Recent corruption scandals at City Hall highlight the need for good-government reforms, especially after efforts to create a public advocate’s office failed in July 2020. “It was a lost opportunity,” said David Campos, former supervisor and current chief of staff for District Attorney Chesa Boudin. The measure benefitted from precedents set in cities across the country that were similarly wracked by graft and mismanagement, including Detroit, Chicago and New York.
Mayor London Breed on Tuesday called Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris “unfortunate.”
Nearly four dozen groups announced Wednesday their opposition to San Francisco’s efforts to combat rampant drug dealing in the Tenderloin by using injunctions to increase penalties for dealers.
On Wednesday morning, a coalition of 45 organizations, including the public defender’s office, homeless advocates, immigration rights groups, drug policy organizations and youth-based nonprofits, held a press conference to express their opposition to the strategy. In a Dec. 3 letter to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, they said the injunctions are “draconian and wasteful,” and do little to address concerns around drug dealing and overdoses.
Facing the high costs of pandemic response, San Francisco officials are making a play for a pile of cash that voters created through a 2018 ballot measure. But many of their proposals for that money lose sight of what voters had in mind when they passed Proposition C, says the measure’s author. That was to finally turn the homelessness crisis around. Proposition C established a gross-receipts tax on large businesses, netting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that was locked up in court until September. City staff last week appealed to the fund’s oversight committee, requesting money to cover recent expenses and expand existing programs, including a pharmacy run by the Department of Public Health. But these are hardly the types of results that voters expected, said Jennifer Friedenbach, who wrote the ballot measure and is the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.
San Francisco officials said they intend to reverse a policy change that would have left homeless shelter residents with fewer protections from eviction than they had before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The policy would have eliminated decades-old rules and endangered the rights of shelter residents and unhoused people citywide, increasing their risk of being pushed onto the street amid a coronavirus surge, advocates said.
On Wednesday, one day before advocates prepared to hold a protest initially billed as a “die-in” outside the Moscone Center South homeless shelter, the city reversed its decision.
Postal workers nationwide rallied on Tuesday to demand Congress approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service to ensure its continued operation, and reverse workflow changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. In San Francisco, members of the American Postal Workers Union San Francisco Local #2 gathered in the rain in front of the Fox Plaza post office to distribute leaflets, saying the service was still in dire need of congressional aid and could shut down next year without it.
More than 61% of San Francisco voters approved Proposition B, a charter amendment to split the Department of Public Works in two and add oversight commissions to both departments. Proposition B came on the heels of a city corruption scandal, investigations into which are ongoing.
With the majority — but not all — of San Francisco’s votes tallied, a series of maps created by local designer Chris Arvin show how differently, or similarly, residents in different neighborhoods voted from one another by location. Arvin joined “Civic” to discuss the maps and what they show, and a new tool he developed that offers an analysis of the correlations between precinct demographics and contest outcomes.
San Francisco has faced many scandals in which public officials abused their power for personal, political or organizational gain. Most recently, the Department of Public Works was rocked by an FBI investigation into alleged kickbacks, slush funds and illicit permitting influence. On the November, 2020 ballot, Proposition B has been proposed as a way to limit the scope of alleged corruption in the sprawling Department of Public Works, but what other measures could voters use in the future to keep elected and appointed officials accountable in San Francisco?
With Corruption on the Ballot, San Francisco Could Learn Oversight From Other Scandal-Plagued Cities
When it comes to good government, dysfunction and disgrace can occasionally inspire some of the brightest ideas for reform. And getting the whole community involved in the cleanup — through the ballot box — can be one way to make those changes happen faster. Though the parallels are not exact, the tiny scandal-ridden city of Bell, near Los Angeles, could hold keys to fixing a culture of corruption that has insinuated itself deep in the heart of San Francisco’s massive and opaque bureaucracy.
Bay Area political leaders are throwing cold water on a controversial work-from-home rule proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as part of a regional climate change plan. The proposed mandate, part of a long-term sustainability initiative called Plan Bay Area 2050, would require the majority of office workplaces to ensure 60% of their employees are working from home on any given day.