Monday, June 15, 2009

June News

City Democratic Club Goes on Furlough in June –  NO Meeting in June ‘09

(But, be sure to come back July 16, when we’ll host Supervisor David Campos.)

With the budget crisis forcing government workers into 37.5 hour weeks, some more distant townships merging with others to cut costs, and the economy still limping along, we thought we’d take the month off in solidarity!  As Jeff Adachi informed the club in May, the Mayor has asked city department heads to cut costs by 25% across the board.  This means either cutting staff or programs – and, in cases such as the public defender’s office, it could run afoul of the public’s constitutional rights. 

With the “compromise budget” presented to California voters failing by a large margin – 65% No vote for most of the measures – the Governor and legislature will be seeking other ways to make Californians suffer in order to balance the budget.  Of course, the public voted Yes by a margin of nearly 75% on one measure: disallowing raises for the legislature and Gov during budget deficits.  For his part, the Gov is threatening to terminate state consumer and environmental agencies, close state parks, sell off landmarks, including San Quentin prison, and to cut state employees.  One of the most innovative solutions proposed to raise revenue?  Legalize marijuana.  Well, it begs the question of a slippery slope slide into the next possible action: legalizing prostitution. . . And, did we forget about that inconvenient issue of federal preemption?      

The trickle down effect of the state budget and the economy generally on SF’s city and county budget has resulted in similar threats, including reducing the city’s workforce by 1600 positions and doling out a portion in pink slips, most recently to parks maintenance and building inspections employees.  In addition, the plumping of services to the most needy is set for deflation, including HIV and AIDS services, and services for the drug and alcohol addicted and for the mentally unstable. 

As the city struggles to develop innovative strategies to raise money, the 49ers are finally giving up on their campaign to get the new stadium they were promised years ago and instead are seeking to relocate in Santa Clara.  San Francisco leaders, in a scramble to raise revenues, will be increasing the cost of public transportation, are installing smart parking meters with high tariffs that will be vigorously enforced, and are considering selling naming rights to street cars as well as selling taxi medallions.  Not yet on the table are proposals to charge for photos with the Mayor and using Muni tunnels for after hour “fun” (amusement park style) rides.

Well, good luck to us all and see you in July.