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Overheard in Fog City

Luke Thomas
FCJ Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Photo by Adam Aufdencamp

By Luke Thomas


May 12, 2007

Daly whips up progressives

With less than six months before San Franciscans go to the polls to elect a new mayor, incumbent Mayor Gavin Newsom remains unchallenged from any viable candidates from the left. As I wrote in my last column, this could soon change.

Yesterday, Supervisor Chris Daly sent an email inviting progressives to attend a progressive convention on June 2nd at the Tenderloin Community School from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The purpose of the convention, as stated in Daly's email, is "to set the stage for our progressive campaigning this summer and fall, to consolidate our platform, train in the nuts and bolts of electioneering, launch our candidate(s) for Mayor of San Francisco, and have lots of fun."

Reached by phone, Daly explained San Francisco progressives will have a progressive mayoral candidate nominated by the end of the convention.

"I am one hundred per cent committed to a progressive campaign," Daly said by phone.

The short list of nominees presently includes Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Board President Aaron Peskin, former Board President Matt Gonzalez, and Daly, himself.

Although Senator Carole Migden has confirmed her attendance at the convention, her name is not expected to be added to the list of possible mayoral candidate nominees.

Newsom returns unsigned affordable housing supplemental

Mayor Gavin Newsom sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors yesterday explaining why he refused to sign legislation passed by supervisors appropriating $28 million of $127 million in surplus budget funds to affordable housing.

The letter, released after the close of business Friday, states, "Today I return unsigned an ordinance approving $28.05 million in supplemental spending at the end of the current fiscal year. This last minute spending measure doubles the City's budget deficit in the coming fiscal year, and therefore my administration will not spend funds which we do not have.

"All of us share affordable housing, the subject of this supplemental spending, as a key budget priority. However, I believe that spending available funds now which we will need in a matter of weeks to balance our budget is akin to spending available cash from a monthly paycheck before next month's bills are paid."

Commenting on the letter and Newsom's action, legislation sponsor Supervisor Chris Daly said Newsom will be forced to spend the money as required by the legislation.

"San Franciscans need more affordable housing. While Newsom can choose not to spend these monies while in office, San Francisco's newly inaugurated progressive Mayor will answer the call and utilize these monies to aggressively build affordable housing next year," Daly stated.

Sparks makes history, Renne resigns

At Wednesday's police commission meeting, the seven-member panel voted to elect a new commission president. The commission voted 4-3 to replace anti-reformist Louise Renne with pro-reformist Theresa Sparks. Sparks' elevation marks the first time in U.S. history a transgender person has been elevated to head a big city police commission.

Following the vote, Renne stormed out of the meeting and resigned from the commission the following morning.

Renne is lucky to have served another year as commission president. Last year she narrowly escaped being dethroaned by a commission growing increasingly dysfunctional under Renne's reign.

You'll recall Commissioner David Campos, a newbie to the commission at the time, led the vote with a nod for Renne. Campos' vote was critical in determining Renne's fate by influencing the votes of commissioners following Campos. Had Campos voted for Sparks then as he did Wednesday, Sparks would have been commission president a year ago.

Newly affirmed Police Commission President Theresa Sparks
with former Commission President Louise Renne. File photo.




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