After days of politically-charged negotiations, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved Mayor Ed Lee’s $10.1 billion budget proposal late Friday afternoon.
The approval, however, came amid a rift between moderates on the board and the progressives, who were a no-show at City Hall Friday following a breakdown in negotiations late Thursday.
The board’s finance committee chair, Supervisor Malia Cohen, negotiated a deal with the Mayor’s Office by 4:15 p.m. Friday after a series delays, changing a total of $32.7 million in spending to the mayor’s $10.1 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
The agreement includes $4 million for more child care subsidies to help reduce a wait-list of 2,400 children, and $1.5 million in additional rental subsidies to house 100 homeless persons at $1,500 per month for one year and prevent an additional 100 people from being evicted at $1,000 per month.
There was an additional $2.4 million to pay for maintenance of supportive housing units and staffing.
The committee reviews the mayor’s budget proposal, makes cuts and then adds back the money to other spending priorities based on requests from board members, community advocates and nonprofit leaders. But the amount of money the committee can cut from the proposal in a negotiation with the Mayor’s Office is often a politically charged exercise.
That was the case Thursday when Supervisor Aaron Peskin attempted to join Cohen in negotiations with Cohen and Lee, but the mayor refused to meet with him. That’s when Peskin walked away from City Hall unexpectedly and budget negotiations subsequently unraveled.
Peskin officially withdrew himself from the committee Friday after previously indicating he no longer wanted to serve on it. He had expressed frustration Thursday that the committee and mayor weren’t willing to cut more from the budget to fund a greater number of the add-backs, which are services for the city’s lowest-income residents.
The committee had made $29 million in cuts to the first year of the two-year budget proposal, and after Cohen struck the deal the total amount the committee repurposed was $46 million, of which $32.7 million was for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.
In addition to the larger citywide add-backs, each district supervisor had requests specific to their neighborhood needs.
Peskin’s add-backs included $120,000 for the Pit Stop toilets in Lower Polk Street and several for Chinatown, including $45,000 to restore an arts program for low-income families living in single-room occupancy hotels.
Supervisor Katy Tang’s add-backs included $220,000 for a homeless outreach team specifically for the Sunset neighborhood she represents.
Board of Supervisors President London Breed’s add-backs addressed women’s health, signage warning of car break-ins and a renovation of the Fillmore and Turk Mini Park.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s funded add-back list in the committee-approved budget proposal included $150,000 for late night outreach for sex workers and $100,000 to register the Calle 24/Latino Heritage District as a California Registered Historic Resources District, as well as $110,000 for a staff position to work on the Mission’s area development plan.
Cohen’s add-back list includes $100,000 for capital improvements to the Bayview Opera House, $90,000 for court resurfacing in the Sunnydale neighborhood and $200,000 for senior fitness programs at IT Bookman and George Davis senior centers.
While progressive members of the board were not at City Hall to review the final add-back list, Cohen said she incorporated their top funding requests.
“It’s something that every one of my colleagues should be able to stand behind and it reflects the consensus that we have worked so hard to build throughout this entire process,” Cohen said when announcing the deal during the committee hearing Friday.
Prior to the vote, Ronen said her no-show at City Hall on Friday wasn’t a protest, but that she had always planned to be in the community, such as to attend a park opening. She also said that Cohen should have postponed budget negotiations until Monday when progressive supervisors would be at City Hall — two of whom were out of town traveling — and after Pride weekend.
“I do think it’s problematic that they’re doing budget negotiations and it’s the first day of Pride,” Ronen said.
The full board is scheduled to vote on the budget proposal July 18.Politics