Peskin promises ‘no-drama budget’ process

In the aftermath of a political firestorm around Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed city budget, the president of the Board of Supervisors attempted on Monday to keep the flames extinguished.

“Welcome to day one of the no-drama budget,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said as he kicked off the board’s Budget and Finance Committee hearing Monday — the first day members of the committee began taking action on Newsom’s proposed $6.1 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning Sunday.

Peskin was apparently attempting to send the message that the lively public feud Supervisor Chris Daly sparked with Newsom over the priorities reflected in Newsom’s budget — Daly wanted more money for housing programs and less for street repairs and police staffing — were no longer taking center stage.

Daly’s frustration seemingly increased last week, during a Board of Supervisors hearing on proposed cuts to health services, when he said Newsom hypocritically proposed funding cuts to substance abuse programs while Newsom “artfully dodges every question about allegations in his own cocaine use.”

Daly’s comments had the Mayor’s Office calling for Daly’s censure. Newsom responded by denying he used cocaine, while blasting Daly for employing “sleazy” politics.

A week before Daly’s drug comment, Peskin had removed Daly from the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, on which Daly served as chairman, in an effort to quiet the storm and make the budget process about policy, “not about personality or electoral politics.”

With little debate, the budget committee on Monday signed off on the proposed budgets of a number of city departments, including the Mayor’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, Recreation and Park, Assessor-Recorder and Elections.

The committee’s actions also included placing the $5 million that would help fund Newsom’s plan to rebuild The City’s troubled public housing sites on reserve until further hearings are held. The committee also allocated about $400,000 to the Public Library to increase library hours.

Code of conduct plan spelled out

A supervisor is expected to introduce a code of conduct for the Board of Supervisors today, following controversial comments by one member.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier has said that a code of conduct is necessary given Supervisor Chris Daly’s comments last week, when he suggested that Mayor Gavin Newsom used cocaine. Newsom angrily denied the charge.

A draft of Alioto-Pier’s proposal states that members of the Board of Supervisors “shall make no allegations against other supervisors, other elected and appointed officials or staff which are improper, false or misleading or slanderous,” among other rules.

Alioto-Pier’s proposal would allow the Board of Supervisors to remove a supervisor for misconduct from any adjunct committee representing The City and from any board committee with fiduciary responsibilities for one year.

Any member would be able to submit amotion alleging a violation of the code of conduct, which would result in a hearing before the full board. A censure, which would carry the penalties under the proposal, would require a two-thirds vote by the board. Lesser punishments are also included in the proposal.

jsabatini@examiner.com


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