By Tim Redmond
JULY 17, 2014 — Here’s the most interesting thing about the State Lands Commission suing San Francisco: Gavin Newsom is, in essence, suing the city that gave him a political career.
Newsom is one of three officials who sit on the SLC, along with the state controller and the governor’s finance director. And while nobody from the SLC is returning my phone calls, I don’t think the agency can launch this sort of litigation at the staff level.
Which means at some point, unless he was the only “no,” Newsom must have voted to sue the city that he ran as mayor for seven years.
Of course, we know that Newsom was a pal of the developers who want to turn the waterfront into Miami Beach for the Rich because he was all over their ads. But this goes to another level.
Louise Renne, the former city attorney, told me that she thinks the position the SLC is taking in its complaint is “shocking.”
The commission is saying that San Francisco voters have no say at all over what happens on the waterfront. “They’re arguing that the Port could build 10 Empire State Buildings, and the voters could do nothing,” Renne said. “That’s a pretty extreme position.”
Since the Port hasn’t done such a great job of planning (see: 8 Washington, the Warriors, the Giants), the voters need to be able to set at least basic land-use policy. “It’s a fight for the heart and soul of the waterfront,” Renne said.
Oh, and here’s another twist: Most people seem to support the Pier 70 project, which could go on the next ballot and win approval. But now it’s going to get caught up in this lawsuit and could be delayed for years while Gavin Newsom fights with the City Attorney’s Office over the power of the SLC.
Good job, Gav.
The accreditors who want to shut down City College had another legal setback yesterday when Judge Curtis Karnow, to nobody’s surprise, summarily rejected the ACCJC’s effort to get rid of a suit by the City Attorney’s Office. The judge’s quick and decisive ruling said that nothing the ACCJC has done in its bogus effort to give City College a break really counts, and the suit will go forward to trial in October.
This, folks, is the ACCJC’s worst nightmare. Everything ugly about the commission, every unfair move it’s made, will be on display in a public courtroom for all to see. It could be the beginning of the end of this rogue institution.
I’m sure, given all of the civility going on at City Hall these days, that Mayor Ed Lee just made a mistake. But Sup. John Avalos heard it, and Sup. David Campos heard it, and I heard it: Lee appeared to refer to Avalos as “Sup. Asshole” during question time this week.
You can get the video of the July 15th board meeting here. The choice moment begins at about 13:16. Avalos is asking the mayor why the city isn’t moving faster to divest its pension fund from fossil-fuel companies. The mayor, in typical fashion, is ducking as best as he can.
And then at about 15:08: “The point of your question, Sup. Asshole … Avalos …”
Again: Certainly just a slip of the tongue. The mayor was reading from a prepared statement. If they had a real question time, with real discussions, instead of all sides reading prepared statements, this might not have happened.
But I was sitting in the board chamber when it did, and I looked over at Avalos, who shook his head and mouthed “Supervisor Asshole?” Later he texted me:
“I think it was accidental but if he meant it then I have more respect for him for his crass question-time derring-do.”