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Newsom holds rally for proposed budget

Mayor Gavin Newsom today held a rally on the steps of San Francisco City Hall
denouncing a rival budget proposal by Supervisor Chris Daly.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Tamara Barak

June 13, 2007

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and supporters of his planned 2007-2008 budget rallied on the steps of City Hall today, denouncing a rival proposal by Supervisor Chris Daly.

Newsom's $6.1 billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2007-2008 focuses most of the money on public safety, homelessness, city streets and strengthening the transportation system, according to the mayor's office.

Daly, a vocal Newsom critic who sits on the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee, has proposed cutting $37 million from the projects detailed in Newsom's budget and redirect the funds to affordable housing projects and services related to AIDS and mental health.

Newsom today told the crowd of about 100 people -- small business owners, public housing residents and advocates from disabled and environmental organizations -- that Daly's proposal would funnel money away from pothole repair, tree planting, cleaning up housing projects and putting more cops on the street.

"I never thought that at a time when violence is increasing -- not just in this city but nationwide -- I'd be having to stand on the steps of City Hall defending against a $3.5 million cut to police services," the mayor said.

Newsom rallied his supporters to fight against Daly's plan, which the mayor said included deep cuts in public works and police funding.

"Make no mistake. This is the beginning of the process. If you go away, the supervisor will succeed in eliminating these services," he said.

But Daly said today the mayor's budget is not what it appears. While Newsom claims his budget devotes the most funding ever to affordable housing, "what he doesn't tell you is $51 million is earmarked around homeownership," Daly said.

According to Daly, Newsom's budget will cut supportive housing for the homeless and rental housing for families and seniors.

"When you talk about the housing for struggling San Franciscans, the mayor's budget proposes nearly a $50 million reduction in rental housing categories. That means a significant blockage in San Francisco's affordable housing pipeline," Daly said.

While the mayor has increased funds toward his Care Not Cash program for the homeless, he has reduced funding for new supportive housing for homeless people by $24 million, Daly said.

"If you listen to him, it sounds great. The truth is there are massive cuts in affordable housing in the mayor's budget," Daly said.

Jenny Friedenbach, organizing director for the Coalition on Homelessness, said the mayor's proposed budget, with its 4 percent cut to the Health Department, would be devastating to homeless people. Friedenbach said this would mean the closure of the city's only 24-hour drop-in shelter and a loss of access to drug and alcohol treatment programs.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the proposed budget by early August. The mayor generally signs the budget into law by mid-August.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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