ALL STARS GAMES BEGIN FOR $6.1 BILLION BUDGET SWEET PIE

STAND

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

A record $6.1 billion City budget heads before record hostility this afternoon as the man charged with chairing its legislative review claims Mayor Newsom is lying about funding.

The accusation, made Tuesday by Budget and Finance Chair Chris Daly, ends three years of collaboration between supervisors and the mayor annually to meld a jointly supported budget.

Collaboration is a dainty description for the two-month period when the mayor and supervisors jockey for increased funding to their preferred projects.

Every elected official flexes dead serious muscle in June when it is decided who gets how much.

City Charter dictates inflexible deadline to land a deal.

San Francisco mayors are required to submit a balanced budget by June 1 for consideration by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — and the Board is required to approve a balanced budget by the end of June.

Alliances form and reshape — publicly and behind the scenes — until lifesbloood to the body politic pumps clarity to City vision for the coming fiscal year.

Newsom Friday acknowledged the process as a negotiation and described his office open to negotiation.

For the past three years, once best deals for all were thought fulsome, the mayor’s budget signature casting budget into law came with concurrence by all eleven supervisors.

That ended Tuesday.

Daly leapfrogged the process Tuesday urging colleagues to amend Newsom’s budget well prior to July 31 by law.

“Board, colleagues, on Friday the mayor introduced, submitted, his budget proposal,” Daly told supervisors at the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting.

“It is riddled with draconian serivce reductions of great concern to me and I know some of you.

“Uh, $4 million in cuts to HIV programs, uh, the elemination of beds for psychiatric services at the San Francisco General Hospital.

“And colleagues remember last month when we appropriated $28 (million) and $5 (million) additonal so $33 million for affordable housing priorities.

“That money is proposed to be wiped away as well in the mayor’s budget proposal.

“Colleagues today together with Supervisor Tom Ammiano I am introducing a motion to be heard next week at the Budget Committee that would amend the mayor’s budget submission to correct these problems.

“In it there is an equal or equivalent number of reductions proposed.

“Colleagues not to get into any of the details of any of those allocations, some of which I believe have some merit and possibly would be available for possibly would be available for enhancement through the Board add-back process (ADD-BACK: agreed supplemental funding).

“I will say that at best it was disingenous and what it appears was when the mayor issued a statement not signing the supplemental apropriatation, that had a super-majority, allowing that legislation to go into effect without his signature — is saying he would not spending the money and then proposing to de-appropriate the money in his submmission, in basically a backdoor veto proposal that was made to this Board of Supervisors.

“The mayor was lying.

“The mayor was lying to the people of San Francisco and I can prove it, all you have to do is read this motion.

“You may not believe that affordable housing and the question of affordable housing is more important than redesigning the City’s website or, you know, perhaps installing cameras in police cars or fixing a pothole.

“But to say that the money does not exist is a lie.

“The money does exist. If the committee adopts this motion, which I hope we will in something similar to its current form on Wednseday, we will prove that the money does exist — that this City can afford to do better on the issue of affordable housing.

“That the City can afford to deliver services to people who, uh, have AIDS or HIV in this City.

“And, uh, that this City can afford to keep open an important psychiatric unit at our General Hospital, and that it’s not a question of gamesmanship or showmanship or rhetoric.

“It is a question of political and priorities for this City.

“I call on you my colleagues here at the full Board of Supervisors to pass a real people’s budget that takes into account the most pressing needs — not the flashiest or, uh, you know, the showiest items leading into a mayoral election.

“That concludes my Roll Call.”

Daly Monday announced his decision not to enter the campaign for mayor against Newsom.

While by City Charter the Finance and Budget Committee must wait until next to act on Daly’s motion, the committee meets today at 1:00 p.m. for review of Newsom’s budget submission — a meeting chaired by Daly.

In a written statement issued yesterday, Newsom, who was in Washington DC to lobby Congress for more federal housing funds, returned Daly directness.

“This is one of the most transparent political moves in recent San Francisco history. It is the worst kind of election-year politics and terrible public policy,” the mayor responded.

“Chris Daly may want to jump off this cliff.”

“We hope no other members of the Board of Supervisors will follow him,” Newsom said through mayoral deputy press officer Joe Arellano.

budget-prep-16.JPG Arellano, left, helps in last Thursday preparation for Newsom’s June 1 budget unveiling held in the City’s new 311 center.
Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

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“The proposed budget channels new funding into street cleaning, public safety, Muni, and homelessness mitigation,” which Newsom described Friday as Back To Basics.

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Budget includes record City reservies of $142 million, Newsom points out.

He proposed new funding for:

» 250 new police officers

» 150 new Muni operators and 18 street supervisors

» $51.4 million more for homeownership programs

» $8.5 million more to rebuild playgrounds

» $5.4 million more for street paving and repairs

» $700,000 for the new Tenderloin court

» 23 new homeless outreach staff

» 15 new gardeners

» 35 new custodians

» 28 new street sweepers for Clean Corridors program

» More 311 call takers

» $7 million more for affordable housing

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The Newsom budget lacks adequate accountability, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi quickly told the Sentinel.

Today’s 1:00 p.m. meeting of the Finance and Budget Committee will be held in San Francisco City Hall, second floor.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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