Editorial: A serious Board of Supervisors

For too long San Francisco’s supervisors have imagined themselves the consciences of the world. Perhaps because of The City’s intense cosmopolitanism and sheer beauty, it’s easy to be seduced into thinking this place really is the center of the universe.

There have been too many occasions whensuch thinking has turned the Board of Supervisors into something just short of a circus. To be fair, it didn’t start with the current board.

A few years back, for example, the supervisors thought they could protect Southeast Asian teak by boycotting it (never mind that its harvesters would have had to turn to narcotic-producing poppies). This year some of them wonder how they can impeach the U.S. president and take charge of foreign policy. When they’re not turning businesses green, that is.

Earth to the supervisors: Knock it off. The City needs sober and diligent attention. Violent crime has steadily raised its gnarly head, and we’re glad it’s finally prompted a serious debate about foot patrols and surveillance cameras. Fiscal crises may be sweeping down off the horizon faster than anyone imagined, but we’ve heard little talk of what to do about unfunded benefits for retired City workers. And does anyone at the Civic Center really understand the necessary conditions for a healthy, entrepreneurial business community?

All that said, we think a more serious agenda can be set in place if the following men and women are elected or re-elected to the Board of Supervisors:

Second District: Michela Alioto-Pier has been a voice of moderation, championing the interests of taxpayers. She works to keep the board on course when, as so often, it wants to head in the direction of the latest political zephyr.

Fourth District: Doug Chan draws on his experience as a police commissioner to direct The City’s resources where they’re most urgently needed, the streets.

Sixth District: We think these changing neighborhoods need a forward-looking supervisor who can turn the page on the old battles. That would be Rob Black.

Eighth District: Bevan Dufty has earned the esteem of his constituents by making them his first priority. Dufty’s surefooted course comes not from typical gateway professions like the law, but from the broader world of community activism.

Tenth District: Sophie Maxwell has navigated smoothly between the competing interests of disparate communities. Representing both the poor and the upscale, she has managed to serve without exacerbating the differences, making her performance something to emulate.

If The Examiner could name a slate, these people would be on it. We believe they will get down to business, leaving rancor behind them. These are candidates who want a constructive conversation followed by next steps. We see no sign they want to run away and join the circus.

Part of The San Francisco Examiner's 2006 election coverage.

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