By Luke Thomas
July 9, 2010
Supervisors usually allied with San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi are threatening cuts to his budget, a Fog City Journal inquiry has revealed.
The move is a retaliatory strike over Adachi’s pension and healthcare reform measure, SF Smart Reform, which aims to rein in unsustainable pension and healthcare costs projected to exceed $1 billion by 2016.
Labor leaders who say the measure will hurt low-income working families are vociferously opposed to the measure. Mayor Gavin Newsom has also expressed opposition to the measure.
According to Budget Committee Chair John Avalos, Supervisor Chris Daly is expected to make a motion at the Board’s July 20 meeting asking the Board to reverse a $1.2 million public defender budget restoration. That restoration, transferred from the trial court budget, was applied to help prevent outsourcing of more expensive indigent defense counsel.
“I’d rather operate to keep the function of the public defender intact rather than apply retribution, although if my colleagues want to apply retribution, I’m not going to cry,” Avalos told Fog City Journal.
“I think what he’s (Adachi) doing, especially on the healthcare side, is very, very problematic,” Avalos explained. “It’s not typically what progressives stand for.”
If the SF Smart Reform measure qualifies for the November ballot and is passed by a simple majority of voters, city employees would be required to pay 50 percent of the cost to insure their dependents. It would also require city employees to contribute between 9 and 10 percent of their income towards their retirement pensions.
The measure would reduce next year’s projected $700 million deficit by $170 million, easing pressures to layoff city employees and make cuts to city services.
Asked what is the motivation behind the motion to cut Adachi’s budget, Supervisor Chris Daly told FCJ: “Even with the heroic work of John Avalos’s Budget Committee, there are important programs and vital services that have been cut. When we are cutting psychiatric beds and underfunding clean elections, no stone should be left unturned.”
Reached for comment, Adachi said, “It will be highly unusual to change the budget as passed by the budget committee.”