There’s nothing like watching Supervisor Chris Daly rage against the powers that be as embodied by Gavin Christopher Newsom. And all Mistermayor has to do is mention Daly’s opposition to exponentially grow the coffers for mayoral initiatives. It’s as if they need each other. What if — dare I write it — they are secret friends?
Take Propositions S and B, for example. Prop. S is an ordinance that would make it the policy of the residents of San Francisco to not let ourselves vote for any more budgetary set-asides without identifying a new source of funding. Prop. B is a charter amendment that would set aside 2.5 cents of the property tax collected for every $100 of assessed property value to pay for affordable housing. Both were put on the ballot months ago, when I imagine the following took place (and if you see an asterisk, it’s actually true!):
Daly burst into Mistermayor’s office wearing an indignant scowl. Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard was following close behind, bellowing, “I told you, you can’t just come barging in here!”
Mistermayor looked up from his handwritten summary of “The Audacity of Hope” and then, ushering Ballard out, whispered, “I’ll handle this.” He closed the door, turned around, and he and Daly burst out laughing. Then an awkward backslapping hug.
“Snoop Gavvy Gav!”
“What brings you to Room 200?”
Getting comfortable in his usual seat, and pouring a scotch, Daly began, “I have an idea. I want to create a budgetary set-aside for affordable housing. A charter amendment on November’s ballot.”
“You know I can’t go along with that,” responded Mistermayor, firing up a stogie.
“Man, please. Of course not — neither one of us could get any support that way. I’m here to talk to you about your opposition.”
“I’ll oppose affordable housing! No, wait, I’ll oppose set-asides!”
“Exactly,” Daly said as he unfolded a La Taqueria menu on which he had scribbled some notes. “OK, you should put an anti-set-aside ordinance on the November ballot. When it comes before the board for a hearing, I’ll point out that you have never voted against a set-aside before* and that you used your support for the Public Education Fund (a set-aside of sorts) as proof of your commitment to education in the 2003 mayor’s race against Gonzales.”*
“Oh!” squealed Mistermayor, “and I’ll say that this year’s budget crisis demands that all set-asides stop, or else we’ll have to cut all sorts of services or raise taxes. I mean, thanks in part to set-asides, I only get to use 18 percent of a $6 billion budget to fund damn near everything in this city and county.* Cool. What else?”
“The best part,” said Daly, rising and walking toward the door, “is that your little policy-stating ordinance is not legally enforceable.”*
“Yep. See, a regular ordinance is like a full house. And an ordinance that just makes a policy statement? It’s even less valuable; like two pair or something. And those hands always lose to the royal flush that is a charter amendment. So, even if both our propositions pass, my affordable-housing set-aside charter amendment will be unaffected by your anti-set-aside initiative.”*
“So, it’ll look like I’m doing something but I’m really not? And we can still be enemies?” Mistermayor pondered aloud. “Obviously, I love it.”
They bumped fists and Daly kicked a trash can and stomped out. Mistermayor scratchily yelled after him, “And don’t you forget it!”
Between the lines, everything is related
California law allows public schools to charge in-state tuition to anyone who has attended a California high school for three years, graduated and (if they aren’t here legally) promised to apply for citizenship. In Martinez v. the Regents of the University of California, 40 students and parents paying out-of-state tuition brought a lawsuit challenging this law as a violation of the federal prohibition on states giving undocumented students in-state tuition.
In 2006, the California Superior Court ruled against the plaintiffs and upheld California’s law. Plaintiffs appealed and, on Sept. 15, the state Appeals Court reversed the lower court’s ruling and held that the California law allowing some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition ($17,000 less than out-of-state) violates federal law. I’m told the regents of UC will appeal the ruling.
In August, a legal claim was filed against The City alleging that the tragic deaths of Anthony, Michael and Matthew Bologna by Edwin Ramos were caused by San Francisco’s (former) policy of shielding undocumented juvenile criminals from deportation.
How are the two related? Kris Kobach. He’s a Kansas City attorney who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Martinez case and is one of the attorneys representing the Bologna family. Also, he’s affiliated with the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
On Aug. 1, The City was supposed to start issuing municipal identification cards to San Francisco residents regardless of their immigration status. Why hasn’t that program started? Partly because of the legal issues raised by a lawsuit to halt the issuance of the card. Brought by whom? The Immigration Reform Law Institute.