Got an interesting email invite: A group of the most pro-downtown, pro-landlord, conservative folks in town is holding a fundraiser for Sup. London Breed, who represents the most progressive district in the city.
Oh, and none of the members of the Host Committee lives in or has any direct connections to District Five.Read more »
Labor and much of the progressive community worked with downtown and the Mayor's Office last year to craft a pension-reform bill that took away benefits from city employees. The unions came to the table, recognized the city's financial problems and bought into a compromise, even though it took money out of their pockets.
And now big business, with the support of Mayor Ed Lee, wants to reform the local business tax in a way that doesn't bring the city a dime of new revenue (and hurts small business in the process).
In other words, it's fine to seek compromise when it's about cutting workers pay and city costs. When it's about asking big business (and a lot of big businesses, particularly tech businesses, in this town are doing exceptionally well right now) to chip in just a little more, to do the right thing, address the revenue side of the ledger and pay a fair share, the answer is No. Read more »
EDITORIAL There is no simple free-market solution to gentrification and displacement. There's no way a crowded city like San Francisco can simply rely on the forces of supply and demand to protect vulnerable populations. And there's no way the city's flawed housing policy can prevent the loss of thousands of San Franciscans — particularly young, creative people who help keep a city lively — from fleeing to a town where they can actually afford the rent.
Richard Florida, the famous social and economic theorist who coined the term "creative class" argues that artists and writers and geeks and musicians are the forces that drive modern economies. His pioneering 2002 essay in the Washington Monthly was titled "Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race."
EDITORIAL For most of the past year, Mayor Ed Lee had been taking a tough line with California Pacific Medical Center, the health-care giant that wants to build a state-of-the-art 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill. The mayor had been telling a stunningly recalcitrant CMPC management that the outfit would have to put upwards of $70 million into affordable housing and spent millions more on transit, neighborhood and charity-care programs to mitigate the impacts of the massive project.
But late in March, something happened. Under immense pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and other big business groups, the mayor buckled and agreed to a deal with woefully inadequate mitigation measures. The supervisors should reject the plan and force CPMC to do better. Read more »
Mayor Ed Lee moved with lightning speed to suspend Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay on misconduct charges and unethical behavior in a spousal abuse case and continue the costly, distracting, divisive media and City Hall circus.Read more »
And so the downtown gang (Willie Brown/Rose Pak, PG&E, the Chamber, the big developers et al) used Ed Lee to outmaneuver the progressives and roll Lee into the job of "interim mayor" on condition Lee not run for mayor. Then Lee kept lying for months about his intentions and saying over and over that he would not run for mayor--until the downtown gang convinced him to run as a way to further damage the progressives. And now, according to news reports, Mayor Lee is poised to file misconduct charges against Mirkarimi for his gulty plea of false imprisonment in the Mirkarimi domestic violence case.
This could lead to an explosive and polarizing scenario where the Board of Supervvisors, in an election year, would be asked to remove Mirkarimi, a former fellow supervisor and political ally, as sheriff or side with him on what has turned out to become a toxic political issue. This would affect at minimum Mar, Avalos, Campos, and Olague in the supervisors' races and Mar, Avalos, and Campos in the upcoming Democratic County Central Committee race. It would also affect any candidate in any race that said a nice word about Mirkarimi. If anybody thinks the mayor and the downtown gang would be unhappy with this prospect, think again. I recommend that Lee hold off on Mirkarimi, and work to uphold his position as a "unifier," and not become a polarizer and promoter of media and City Hall circuses. Instead of taking on Mirkarimi and the progressives, he should concentrate on such important and timely issues as helping stop the foreclosure process on the thousands of homes facing foreclosure in San Francisco. More: he should go after the big foreclosure banks, starting with the Bank of America and its multi-million dollar short term cash account with the city, and Wells Fargo, with its national headquarters here in town.b3
More than 1,000 homes in San Francisco are either in foreclosure or at the start of the process. Some 16,000 homeowners are underwater, and as many as 12,000 may face foreclosure in the next 12 months. A report by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment shows that the city could lose $115 million from the reduced property taxes and the costs of carrying out evictions.
That's a crisis — and while the mayor has no direct control over home foreclosures, he ought to be speaking out and joining the protesters who are fighting this cascade of often-fraudulent bank actions. Read more »
"You thought you felt an earthquake Sunday night. Actually, that was me."
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano was on the phone, talking to me about Mayor Ed Lee's plan to demand some changes in the way the San Francisco Unified School District manages its property -- and to hold up the $6 million the city owes the district until that happens. The mayor says there will be "strings attached" to the rainy-day fund money that would normally go to help SFUSD avoid teacher layoffs -- and while it's not exactly clear what those strings are, except that the mayor wants surplus property to be developed or sold, it's not what Ammiano had in mind when he created the fund as a supervisor.