McGoldrick on the Spot with Sunshine Veto

Written by Joe Lynn (RIP). Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on May 08, 2008 with 5 Comments

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Joe Lynn

May 8, 2008

Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi that would put online audio or video recordings of all Commission meetings.

The legislation passed its first reading 6-5. Supervisors Maxwell, McGoldrick, Chu, Eslbernd and Alioto-Pier intially voted against the legislation. With McGoldrick absent on the second vote, Supervisor Maxwell switched sides for a final vote of 7-3. One more vote crossing over will defeat the veto.

My money is on Jake McGoldrick to change his first vote and stand with the proponents of good government. I’m asking folks to contact Supervisor McGoldrick and ask him to stand with good government reform as he has done so consistently in the past.

On its face, the legislation is hard to oppose. By posting online recordings of Commission meetings, Commissioners can be held accountable for their actions. This will encourage them to do their homework and vote as smartly as they can.

But the Mayor raises a budget argument against the $76,000 program, an argument that rests on false economies. In fact, posting these recordings will encourage public input from interested citizens, many of them experts who have an interest in Commission work, who can then give us the benefit of their expertise for free.

Posting the recordings will make the Commissions smarter and save the City money.

Too often the “expertise” imparted to a Commissioner comes only from a staff later recognized as out of touch because of inadequate support, political cronyism, or an undisclosed agenda. Nevertheless, it is Commission staff who will have the closest relationship to an uninformed Commissioner — of whom we have too many.

The easiest way to break the pernicious cycle is for knowledgeable members of the public to set the Commissioners straight. Putting Commissioner meetings online allows those valued members of the public to listen to Commission business at their convenience and to weigh in on decisions made.

These insights might be what’s needed to effectuate our Commission form of government. Such reform comes cheap at a mere $76,000 per year. A strong argument can be made that better informed management will save the City much more.

A budget argument against this measure is myopic.

I consider this reform to rank with public financing as one of the most important improvements to local politics in the last eight years.

Supervisor McGoldrick has stood with us in bringing good government to San Francisco. I hope Fog City Journal readers will ask him to do so again.

Joe Lynn (RIP)

BIO Joe Lynn was the campaign finance and budget officer of the San Francisco Ethics Commission from 1998 to 2003. From 2003 to 2006, he served as one of the five Ethics Commissioners. The Bay Guardian called him “a leading voice for reform,” and the San Francisco Examiner called him “the backbone of the Ethics Commission.” While a staff member on the Ethics Commission, he received numerous awards and has been a speaker at many conferences on Good Government. He maintains an active interest in good government laws.

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Comments for McGoldrick on the Spot with Sunshine Veto are now closed.

  1. News Flash. Stop the presses. Cornered Jake at Yoshi’s tonite and, provided he remembers and stays true to his word, we should be fine. In response to my request to “..brighten up my day, and let the sun shine in..”, he said “Done, that’s no problem”. So lets hope he still respects his word in the morning. Luke you may take better pics but Elaine is much more appealing. Feel better.

  2. Adding my thanks, keep shining the light in all those dark corners. Hopefully Jake will shape up.
    For another opinion on Prop F, I would recommend checking the latest SFBayview’com and reading the piece by Kalann Johnson, a young 11th grade brother from BVHP.
    Luke, don’t leave h alone again, especially not when Queen Bee visits the hive !!!!!

  3. campers,

    Jake will vote for sunshine as will Sophie and Dufty again. He just wanted it to go to committee which it has. Only people who don’t want to let you see and hear what your government is saying are the ones who are stealing or facilitating the theft of your tax dollars and public resources. That would be Newsom, Elsbernd, Chu and Alioto-Pier. The rest of the Board (thank God) believes in open government.


  4. After the cesar chevez thing how can one trust jake?

  5. Thanks for running this story Luke and Thanks for writing it Joe!