We can only imagine just how productive some of our supervisors would be if they didn’t spend so much time wasting other people’s time.
Take, for example, the fate of the largest development in San Francisco’s recent history, which, thankfully, was approved by our legislative leaders this week — after hours of tireless attempts to kill it.
This is how things are done these days in San Francisco: holding projects hostage so politicians can make long speeches before the cameras to make their friends and allies happy, then folding like a tent.
Only six votes were needed to approve the Hunters Point shipyard project, and they were all accounted for at the beginning of the hearing. But that didn’t stop the bombastic likes of supervisors Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi from trying to derail the project by smacking it around with doomed amendments.
Five supervisors actually voted to try to make half the planned 10,500 homes affordable — knowing full well it would kill the project — and five more voted to block a bridge from being built across Yosemite Slough that NFL officials have said is essential for the 49ers to have any chance of building a stadium at the site (not that they apparently want to). And then a few hours later, 10 of the 11 supervisors voted to approve the whole package, leaving Daly once again on his own shuttered island.
But that was only part of the day. The board also voted to throw a measure on the November ballot to mandate that the Police Department have foot patrols (which they already do) and then tossed a poison pill on the legislative mound that would kill the mayor’s sit-lie measure if the foot patrol item gets more votes. And supervisors did this despite the fact that if they really wanted foot patrols, they could have approved them months ago and not chucked it to the voters to spite the mayor.
The upshot is that whatever the outcome in November, the police chief will likely ignore it and do whatever he wants, because that’s his job.
Like I say, lots of busy work for busy people.
It was not a happy week for the board’s so-called progressive majority, which, through some of its exhaustive exploits, proved that what’s bad for progressives is usually good for The City.
They did, however, manage to get some very valuable airtime.
Big Oil tries to kill green goals
Another oil industry mishap is beginning to wash up on our shores, this one a murky special interest entitled Proposition 23, a November ballot measure that’s designed to undo California’s stringent cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
California has been a national leader in trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, which is why the auto industry fought the regulations for years. Now comes Prop. 23, a special-interest bill conjured up by a very special interest: Big Oil.
More than $2 million has been spent by oil companies in Texas and California to get Prop. 23 passed, and its backers have been trying to portray the measure as a jobs initiative. They say they just want a “temporary” postponement of the greenhouse gas regulations until the state’s unemployment rate turns around.
And if you believe that, you should hold onto your BP shares.
The leading source of greenhouse gas emissions is the petroleum burned in vehicles. California has set a goal of a 15 percent reduction in fuel emissions by 2020. Prop. 23 seeks to reset the clock on the state’s green policy under the guise of fiscal prudence.
It’s one measure that should drive you to the polls.
City Attorney Herrera doggedly sticking to guns
City Attorney Dennis Herrera went out on a limb this week, which isn’t always a good idea when you’re clinging to a weakened branch.
That would be the judicial one, which smacked down Herrera’s curious opinion that appointed terms should be counted as elected ones. After losing in San Francisco Superior Court, Herrera decided to appeal the ruling that would allow Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier to seek another term.
Herrera not only looks like he’s hunting for headlines, he actually produced some of his own by writing an op-ed piece defending his cloudy judgment.
He claims to be doing it for the voters. Yet, the voters haven’t given any clear indication that they want what he seeks. It appears he bases his decisions on a crystal ball hidden on the second floor of City Hall.
This one has a crack in it.
By pursuing the case rather than walking away, Herrera is throwing a supervisor race into chaos because it’s just as likely the courts won’t handle the matter by the time candidates for Alioto-Pier’s seat have to have their names thrown on the ballot. That’s an expensive proposition, not to mention the costs involved in seeking the appeal.
In blustery terms, Herrera wrote that he “successfully reversed other wrongly decided trial court rulings before — including Care Not Cash.” He also wrongly decided to pursue a decision about San Francisco banning guns, even when it was clear cities can’t undo state and federal laws.
Apparently, one bad shot deserves another.
Jerry Garcia: What a mensch!
It’s Jerry Garcia’s birthday week, which means lots of music, tie-dyed T-shirts and other, uh, stuff will be on display at meadows and valleys around the Bay, with the annual concert Sunday at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park.
But who knew the late Grateful Dead leader had such a big following in Jerusalem?
Laurie Armstrong, vice president of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, forwarded news that it was contacted as a potential sponsor for a nine-day tribute to Garcia by Radio Free Nachlaot, which touts itself as “the Jewish world’s most popular new Internet radio station broadcasting live 24/6 from Jerusalem.” (My guess is that on the seventh day, they rest.)
The “9 days of Jerry” event invites listeners to “Deadicate” music and playlists to friends and to contribute remembrances of Garcia during the marathon. By the way, Nachlaot, we’re told, is Jerusalem’s coolest neighborhood.