The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department claims that passing a third — and largest yet — bond to renovate more parks is an “investment.” What the heck do they think decades and decades of taxes and nearly $350 million in bonds in recent memory have been going toward?
Parks benefit from yearly subsidies, but Rec and Park has not spent our money wisely and has allowed them to fall into disrepair. A newly renovated park looks good for a few years, but decay sets in quickly without ongoing maintenance.
Another hefty expenditure is no guarantee that Rec and Park won’t repeat the same bad habits and trigger a new downward spiral. And how can they be expected to uphold our investments when the gardening staff have been reduced to historic lows, recreation directors have been fired, and every conceivable park space from picnic tables to clubhouses to athletic fields has been put out to the highest bidder in a pay-to-play system?
We need to bite the bullet and take a breather from another expensive bond to assess how we can maintain what we have already paid for and return this department to what it’s supposed to be doing — providing recreation, including programs in locked-up or leased-out neighborhood clubhouses. Once that is accomplished in a few years, it will be very easy to assess ourselves and consider another bond. Vote no on Proposition B.
Sheriff’s victory is hollow
We now have another “only in San Francisco” moment, as proven by the Board of Supervisors’ vote late Tuesday night. Those supervisors who voted to reinstate convicted Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi sent a message: You can violate the law, and it doesn’t matter. You can still keep your job and you won’t suffer any consequences. In a top law enforcement position, the sheriff is held to a higher standard and that includes behavior off-duty, and before having been appointed or elected.
By allowing Mirkarimi to retain his post as sheriff, those four supervisors said, “We don’t care what the Ethics Commission has to say, we won’t listen to the majority of the citizenry, we just want this to go away, and this is how we’re going to do it.”
Any such top position means that the officeholder must conduct himself or herself in a manner that is befitting of it.
And, to Mirkarimi’s supporters, shame on you. That you cheered his reinstatement says a lot about your values, or lack thereof. That you support somebody who would physically harm his spouse and want to see him get off scot-free makes me ill.
Peninsula jails in crisis
I am chagrined, but not surprised, to learn that San Mateo County public officials are neglecting to consider three reports that they themselves commissioned regarding solutions to their jail overcrowding situation.
Most poignant is the July 2011 report by a research group of the U.S. Department of Justice which found that 73 percent of San Mateo County’s jail inmates (700 inmates on any given day) are not convicts, but people awaiting trial who cannot afford bail. Maybe they have an explanation, but county officials need to make clear why spending $100 per day incarcerating nonviolent individuals before their trials is superior to spending 75 cents per day keeping them on electronic monitoring.
Residents deserve an answer to this question before they spend $155 million on a new jail and $30 million per year to run it.