Solar-panel bond quarrel is latest Newsom-Peskin feud

Mayor Gavin Newsom publicly called for Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin to schedule required hearings for a solar-program bond measure that he has submitted for the June ballot.

The news release from the Mayor’s Office comes two weeks after Newsom submitted the ballot measure and is the latest public disagreement between the leaders.

Two weeks ago, Peskin held up approval of three of Newsom’s appointments to The City’s transportation board, asking for a presentation from the Mayor’s Office explaining his “vision” for San Francisco’s transit agency.

Newsom also came under fire after it was revealed that he had used Municipal Transportation Agency funds to finance several staff positions in his office, a practice that is not uncommon but has been criticized due to Muni’s financial struggles. On Tuesday, Peskin introduced a resolution calling for Newsom to return funds and jobs to the MTA.

In response, the Mayor’s Office charged that Peskin has a personal vendetta against one of Newsom’s top staffers. Newsom’s office, and city staff at the Port of San Francisco alleged abusive behavior from Peskin.

On Thursday, Newsom asked Peskin to schedule the General Obligation Solar Bond for a committee hearing to keep the bond on track for the June 3 ballot. The deadline to submit a ballot measure for June is Feb. 25, and the measure needs to go before the Budget and Finance Committee and the full Board of Supervisors.

The bond would allow The City’s Seismic Safety Loan Program to allocate $50 million toward a loan program to encourage property owners to install solar panels.

“I don’t think we have a disagreement on the desire to have a solar incentive program,” Peskin said. “I think we have a very legitimate policy disagreement on the source of funds. … It robs Peter to pay Paul.”

dsmith@examiner.com

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