawns in the room when y’all start your extended speechifying could start a tidal wave.
Michela Alioto-Pier: Resolve to get me invited to a party at the Gettys. I know you read this. You can’t ignore me forever.