The great debates: Modification of the date of the election of the mayor, a monitoring commission for the homeless…
The Supes board has two more meetings to finalize the fall ballot, and while some moves are clearly going to be approved, at least one critical vote is still pending.
Supper. Dean Preston has proposed moving municipal elections to even years, which would mean the mayor, among others, would be elected when voter turnout is highest.
The rules committee unanimously approved it, and now it’s before the full board, potentially up for a vote. Tuesday/19. It will take six votes to put it on the fall ballot, and at this point it’s unclear if the votes are up.
The Mayor of London Breed opposes the idea and (wrongly) accuses the Democratic Socialists of America of promoting it. But the measure sounds great, and if it passes, Breed and his allies will have to raise a lot of money and come up with some sort of argument against it (which would essentially be an argument against voter turnout).
Sup. Ahsha Safai, Aaron Peskin, Shamann Walton and Rafael Mandelman want to create a commission to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, which seems like a good idea, but in committee, Sup. Connie Chan dissented because, she pointed out, the commission would be dominated by mayoral appointees.
Like many activists who have spoken out on the measure, Chan said there is little point in creating a commission headed by the same person who is already in charge of MSM (and who many people say , is not held responsible for its failures).
Longtime activist Jordan Davis, who lives in supportive housing, said:
When a majority of commissioners are appointed by the mayor, it leads to an untenable situation where a majority of the commission sits at the whim of one person. Although all commissioners serve at the pleasure of their appointed bodies, the fact that the MSM commission is appointed in the majority by the council means that commissioners cannot be removed because someone did not like their decisions.
The Coalition on Homelessness opposes the current composition of the commission:
In order to have more balanced accountability and oversight, the fourth seat should be appointed either by the oversight board, the controller or the health worker. We are open as to which one is chosen for the final language. Additionally, one of the non-mayor seats should go to a tenant of permanent supportive housing rather than a business, neighbor or labor organization, who have no natural expertise on this issue.
This also goes before full board on Tuesday.
At some point, I have to ask: Given that we keep making changes to the city charter and it’s pretty clear that the existing charter is outdated and gives the mayor way too much power, why don’t the supes create and authorize- won’t they have a charter reform committee to consider a system-wide overhaul? Fix anything that’s wrong and put a new municipal charter on the ballot.
And do it now, while the progressives control the board.
I appoint Tom Ammiano to chair the committee.
Virtually everyone who viewed the data arecognizes that guaranteed income programs work. The idea that the poor can get a steady stream of money with no strings attached is supported in cities across the country, and San Francisco has a task force studying the issue.
This group has published a report full of recommendations, and the Committee on Budget and Finance will examine Wednesday/20 a resolution by Sups. Safai, Walton, and Chan to adopt these findings and make it city policy to pursue a guaranteed income program.
Much of the report is about bureaucracy and organization, how the pilot programs work and who reports to whom and the kinds of things the city still has to grapple with in these situations. (I’m told we have a “strong mayor” system to hold someone accountable and accountable, but that’s clearly not the case here.)
But ultimately, it suggests that the city
Continue to pursue reforms that will increase access to public benefits. Strengthen existing efforts to implement an integrated and modernized benefit system that provides better support to individuals and families, ensuring financial security and economic dignity.
To respond to the urgency of this moment, San Francisco must look beyond the next guaranteed income pilot to take bigger, bolder steps. We already have enough evidence that providing cash directly to poor households can be transformative; Now is the time to pursue more radical policy reforms and strategies that can both scale up and sustain this seemingly simple approach. We can and will continue to embrace innovation and experimentation, but we must not be content with incremental change. Everyone in this city should have the financial resources to support themselves and their families, and we must look for bold strategies to achieve this goal.
This is all great, and I’m sure the supes will pass the resolution — and without the leadership of the mayor’s office, which is mostly lacking here, nothing else of substance will happen.
That’s because there’s a giant missing piece here, one that Mayor Breed consistently refuses to support:
To properly fund guaranteed income, the city needs a dedicated revenue stream, which means raising taxes on the wealthy.
Every effort to achieve this has come from supes or community groups, from raising transfer taxes on sales of high-end properties to higher gross receipts on Big Tech.
We are, of course, limited by Prop. 13 and other state laws, but there are many options. I spent 40 years advocating for a city income tax (in fact, under state law we can only tax earned income in San Francisco, but I bet we could tax people who live elsewhere and work remotely for SF tech and And we could exempt the first $100,000 of income so it only gets to high earners, who can deduct it from their federal taxes anyway and d ‘State). City College supporters have a plan for a more progressive parcel tax.
We have a guaranteed income task force, but we don’t have an income inequality task force, which would look at all possible ways to tax people who have way too much in one of the wealthiest people in the world, so that we could finance a guaranteed income for the poorest.
This meeting begins at 10:30 a.m.
The full board is also about to approve a fairly simple measure and I suspect no one but me has even noticed, it would increase the fees San Francisco charges on all motor vehicle registrations from $1 to $2 to pay the police vehicle theft fund, which is to be used to find stolen cars.
But the cops almost never find stolen cars or do anything about car break-ins, because SF cops fail to solve a lot of crimes (and they and the mayor blamed DA Chesa Boudin for it all) . I don’t care, but there’s about half a million registered cars in the city, so that’s $1 million for the cops – to do nothing.
I wonder if anyone will vote No.