Supes to tackle fee for alcohol as recess ends

Imposing an alcohol fee, deciding the fate of a mid-Market development and determining whether one chain store owner can open another location in San Francisco are the important decisions facing the legislative body when it meets for the first time following a summer break.

The 11-member Board of Supervisors returns to action Tuesday, the day after the official 27 day legislative recess came to an end.

The alcohol fee, proposed by Supervisor John Avalos, would require alcohol wholesalers to pay a fee that amounts to about 3 cents for a pint of beer to about 5 cents for a glass of wine.  The fee is expected to generate about $15 million to recoup city costs incurred when dealing with those impacted by alcohol. 

Opponents, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, say the fee will be passed on to consumers and harm the local economy. 

Avalos said he expected the board would approve the legislation Tuesday, but was uncertain if he would gain the eight votes needed to defeat a potential veto by Newsom.

A mid-Market Street project, known as City Place, could move closer to reality Tuesday if the board rejects an appeal of the project's environmental report. Those appealing say the project fails to adequately address impacts on traffic flow and pedestrian safety. Supporters like the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce say the project will revive the area long plagued by crime and neglect.

The board will also decide another land use battle Tuesday. Pet Food Express founder Michael Levy, whose business with 34 locations is considered a chain store, is hoping the board rejects an appeal of his permit to open up location at 3150 California St., after a previous attempt to open in the Marina failed. The appellant says the chain store will cause smaller businesses in the area to suffer.

The return from recess marks the final four months in office for four members of the Board of Supervisors. Come Jan. 8, these supervisors are termed out of office: District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who is running for mayor, Sophie Maxwell, who represents District 10, District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly and District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who had unsuccessfully sued to be able to run for another four-year term.

It should be a busy fall for City Hall, with the Nov. 2 election just around the corner — less than 60 days — when five district races will for seats on the board will decided along with a number of politically charged local ballot measures.

Also, board members could be faced with some tough budget choices depending on the extent of budget cuts The City will experience as a result of the state budget, which has yet to be approved.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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