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Two supervisors block
Board of Supervisors consideration
of Treasure Island appointment

Nominee Ted Dienstfrey bows to Rules Committee will.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

May 5, 2006

The 11-member Board of Supervisors will not consider a specialist in contract negotiations for appointment to the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) due to yesterday's nominee rejection by two supervisors.

A two-member majority of the Rules Committee rejected the nomination of former San Francisco Director of Housing Ted Dienstfrey citing poor grasp of current Treasure Island issues.

The action prevents full board debate.

His background in land negotiations would have been an additional asset to TIDA as it continues talks with the U.S. Navy and developers, Dienstfrey told the Sentinel following the vote.

"I do think there are issues which are going to come up which my experience would have been helpful - in how you discount and evaluate future income streams," Dienstfrey reflected.

"There are technical issues how you negotiate with the developer, how you negotiated with the Navy over what might happen in the future."

District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents Treasure Island and sat in on the hearing, urged committee members Mirkarimi, Ammiano, and Sean Elsbernd to reject the nomination.

District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly

Dienstfrey, a Berkeley resident, was unaware that a Treasure Island elementary school recently was closed, Daly pointed out.

In addition, Dienstfrey worked for the California Housing Council in the 1970s, Daly reported in blog which Daly characterized as an anti-rent control organization.

The District 6 supervisor cited an SFWeekly article by Peter Byrne which portrayed Dienstfrey views on rent control as "anathema to San Francisco's respectable, radical advocates for tenant rights."

Byrne also gave fuller detail.

Dienstfrey backed rent control with annual rent increase of four to seven percent, stating "elderly, fixed-income, and impoverished tenants could be protected from unaffordable increases with subsidies from a pool funded by city fees on new construction and a gross receipts tax on landlords, he says. When a sitting tenant vacates an apartment, it would be permanently removed from rent control. Protections against unjust evictions would remain in place," Byrne wrote.

Dienstfrey questioned whether Treasure Island residents are the best guide for contract negotiations.

"I gather the majority on the committee feels that it is more important at this time to have someone who lives on the island involved with the long-term planning of what will happen," Dienstfrey told the Sentinel.

"I think that the people who live on the island -- their concerns need to be heard and as far as possible addressed.

"But I'm not totally sure that those are the people the City needs to rely on to development long range planning decisions."

One committee member preferred the nomination be sent to the full Board of Supervisors for consideration.

"Members of the board should publicly discuss what their thoughts are," contended District 7 Supervisor Elsbernd.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

"But that authority, Supervisor Elsbernd, still falls within this committee," responded committee chair Mirkarimi.

"We do have that authority to exercise that ability do we not?" asked Mirkarimi.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

"I'm just looking for a justification as to why seven members of the board should not be heard on this nomination," Elsbernd explained.

"I think we gave you a response - I don't know if we need to justify it," Ammiano maintained.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano




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