With h brown
San Francisco mayoral candidate, h. "Court Jester" Brown.
Putting perspective on Peskin Putsch
(Daly irritant to Downtown)
June 18, 2007
Every year, the Mayor sends a huge budget to the Board of Supervisors,
and every year they approve 99.7% of it without arguments. Every
year, in a kind of amusing exhibition of hound dog vs. grizzly
bear, the Board tries to 'add-back' around .3% of the projects
and expenditures the Mayor typically cuts. You know, things like
emergency care for the insane, legal aid for the poor, help for
AIDS patients (you won't see him cutting golf courses or the opera).
Every year, each side accuses the other of reckless disregard
for the public safety and for lacking compassion. Every year,
the Board and the Mayor spar and finally shake hands on a compromise.
Not this year.
This year, for the first time in ten years, the Board President
flipped over to the side of the Mayor before public arguments
even began. Alioto never did that. Ammiano never did that. Gonzalez
never did that. Why Peskin? Why now?
The explanation is that Peskin has become a total stooge of Downtown
business interests. And, Downtown, as we know, hates Daly, the
hero of the masses. After spending millions in three elections
to defeat Chris and failing, the plan has obviously been hatched
to use their puppet, Peskin, to strip Daly of his power within
the Board. So far, it's going well.
Aaron has used the pretext of a promised skirmish over that magical
.3% the Board claws for. Peskin says that, in order to preserve
order, he's replacing Daly on the Budget Committee. With whom?
Peskin did same thing to Gonzalez
This isn't the first time Peskin has maneuvered to silence the
leading voice of the elected Progressives. Those 'long of tooth'
will remember that Peskin and Mark Leno rendered the voice of
Matt Gonzalez mute six years back at the Finance Committee. Leno
and Peskin listened patiently to Matt's analyses of issue after
issue and then voted him down. Police Department wins in Finance
Committee 2-1. Swells win in Finance Committee 2-1. Over and over.
"I'm a college graduate and I can count to 3."
(Gonzo explains leaving Finance)
Peskin engineered the same kind of deal with Daly in the Government
Audit and Oversight Committee this year. He stacked it with a
2/3rds majority of conservative supes (Elsbernd and Pier - Daly
being 3rd member), and then sent items that should have gone to
Daly's Budget and Finance Committee to Audits and Oversight.
The result has been that the Audit and Oversight Committee has
become a rubber stamp for big-ticket mayoral budget items. It
did virtually no audit and oversight, for instance, of the cops
new union contract. Let's take a second out and consider that.
POA drug-test provisions toothless
Tomorrow, the Board of Supes will pass the cops' budget by a
10-1 vote (unless Jew is suspended). Sections 26 to 29 of this
contract lay out the cops' first drug testing program. It is a
It says cops can be tested within the first year of being hired
(doesn't specify what drugs they'll be tested for - without steroids,
it's useless to stem police brutality). The contract says they
can be tested in their first year on the job, then again when
they go for a promotion. Any other tests are done by decisions
made by line officers. Who, incidentally, never order drug tests
(especially not even a mention of the word 'steroids') cause it
would bring down their whole house of cards vis a vis their souped-up
I'd asked Daly if he'd try to refer the cops MOU back to Public
Safety Committee (where it should have been in the first place)
to hear from the ACLU and other stakeholders who weren't aware
of the rushed job Peskin snuck through Audit and Oversight). Daly
said, a bit sardonically, that his influence wasn't very high
at the moment.
Daly is just beginning
Sometimes, as Rosie Perez said, "When you lose you win."
And sometimes, "When you win, you lose." This is one
of those times for all involved parties on and around the Board
of Supes on the matter of Peskin's smackdown of Daly (notice how
Aaron is getting more comfortable attacking Board members?). Daly
loses in the media but not in the long run. Peskin wins in the
media but he's going nowhere without the Progressive base he's
alienated over the past year.
A smug Sean Elsbernd (did you seem him bottom out when he hypocritically
criticized McGoldrick for wanting to balance the books at Harding
Park?) lamented about how high the Harding fees were. They're
high because Elsbernd wasted 23 million dollars building a huge
debt on the course so that he could give it to his buddy, Sandy
Tatum, for a dollar. Elsbernd will be defeated in his re-election
run next year. My guess is by Tony Hall. Sean can then go back
to being amongst brightest Board staffers, probably as Chief of
Staff to a forgiving Hall.
Peskin's done, too. Whatever carrots Eric Jaye has been waving
under his nose will be withdrawn after this budget is passed.
Aaron's not going to be the Assessor. He's not going to the State
Assembly or Senate. He has no positive legacy from his time on
the Board and he has no political future. Daly's a different story.
Chris needs to offer a heartfelt apology to Ammiano (who really
knows what it's like to be a voice of one - ridiculed and marginalized
- year after year). Needs to apologize to Ammiano and Mirkarimi
and get on with his chosen task of being the current most valuable
warrior on the City's Left. Needs to apologize to Tom and Ross
during Roll Call for Introductions and give them some kind of
purple hearts for feeling his wrath. It might take a bit, but
they will accept. They know that he's on their side and they know
that Elsbernd and Peskin are not, and will only be around another
year, anyway. Ammiano will need the help of Daly's legions in
his run for Assembly, and Mirk will need Chris' help if he's to
be elected Board prez in January '09.
Are Progressives hurt? Nope, they're strengthened. As far as
I know, the last election around here was in November and we beat
the shit out of Downtown across-the-board. The next election is
this November and we'll certainly win the office of District Attorney
and perhaps even that of Mayor.
Next year, we'll run a fresh new crop of supervisors in odd-numbered
districts and we'll see a Board with the likes of Eric Mar and
Krissy Keefer, or Mark Sanchez and John Avalos. We have a majority
at the School Board and we'll have one at Community College by
next Hanukah. Crumbling? Naw, vetting the troops, that's all.
We win every year against all odds. I don't see that changing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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