No on Prop. E; yes on B, C and F

Four charter amendments on next month’s municipal ballot seek to shift the levers of government in ways ranging from the clearly necessary to the outright juvenile.

Starting at the bottom, as it were, Proposition E would require the mayor to appear monthly at a Board of Supervisors meeting for “formal policy discussions” with members of the board. Whatever the seeming innocuousness of the requirement or the high-minded pronouncements of its backers, this measure is a petty attempt by the mayor’s political foes, chiefly Supervisor Chris Daly, to force the current mayor, Gavin Newsom, into a forum where they can achieve their goal of grandstanding and scoring political points at his expense.

The opportunities for supervisors to communicate directly with any mayor are obvious and manifold — they can request a meeting at will, or pick up the phone and call him. But that form of interaction may be too mature and statesmanlike for some, and it doesn’t offer the childish glee of a kangaroo court environment where supervisors could pack board meetings with handpicked partisans and turn the legislative chambers into a circus ring.

It’s time to put an end to the personal attacks and irrelevant disputes that take up all too much time already among City Hall officials. Supervisors should worry about reducing street crime, filling potholes and a hundred other important tasks before they focus so much energy on divisive political gimmicks. Vote no on Prop. E.

Other charter amendments on the ballot make more sense. Proposition B would prohibit the practice of allowing members of city boards and commissions to serve for months or even years as “hold-overs” after their terms expire — the charter amendment would put pressure on city officials to promptly fill vacant slots. Prop. B is a simple, good government measure, and voters should support it.

Proposition C would require ballot measures proposed by themayor or four or more supervisors to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing. That may sound like a no-brainer, and it is.

Remarkably, for years mayors and groups of supervisors have been slipping measures onto the ballot, at literally the last minute, with no public hearing and no advance notice. Prop. C would stop that sneaky practice, and it deserves voters’ support.

Finally, Proposition F would improve retirement benefits for a few dozen police department employees. The affected officers used to work as airport police, but most of them now work alongside city police officers, doing the same jobs and taking the same risks. It’s a simple fairness issue — our police officers put their lives on the line every day and deserve to have parity in retirement benefits.

Vote yes on Prop. F.

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