Mayor “running roughshod” over Board of Supervisors

Written by Nicholas Olczak. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on March 20, 2008 with 2 Comments

By Nicholas Olczak

March 20, 2008

Supervisor Chris Daly accused the Mayor’s Office of failing to involve the Board of Supervisors in policy issues, speaking during a tense Budget and Finance Committee meeting yesterday.

Debating the re-appropriation of funds earmarked for the construction of an expensive ramp to more appropriate uses, Mayor’s liaison to the Board of Supervisors Christine DeBerry accused Supervisor Chris Daly of reducing the issue to an “either or” issue without consulting with the Mayor.


Christine DeBerry

Daly sought to clarify how the Mayor and Board function in “the consultative nature of the legislative” process, but was blocked in this examination by Newsom ally Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.

“Can we not do this ‘how a bill becomes a law?’” Elsbernd asked. “We’ve got a huge agenda.”


Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

Supervisor Daly explained that an examination is necessary because he said the Mayor’s office was choosing to “specifically exclude the legislative process” from budget issues.

“The Mayor’s office feels like it can run roughshod over the Board of Supervisors,” Daly said.

 
Supervisor Chris Daly

Committee chair Supervisor Jake McGoldrick attempted to interject while Daly was expressing his dismay at the Mayor’s Office. Daly suggested McGoldrick was complicit in denying the Board of Supervisors the necessary involvement in deciding how the City’s budget should be appropriated and spent.

“He can’t just cut me off when I have the floor,” Daly responded to Fog City Journal inquiry.

Daly stressed the importance of understanding that it is the Board of Supervisors that appropriates the City’s $6.3 billion budget which the Mayor is obligated to spend as determined by the Board.

Newsom, however, has set a precedent of ignoring the Board’s mandates, refusing to spend appropriations authorized by the board including a $33 million supplemental appropriation earmarked in 2007 for affordable housing.


Supervisor Jake McGoldrick (left)

Earlier in the meeting, Department of Public Health Director Doctor Mitch Katz was called upon to account for the cuts in funding.

Daly said the Department of Public Health and the Mayor’s Office were framing the situation as cutting health services to fund other health services. He said that he “does not subscribe to this” and it was necessary to “look across the city” when discussing the budget.

“There needs to be a collaborative discussion between the executive branch and the legislative branch of government on priorities across the city,” Daly said.

He said he was “amazed” at the lack of discussion between the Mayor and the Board.

He called for the Mayor’s Office to “at least have the common courtesy” to enter into discussions.

“If they’re not going to do that, then what I’m going to do is keep drafting supplemental appropriations all the way up to the 2nd of June,” Daly said.

The hearing also revealed that the Mayor’s Office on Disability, with the approval of Newsom, had continued spending money on the development of a ramp despite the Board’s wishes to examine the appropriateness of the costly expenditure.

“The Mayor made it clear that he does not want to see this delayed,” DeBerry said.

The initital $975,000 allocation for the ramp now stands at an estimated $760,000 with funds drawn for planning and off-site activities. In February the Board of Supervisors voted against the ramp’s construction citing exhorbitant construction costs.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who called into question Newsom’s public welcoming of lawsuits against the City he represents, echoed Daly’s concerns.

“There is a parallel effort going on, and we are being excluded from that effort,” Mirkarimi said.

The committe voted 3-2 to put the ramp construction funds on hold, to allow more time to examine less expensive ramp construction alternatives, and to allow the full board an opportunity Tuesday to discuss other uses of the funds.

Nicholas Olczak

Bio

Nicholas Olczak is a freelance writer who comes from (the original) Boston in England, but who normally chooses to travel the world. He has contributed to publications in Hong Kong and the USA and enjoys delving into anything political or cultural. He currently lives on one of San Francisco's many hills.

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