Newsom, supes budget showdown intensifies

Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors are in line to have a “showdown” this budget season, as the two face off over a board proposal to spend $28 million of this year’s surplus on affordable housing needs.

During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Chris Daly said that if Newsom’s city budget does not include the board-approved $28 million surplus spending proposal, he would fund it anyway by re-appropriating money in the budget. Newsom must submit a balanced city budget for review by the Board of Supervisors by June 1.

“We are very clearly brewing a showdown, perhaps a game of chicken if you will,” Daly said. Later Daly, who chairs the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, promised “the most aggressive vetting of a budget submission in the history of San Francisco.”

“That’s what the mayor gets if he tries to play games,” he added.

On Friday, Newsom returned the $28 million surplus spending proposal unsigned, and said he would not spend money The City doesn’t have. Newsom has accused the board of spending irresponsibly by eating up this year’s budget surplus — estimated at $126.6 million — when The City is facing a significant deficit next year.

If Daly does re-appropriate the money with the support of a majority of his colleagues, Newsom would have several options, such as not to spend the money, or veto the budget item and face an override vote by the Board of Supervisors.

“They both have lots of moves possible and they can trump each other back and forth,” City Controller Ed Harrington said. “That’s kind of what the checks and balances are here for, because no one in theory is dictator and so it requires some level of cooperation to make it work.”

IN OTHER ACTION

BALLOT NOTICE: Supervisor Sean Elsbernd introduced a charter amendment that would require members of the Board of Supervisors and the mayor to submit ballot measures 45 days before the current deadline, and undergo a public hearing before a Board of Supervisors committee 15 days before the deadline. The amendment comes following criticism that board members were introducing ballot measures at the last minute without adequate public review.

POT PERMITS: Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier introduced legislation that would extend the July 1 deadline for medicinal marijuana dispensaries to obtain a city permit in order to continue operating until Jan. 1, 2008. The extension is being considered because The City’s permitting process istaking longer than expected. There are 36 dispensaries operating in The CIty and 26 applications have been filed since the permitting process was put in place in January 2006. To date, no permits have been issued.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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