Sunday, January 17, 2021
Uncategorized Politics on Tuesday: Campos, Chiu, the bus “fee” and...

Politics on Tuesday: Campos, Chiu, the bus “fee” and a worry for Greg Suhr…


Chiu, I am told, has promised both allies and foes that he doesn’t want the race to get nasty and negative. Campos never gets nasty and negative. If they can both restrain their friends and advisors, we can talk about the future of San Francisco and the statewide issues.

Now: On a lot of the statewide issues, these two will agree. But voting the right way isn’t enough; it’s a matter of whether you can force the debate (as Tom Ammiano has done on so, so many issues); whether you can get bills passed (again, Ammiano has a perfect record this year) and whether you bring not the pork of public money home as much as the leadership on local issues home.


Nice to see that the mayor has – finally – agreed that the tech buses should pay to use Muni stops. But seriously — $1 a stop? When anyone else taking that space gets fined $271?

That’s the result of calling this a “fee,” which under state law, can only cover the actual cost of administering the program. Something else the state Leg should take up. But since this was clearly negotiated by the Mayor’s Office, and not imposed on the tech companies, did it have to be so low – and will that satisfy the critics? Not really.

The city claims that, under the evil law Prop. 218, it’s illegal to charge a “fee” that exceeds the cost of administering a program. That would make it a “tax,” which would need voter approval. (And let me ask: Does anyone really think that a fair tax on Google buses would get anything less than about 90 percent of the vote in this town right now?)

But there’s a larger point here. As Tony Kelly, Potrero Hill activist, points out in an insightful post on Facebook, this wasn’t a typical fee – it was a negotiated deal, a contract that the city worked out with the bus companies and the tech firms. And as so often happens, the city got cheated. Kelly:

So, yes, you can ‘create a fee structure that goes beyond administering the cost of the program’ … if the shuttle users agree to it. And that money could go to Free Muni for Youth, or better transit in low-income neighborhoods, or lots of things in our sorely underfunded system. But, once again, they shuttle users aren’t giving the City a dime more than they have to. And our public infrastructure continues to suffer.


There’s an element of the case of Q, the 14-year-old who is being charged as an adult in a murder case, that ought be give Police Chief Greg Suhr pause.

When he was originally questioned about the killing, Q said he never called the cops because “they don’t like me and they don’t believe me.” That’s a common attitude among young people in Hunters Point. And it’s not at all what the police need.

I sat in the courtroom for two days as two officers tried to defend a version of the case that was shot to hell by Q’s lawyer, Rebecca Young – and I was one of three people over 20 (the other two were Q’s parents) and the only white person listening. The seats were filled with young African American friends of Q – and as Young points out, they did not leave the courtroom with a good impression of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office or the San Francisco Police Department:

It is time for the DA’s Office to stop seeing their charging decisions and plea bargain offers as race-neutral.  Because the biases of the charging deputies are subconscious or unconscious, thus not consciously considered, the DAs believe that charging decisions are race neutral. This is fallacious.

In fact, race must be considered and in this fashion:  “If this were a white kid from the Sunset, rather than a black kid from the Bayview, would I feel the same about my charging decision, or would I be more concerned with the reaction of the community and the scrutiny of the media and whether or not this child should be treated according to his developmental age, rather than just based on the alleged conduct?

Additionally, with all the black people sitting in court over the nine days of preliminary hearing, the Police Department has not garnered their trust – a stated goal of Chief Suhr. What Sgt. Burke did on the stand was just shameful.

Something for Suhr to think about. When a couple of cops in the Mission go out of their way to help young people, it creates the perception that the SFPD is, at least conceivably, on the side of young people of color. When homicide cops act the way they did in this case, it does the exact opposite.

Sometimes, there’s more at stake than putting one 14 year old behind bars.

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at), follow @supermarke on Twitter.


  1. So basically you are supporting Campos so he can raise money for your “progressive” politicians and causes over the next 12 years. Great Reason!

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