San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi just launched an effort to put a measure on November’s ballot that would increase the amount of money city employees must pay for retirement benefits. Recently, he sat down with me to discuss the initiative.What exactly does your proposal do? Read More
Proposition G on the June 8 ballot is a policy statement saying: “Dear Quentin Kopp, the San Francisco stop on the high-speed rail line is going to be that Transbay Terminal spot on Mission and First streets that we’ve had our heart set on for years. Seriously, stop mucking this up.” Read More
Greeted by a hearty round of applause, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier made her first appearance Tuesday at a Board of Supervisors meeting since having been out sick for a few months. She thanked several people and said, “I’ve really missed being here.”She may be looking to be there for several more years. Read More
With Meg Whitman inching past Jerry Brown in the polls, Democrats are rightfully concerned. Whitman has engaged in a media blitz not seen since Ross Perot bought airtime to show us pie charts and Texas politics, “If you see a snake, just kill it — don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”
If Whitman’s campaign strategy is to use the Jedi mind trick of forcefully putting thoughts in people’s heads, Jerry Brown’s campaign strategy appears to be “playing hard to get.” Read More
In June, The City will vote on Proposition D, a proposal that aims to chip some ice off San Francisco’s glacier-size retirement obligations.
Among other things, Prop. D would cause pension amounts to be calculated using an average of an employee’s two highest-earning years instead of one year. This is supposed to save money and prevent pension “spiking,” a practice whereby an employee inflates his or her final compensation (and thus pension amount) using vacation payouts or quickie promotions. Read More
A technician in the San Francisco Police Department crime lab was suspected of committing serious violations of protocols, so an audit was performed and the lab was found to be unclean, lacking in chain-of-custody protocols and having substandard record-keeping.
It should. Because it happened in 1995. Read More
Anyone with a sibling winced a little after learning that Deborah Madden’s sister apparently blew the whistle on her sibling’s alleged enjoyment of one perk of being a San Francisco Police Department crime lab technician — access to cocaine. I’d like to think my sister would helpfully bring over a bag of lye if I told her there was a dead body in my bathtub, but obviously not every family is that loving. Read More
In researching the legality of sit-lie laws, I came across a study released in June called “Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities.” It was published by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless. The report surveyed laws in 235 cities (including San Francisco) and made some interesting findings: Read More
Back in March 2008, the Mayor’s Office convened the San Francisco Streets and Neighborhoods Workgroup to make recommendations for improving the quality of life in The City. Members of the group included then-police Chief Heather Fong, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Chamber of Commerce President Steve Falk and Coalition on Homelessness Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach. This collection of 18 A-list leaders released their report in January 2009. Read More
Recently, Supervisor John Avalos claimed to have been possessed by the “spirit of cooperation.” That phenomenon is supposed to explain why he acquiesced to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request to pull the “must spend” City Charter amendment off the June ballot. (That measure would have given the Board of Supervisors the power to cut money from one place in the budget and force the mayor to spend it on something else, subject to a mayoral veto.) Read More
Think of The City’s budget system like this: The mayor brings the Board of Supervisors a stack of checks with the “amount” and “purpose” sections already filled out; the mayor can’t deposit the checks unless the board signs them; however, once signed, the mayor doesn’t have to deposit them.
But what happens if the board really, really wants the mayor to spend one of those checks? Nothing. Tough noogies.
Credit-rating agencies love this absence of budgetary bureaucracy, but it makes the Board of Supervisors perpetually apoplectic. Read More
This is the second in a series on San Francisco retirement benefits. Last week, “The Good” examined The City’s relatively well-funded pension system. Today, we look at “The Bad”: retiree health care for city employees. Read More
This is Part I of a three-part series on San Francisco retirement benefits. In the first installment, we will examine “The Good”: the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System. By “good” I certainly don’t mean “perfect” or even “not scary,” but I do mean that our system is the envy of other localities. And compared to our retiree health benefits fund (the subject of Part II) the city pension fund is positively fat and happy. Some background: Read More
At today’s Rules Committee meeting, supervisors Eric Mar and David Campos (and Michela Alioto-Pier, if she’s feeling well enough after having surgery) will hear Supervisor Chris Daly’s proposal to amend the City Charter to include a provision demanding termination of any firefighter found to be under the influence of alcohol while on duty.
Assuming progressives support the measure (and I suspect they will), this proposal will be on the ballot in November. Read More
‘I would prefer not to cut positions and library hours. I would prefer to go after redundancies in business regulation,” San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu said at a Land Use Committee hearing April 6.
Proposition I, passed in November 2007, created the Small Business Assistance Center and required the Office of Small Business to issue a report that “makes recommendations regarding the streamlining and consolidation of [regulatory] departmental functions under the Office of Small Business.” That report should have been completed by April 2008. Read More