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Court Jester analyzes Peskin committee assignments


By h. brown


January 24, 2007

Peskin Committees open doors

(Mirkarimi sitting pretty)

Yesterday Hollywood announced their nominees for the Academy awards and SF Board of Supes prez Aaron Peskin announced his new committee assignments. The committee assignments are one hell of a lot more important around these parts.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin wields his greatest power as Board President
bestowed with the authority of assigning supervisors to committees.

Let's cut to the chase here, campers. If you want to be noticed on the Board of Supervisors you can either grandstand every now and then (e.g., Sandoval's 'no military' and 'support the Seahawks' stands) or you can bust your ass for month after month on the budget (e.g., Daly for the past 6 years). It's seldom that a supe gets the opportunity to do both in any meaningful fashion. President Peskin created just such a situation for District 5's Ross Mirkarimi. Is it in reaction to the Mirk and Peskin being ejected from Gavin's office last Thursday? Is it a path back to Room 200 for a full term as mayor?

Who got appointed to what and why

There are 7 committees in the new Board structure and only one (Public Safety) is new. Keep that in mind because it means everything. A really busy supervisor who takes their assignments seriously can spend up to 20 hours a week on SFGTV creating or defending legislation. During Budget season, Daly (who again - deservedly so - draws the Chair position of the body's key unit) … Daly is again the Chair of Budget and Finance and he can easily spend 20-30 hours a week there during budget season. That's just on Budget and Finance and billionaire developers quake as their minions appear before D-6's 'bad boy' again and again. It didn't stop there. Aaron Peskin rewards good service. He thus, also assigned his trusted lefty pistolero to be Vice Chair of Government Audits and Oversight. Measuring bang for the buck (other than Aaron), Daly has more actual power than anyone on the Board.

But the flash goes to Mirkarimi

Call me a silly (or worse) but I think the creation of the new Public Safety committee and the designation of D-5's Ross Mirkarimi as its chair, was an endorsement by Peskin, of Ross Mirkarimi for mayor.

It's all about flash and pizzazz when you run for higher office. You need a soapbox and if you're serious, you need a bunch of free soapboxes to rival the gratis press that an incumbent mayor is granted automatically. The new Public Safety committee offers just that. Imagine potential schedules and see if you think they qualify as photo opportunities for major and alternative press.

Proposed for consideration

- Foot Patrol evaluation

Are the cops actually walking the foot patrols? Testimony from residents and the cops. Would it be better if cops walked alone?

- The Fire Chief's house

Why does the Fire Chief of San Francisco refuse to live in the centrally located house that the people of San Francisco built for the fire chief so that the fire chief could live in a centrally located residence?

- Emergency fresh water cisterns

Why are emergency fresh water cisterns not marked?

- What's in the SFPD MOU?

That last part is 'memorandum of understanding' and it defines the responsibilities of the cops so's they can get paid. Believe me, what they have to do to get paid has declined as their union (POA - a blustering bunch of bullies) has gained strength. Why is this the only major police department in the United States that doesn't have helicopters? What happened to the kiosk/cobans the cops used to position in high crime and tourist areas? Why don't cops ride buses anymore?

POA harassment of OCC and Police Commission members

Why did the police chief do nothing when the Vice President of the POA (Kevin Martin) attacked police commissioner, Joe Veronese? Why did the chief do nothing when the POA created and distributed propaganda films critical of commissioner Peter Keane?

The Josh Wolf case

What is the relationship of the SFPD to the Department of Homeland Security vis-a-vis the Josh Wolf case?

Pot cards and illegal SFPD crackdowns

Who the hell is Marty Halloran and why is he allowed to violate SF law and use police department resources to attack medical pot patients, distributors and growers?

You get the idea? We're not even talking about what will happen before this body if we have some kind of terrorist 'event'. This is the committee that will be the real headline grabber and can move it's chair to the other end of City Hall. I'm saying that the fact that Peskin handed it to Mirkarimi was a de facto endorsement for mayor. By also assigning Mirkarimi to the Board/SFUSD committee, he guarantees Ross lots of exposure to grandstand over school closures and placement.

How the rest shook out

Of the 21 assignments, Ed Jew got one. He was probably pissed (it's City Operations and Neighborhood Services). Gerardo Sandoval got one. He's probably happy (it's Land Use and the $500 checks will flow for 2 years on that one). Peskin took but one assignment (he's swing vote on Rules where every new candidate, be they from the mayor, the Public Defender, the D.A.), … they all have to kiss Aaron's ass and come under that cynically sardonic gaze before taking their seats and doing the same thing to you, granted, Aaron's only on rules but he's ex-officio member of every committee, task force and hunting party.

Bevan Dufty has a front-row voting seat (but no chair) where the wild things will be playing. In fact he has 3 of them. He's on Budget and Finance. He's a voice for police reform on Public Safety. And, he's on the Supe/SFUSD oversight committee.

Sophie Maxwell got 3 committee assignments but little power. She's on Public Safety committee where one would hope (but not expect) she could make the cops more accountable. Since most of the people who get murdered in this town are black, it almost necessitates putting the only black supe on this plum tribunal. She's on City/SFUSD where school assignments generally revolve around everyone trying to get their kids away from black schools. And, she's been on Land Use with McGoldrick (drink heavily before you tune this one in) … been on Land Use since Noah was chair.

Ammiano probably had his choice of whatever, and he should. He's on Budget and Finance where his institutional memory precedes that of the aforementioned Noah, and he's on Rules where he and Peskin can vote down any serious knuckle-draggers the mayor might send down the hall for coronation ('Hi, my name's Annemarie Conroy and …').

Pier got 2 spots but, like Sandoval, she doesn't spend much time in City Hall …

Enuff for now

Suffice to say that the new structure opens the way for Mirkarimi to make a run for mayor. It increases the power of Bevan Dufty. It creates an entirely new juggernaut to go after the mayor's lousy job on Public Safety. It gives Sandoval, Jew and Alioto-Pier an excuse to go home early and often. And, most of all, it gives me another chance to play pontificating know-it-all. I like it.

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email h at h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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