S.F. supes send ‘question time’ to ballot again

Voters will decide this November whether to force the mayor to show up monthly at Board of Supervisors meetings to answer questions.

Last November, 56 percent of voters approved the nonbinding Proposition I, a policy statement saying Mayor Gavin Newsom should attend monthly Board of Supervisors meetings for so-called “question time.”

To date, however, Newsom has declined to show up for question time, opting instead to hold monthly town-hall-style meetings in locations throughout The City. That decision angered some board members, who suggested Newsom was defying the will of the voters. Newsom and his press office said question time at the board would be unproductive and turn into “political theater.”

If voters approve the charter amendment in November, however — the same day they will be deciding who should serve as San Francisco’s mayor — the mayor would be legally bound to show up.

The amendment, as was last November’s resolution, was introduced by Newsom’s chief rival on the board, Supervisor Chris Daly. In a 6-5 vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors put the amendment on the ballot.

Newsom’s spokesman, Nathan Ballard, said, “Question time is a stunt by Chris Daly designed to turn the Board of Supervisors into a circus. It may be good theater, but it’s bad policy.”

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, however, said the amendment “goes beyond who is in office today.

“I think that it will help make for healthier interactions between the legislative and the executive branch of government if they are required to talk to each other in public,” Peskin said.

He added: “It’s not a slap in the face of the mayor. I just think democracy will be well-served and 56 percent of the electorate has voted for it and the mayor thus far has chosen to ignore it.”

Supervisors Peskin, Daly, Gerardo Sandoval, Tom Ammiano, Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi voted in favor of putting the charter amendment on the ballot.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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