Better Late Than Never:
Matier & Ross get the story on this year's
six months late
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly
Photo(s) by Luke
Daly, special to Fog City Journal
Reprinted with permission
December 4, 2007
In our first months in office in 2001, Matt Gonzalez announced
to take over the Housing Authority. The proposal certainly
had merit - a HUD audit found serious mismanagement and federal
indictments rained on the agency's Section 8 program. But I expressed
concern to Matt about the political repercussions. Certainly Willie
Brown's political machine would counter with strong
resistance and even accusations
of racism, and besides, we didn't seem to have the votes.
Matt answered me, "Even if we don't win, time
ahead with my support. The principled but impolitic stance
did not win enough votes on the Board of Supervisors, but it did
provide a pillar for Matt's energetic, populist campaign for Mayor
2 years later.
June was a rough month.
Standing alone at the Board of Supervisors, I challenged Gavin
Newsom, his "white
bread budget," and his $80
million giveaway to the Police Officers Association. Newsom
cut my supplemental appropriation for affordable housing and programmed
the monies into more police and pet projects.
In a speech
at the June 19th Board meeting (that didn't get the same attention
that a speech
a couple of hours later did), I took issue with both Newsom's
priorities and timing
of making huge giveaways to campaign supporters during an election
year. Newsom was blowing through enormous amounts of public money
and, at the same time, racking up big endorsements for his reelection.
However, in the newspaper editorials, it was only "Daly's
Political Games" taken to task, and at the Board of Supervisors,
I was removed
from the Chair of the Budget Committee. Nothing of Newsom's maneuvering.
Mayor Gavin Newsom
Queue ahead six months. Matier & Ross finally
get the budget story.
A cursory review of the Controller's
budget math shows Newsom blew through over $150 million of
our money in only 8 months - with the largest chunk, $30 million,
going to the all-powerful Police Officers Association and another
$13 million to symbolically important firefighters. Not that the
contract giveaways were just for tit-for-tat support of the Mayor's
They're really gifts that keep on giving.
This year the San Francisco Firefighters PAC ponied up the first
$5000 for Gavin's "Let's
Really Work Together Committee". The POA followed with
check of their own. Firefighter President John Hanley told
me that that was just the "cost of doing business."
And to think that I thought that heroes weren't supposed to put
themselves before others!
While it's clear that the Mayor's Office and the corporate press
buried the story of Gavin's drunken spending until after Elections
counted all the ballots, the Mayor's Budget Office released their
instructions weeks earlier than normal this year. This may
be a part of their attempt to block placement of the Affordable
Amendment on next November's ballot.
They've painstakingly placed language of the increased burden
of "$72 million in voter mandates" in every
on the subject - despite the fact that most of any increase in
mandates comes just as a percentage of increased revenues to the
When asked where the Mayor's Office came up with $72 million
anyway, Todd Rydstrom, Director of Budget & Analysis for the
Controller, could only speculate that they added voter
mandates and baseline growth line items which would produce
a figure of only $65 million. Regardless, once again the Mayor
is using the budget to run his political game.
This time I hope that the rest of us are a bit more on top of