Starting in July, each member of the board was allocated $100,000 in city funds to spend as they chose. Halfway through the fiscal year, some supervisors have spent all or a portion of their allocations, others none at all. The spending varies from community events to rebuilding playgrounds, and provides a glimpse of the respective supervisors’ priorities.
District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar spent $5,000 on nine schools in or near his Richmond neighborhood. Over in District 2, which includes the Marina, Supervisor Mark Farrell spent $25,000 on Lafayette Park and $300 on a treasure hunt put on by the Aquatic Park Neighbors.
District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague has left just $17,000 behind for her successor, London Breed, who defeated Olague in the November election and will be sworn in Jan. 8. Olague’s spending included $50,000 on street planning in the Upper Haight, $15,000 for housing workshops and $3,000 for workshops about The City’s recently implemented reusable bag law.
The Mission Geneva Gateway project in District 11 got a $35,500 boost from Supervisor John Avalos, who also spent $25,000 to upgrade Ridge Lane, $5,000 to fix stairs and a community garden along Prague Street, and $4,500 for the Cayuga Terrace Senior Community Center.
Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu had an additional $107,000 in discretionary funds because they each decided to forgo hiring a third aide when the board appropriated such funding. The 2012-13 fiscal year also was the first time funding for a third aide was included in the budget.
Elsbernd, who will be termed out of the District 7 supervisorial seat Jan. 8, spent $7,000 for Hidden Garden Steps improvement permits and $134,000 for parks with failing playgrounds. Chu, who is expected to be appointed as San Francisco’s new assessor-recorder any day now, spent $100,000 to rebuild the Larsen Playground, $50,000 on Taraval Street improvements, $20,000 to assist businesses on complying with ADA laws, $20,000 to repaint crosswalks and $15,000 to improve the N-Judah turnaround at La Playa.
Supervisors David Campos, Malia Cohen and Jane Kim are expected to start spending their allocations next year.
Supervisor Scott Wiener re-allocated his funding to The City. Meanwhile, board President David Chiu is taking a more creative approach. He has created a formal process by which residents in his District 3, which includes the North Beach and Chinatown neighborhoods, can debate and vote on how the money gets spent.
It’s unclear whether the board will continue this practice in subsequent city budgets.