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San Francisco News and Politics

Photo taken by Jamie Whitaker

The Memorial Day weekend seemed to cause me to have more work to do at my full-time occupation. So, I’m going to breakdown all of the different pieces of news I ran across this past week in one post with links here and there to the original sources.

Big Pay Raises at City Hall
The Examiner had the run-down on City Hall raises that came part and parcel with voters approval of Proposition C on the November 2006 ballot.

Politician Old Salary New Salary
Mayor Newsom $188,816 $245,749
District Attorney Harris $176,261 $211,878
City Attorney Herrera $176,261 $205,328
Public Defender Adachi $167,890 $195,254
Sherriff Hennessey $137,505 $194,473
Assessor-Recorder Ting $152,211 $162,122
Treasurer Cisneros $158,014 $158,014

Read more on examiner.com.

We Need More Police in the City!
Some raises I’m happy to read about are aimed at the SFPD. As many of you probably know, we have a pretty severe staffing shortage on the SFPD. For example, the traffic division is about half staffed the last I heard … making the probability of speeding drivers through our City getting caught less than it would be otherwise. Anyway, wages go up 4% on July 1st … for first-year officers, who normally get paid about $65,000 to start (before the overtime bucks), there is an addition 4% raise … taking the starting pay up to around $70,000 per year (again, before overtime bucks).

I believe this is a good move when the City is having a tough time recruiting new police (as is every other city in the Bay Area). There are a few more increases… 2% kicking in December 29, 2007, and then fiscal year increases in 2008, 2009, and 2010 at rates of 7%, 6%, and 4% respectively. This is a smart move … we have to get a grip on crime, especially violent crime and preventing pedestrian/bicyclist deaths from excessively speeding drivers. Read more about the raises on Examiner.com.

MUNI Union Wants Bonuses for Managers for Showing Up for Work
File this under – What the Heck?!: Proposed “bonuses” for MUNI managers … a $350 annual bonus is proposed for managers who work at least 1,880 hours a year (about 36 hours a week in a 52-week year). So, let’s pay these people a bonus to show up for work? This stinks to high heaven, and pisses me off beyond comprehension. This agency has 240 vehicle operators out on long-term leave – okay, that’s an expensive bunch of costs for the City. About 16.5% of drivers are absent each weekday – and you wonder why scheduled buses never appear? This ignorant “attendance bonus” is part of the proposed contract due to be voted on this month by the MUNI’s (SFMTA’s?) Board of Directors. Arghh…..

Halloween Leaves Castro, at least officially
As mentioned here on the Rincon Hill blog, there was a meeting last Wednesday held by Supervisor Bevan Dufty to discuss plans for this year’s big Halloween party in the City. I had to earn a living at my full-time job that evening, so I did not attend this meeting. However, there were no surprises … they’re going to attempt to offload the party to the South Beach/Mission Bay neighborhood by setting it up at Parking Lot A on Third Street just behind AT&T Park. I’m thinkin’ the folks who live in South Beach and Mission Bay have a thing or two to say about it …. and hopefully will be contacting the City’s Entertainment Commission, Supervisors Dufty and Daly, and Mayor Newsom as soon as possible to tell them what they think about this circus of violence being shoved into their neighborhood without their input.

SNAFU (San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna Free Union) Afraid of Health and Environmental Effects from Wi-Fi Internet Antennae
Along with our “progressive” Supervisors delaying votes on the Citywide Wi-Fi free Internet service offered by Earthlink and Google, a new group calling itself SNAFU wants the Board of Supes and the Planning Department to reconsider the April 20th decision to exempt from environmental review the installation of the 2,000 or so needed Wi-Fi transmitters around the City. This could delay a decision to rollout citywide Wi-Fi Internet by another year. I assume this means that none of the members of SNAFU have cell phones, microwave ovens, television sets, iPods, clock radios, or any other of the myriad of devices that airlines request us to power off when the airplane leaves the ground due to RF (radio frequency) concerns. Then again, maybe this is just a group that owns a lot of AT&T and Comcast stock – heck if I know. As my favorite singer Freddie Mercury sang, Time Waits for Nobody.

Ballot Initiative to Add Parking in San Francisco
Make of this what you will – a ballot measure to increase the number of parking spots in the City, especially in commercial residential areas, is coming to a clipboard near you. They need to collect 10,500 valid signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. If this measure gets on the ballot and passes, I’ll actually be in support of that creative (snark) Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s toll on vehicles entering the City during business hours. It is also being considered by Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, and the toll already exists in London’s downtown.

No “Progressive” Candidate
A whole lot of talking happened at the Progressive Convention from what I’ve read at SFist.com and in the Chronicle. If politicians like to do anything, it is hear their own voices. So… what was the result? They still need a “progressive” candidate. I do hope that whomever the “progressive” candidate turns out to be, he or she will embrace the notion that progressive does not mean fiscally irresponsible.

Shew… I believe I’m all caught up posting notes on things that caught my eye now. Time to go to bed.

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