It isn’t easy, living in the aftermath.
Or for the inhabitants of the Bay Area,
the aftermaths. Not only did we wake up to the same 911 call
that alerted the nation a month ago, but we were already
reeling from the economic shocks of the dot.com boom/bust.
During the past few weeks, as we’ve
picked up the pieces on both the national and the local
front, some people have looked for better ways to put the
puzzle together. The prevailing logic seems to be that, when
old approaches let you down, it’s time to look for new
Among the best lookers on the planet are
those hardy souls down at City Hall, the San Francisco Board
of Supervisors, whose efforts have been much in evidence
over the past year, as the Voter Information Pamphlet for
the election on November 6 makes clear. Except for the
community college bond issue (Proposition A), every
proposition on the ballot was initiated by one or more supe.
And it’s a feisty slate of propositions.
One (D) seeks to give the public a say in the expansion of
San Francisco Airport at the expense of San Francisco Bay.
Three (C, E, and G) want to change the way we elect our
officials. And four (B, F, H, and I) invite the people to
participate in the preservation and production of electrical
Not a bad beginning.
But last Monday several supervisors
requested hearings or information on a variety of subjects
which suggest that more fun is on the way.
Some of these merry pranksters have long
been on Ken Garcia’s list of troublemakers. Jake
McGoldrick, for example, requested a budget hearing to
reevaluate which city services are essential and to
reexamine how revenue projections are made. Aaron Peskin
called for his own budget hearing to determine how better to
bring John and Jane Q. Public into the conversation. Matt
Gonzalez asked for information about the role of municipal
banks in other American cities.
But some of the most pointed questions
were raised by supes who are usually not associated with
rocking the boat: Gavin Newsom and Tony Hall. Without
donning party hats and waving streamers, the two managed to
imply that they were simply presenting a pleasant pastime to
the targets of their inquiries. “This shouldn’t be too
difficult,” said Hall about one set of figures, “since
Supervisor Daly already asked you to research it.”
Together Hall and Newsom put together
quite a package, although sharp-eyed observers might notice
its lack of pretty ribbons. (See below.) For the recipients
— the directors of the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness,
the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Department of Human
Services, and the Department of Public Works — the queries
should have the effect of a ticking parcel on a baggage
The two supervisors have thrown out a
challenge to our mayor: You inherited a city where homeless
is a way of life for many residents. What have you done
Just the facts, ma’am.
But it’s from nitty-gritty facts like
these that legislation grows, and an aftermath to the
From the roll call for introductions, Board of
Supervisors, October 1, 2001
|From: Supervisors Hall, Newsom
|To: Director, Mayor’s Office of
Proposition A — Affordable Housing Funds
|1. How many units of housing were
created with the Prop A funds?
|2. What was the average cost per
square foot / cost per unit?
|3. What was the racial, ethnic, age,
and income level breakdown of the individuals who
received this housing?
|4. What non-profit organizations
received funding to construct the affordable housing,
and how much was given to each non-profit
|5. What properties were purchased
with the funds, and/or what properties were refinanced
with the funds (by location)?
|6. Who is the current titleholder for
each property developed?
|7. Please provide a copy of the
original bond covenant.
|From: Supervisor Hall
|To: Director, Mayor’s Office of
|To: Director, Department of Human
|Requesting/Inquiring: That the
directors of the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness and
the Department of Human Services report on spending on
homeless services, specifically:
|1. During fiscal year 2000/01, the
Department of Human Services received approximately
$35 million in funding for homeless services. To which
non-profit organizations was this money given, and how
much was given to each non-profit?
|2. What services did the non-profit
organizations agree to perform in exchange for
receiving the funds?
|From: Supervisor Newsom
|To: Director, Department of Public
|Requesting/Inquiring: To report on
the feasibility of implementing a city-administered
homeless rehabilitation and/or occupational program in
order to provide educational, health, counseling,
housing, and employment training services for homeless
persons within the City and County of San Francisco.
This inquiry shall include information regarding the
current efforts of DPW in providing current programs
similar to those being proposed, the availability of
funds, and the successes of said programs.
|Supervisor Newsom requests a response
to this inquiry effective after 90 days of the receipt
of this letter of inquiry.