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News + PoliticsThe cops, cannabis, tracking landlords -- and are we just done with...

The cops, cannabis, tracking landlords — and are we just done with Zuckerberg?

Plus: a new committee on African American reparations. That's The Agenda for Nov. 30 to Dec. 6

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City Hall had last week off, but The Agenda for this week is full. Let’s start with the cops:

On Nov. 17, the Board of Supes approved on first reading a contract with the Police Officers Association that most of them agreed was a bad deal. Sup. Aaron Peskin made clear that he wasn’t happy with the lack of reforms in the deal, but he also said he thought the POA was changing, and the by the time the measure came back for second reading – on Dec. 1 – the association would have agreed in writing to some critical provisions. At the top of the list: A plan to shift responsibility for calls involving homelessness and mental illness away from police and onto social workers and mental-health professionals.

Will the supes demand reform before than give the final nod to raises for the cops?

The POA has demanded to “meet and confer” with the city on a long list of reforms, delaying some for more than a year. This one could wind up reducing the number of cops the city needs – and Sup. Hillary Ronen, who has been pushing that plan, demanded that the POA agree to it without any delays.

So as of last week, the Department of Human Resources and the POA were talking. As of now, they have announced no public agreement. If there’s nothing in writing Tuesday/1, it’s going to be hard for the supes who agreed to essentially put the final decision off while the two sides talked: Can they vote to approve the deal if nothing has changed?

At the very least, we will see whether the POA is really changing, and whether the Breed Administration is putting full pressure on the organization.

From the cops to cannabis: Also on the agenda for the Tuesday meeting is a proposal by Board President Norman Yee to ban indoor smoking in apartment buildings with more than three units.

Smoking, that is, of anything. Including weed.

According to Yee, it’s all about preventing the health impacts of second-hand smoke – and when it comes to tobacco, pretty much everyone agrees. But cannabis is a different story.

On the most simple level, tobacco smokers can walk outside – the way they have in offices, where smoking has been banned for more than 30 years – and get their fix on the sidewalk. But under state law, you can’t smoke pot in public.

So if you have a back yard, and the landlord lets you use it, you can light up your joint or pipe or bong there. And of course, if you live in a single-family house or a duplex, fire it up. But a lot of lower-income people, in particular, don’t have that advantage.

The bill exempts people with a medical marijuana card – but seriously, nobody over 21 gets those anymore. Why pay $100 for a card when the stuff is legal anyway?

So this is in part an economic issue: For a lot of people, this is medicine. Under the measure, poor people who live in small apartments in big buildings can’t smoke, but rich people with private houses and backyards can.

I get the second-hand smoke issue. And I am not a chemist or air-quality expert. But I think it’s pretty clear that the problems of second-hand tobacco smoke come not just from people exhaling smoke but from the cigarettes burning – and emitting horrible stuff – between puffs. That doesn’t happen, for the most part, with weed, since it goes out pretty quick when you stop inhaling (tobacco cigarettes have additives that keep it burning.)

And people who smoke week generally smoke a lot less of it than people who smoke tobacco – particularly these days when the stuff you can buy is so strong you only need one small hit.

And while it’s true, as Yee says, that you can ingest it in ways other than smoking, some people, for good reason, prefer to smoke. (You know the old joke about edibles? “Nothing’s happening I’m going to have another. Nothing’s happening, I’m going to have another. Nothing’s happening I’m going to have another. Nothing … whoops, I need to go to the Emergency Room.”)

Cannabis advocates are organizing, and there’s a move to amend to exempt weed from the ban.

Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer has proposed a measure that could be one of the most important housing reforms in years: She wants to set up a rental registry and require all landlords to report each year on the number of units they own, the rent they charge, and whether the unit is currently occupied.

That data would be invaluable.

There are, by some estimates, as many as 20,000 vacant apartments in the city. But nobody knows for sure; the landlords don’t have to say. So it’s impossible, for example, to have a functional tax on vacant units (which would encourage landlords to rent them out). We know that a large percentage of the so-called owner-move-in evictions are a fraud; the city still has no way to track them.

The landlord lobby is furious and complaining about extra bureaucracy, but really this is pretty simple: Fill out a form, submit it, and you’re done. Don’t cheat and wrongfully evict tenants or keep usable units off the market, and nothing bad happens. Berkeley has had a rental registry for years.

The bill has nine sponsors, so it’s going to pass with a veto-proof majority. (This is why, by the way, the progressives have worked so hard to keep eight or more seats on the board. We have no idea if the mayor would veto this if she had enough votes to uphold it.)

The San Francisco taxpayers, both tenants and landlords, agreed to tax themselves to the tune of more than $1.2 billion to rebuild San Francisco General Hospital. Then along comes Mark Zuckerberg, who gave $75 million to help equip the new trauma center – and he gets the place named after him.

Quick math: The San Francisco taxpayers came up with about 94 percent of the cost of the rebuild. But it’s not called the San Francisco Taxpayers General Hospital.

Some medical staff have been unhappy about this for a while. And since Facebook’s involvement with unethical data collection and empowerment of the white supremacists radical right, a growing number of activists have called on the city to change the name.

Now the issue is before the supes.

The Government Audit and Oversight Committee will hear a resolution Thursday/3 condemning the naming of the hospital and calling for a change in the way the city decides to name public buildings. (This one was all about money, nothing else: Zuckerberg agreed to give the money in exchange for his name on the place. And everyone signed off on the contract.)

The resolution contains a long list of reasons why the city shouldn’t be celebrating the founder and CEO of Facebook. Just a few:

WHEREAS, Facebook has allowed paid advertisements making false claims about the risks of proven AIDS prevention medication while simultaneously preventing advertisements promoting these public health tools; and

WHEREAS, In September 2019 Facebook removed a fact-checking disclaimer from a medically inaccurate video from an anti-abortion organization, which remains up; and

WHEREAS, In October 2019 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would allow politicians and political parties to openly lie in their advertisements, meaning that Facebook holds paid political advertisements to a lower standard than all others, which prompted a public outcry from Facebook employees; and

WHEREAS, According to Facebook’s own internal audit, the Facebook platform in Myanmar was used by bad actors to spread hate speech, incite violence, and coordinate harm, and posts on Facebook were linked to offline violence; and

WHEREAS, In India, according to a study by Equality Labs, hate speech targeting Indian caste, religious, gender, and queer minorities is rampant across Facebook; and WHEREAS, Facebook’s refusal to address long-standing concerns about its policies that have allowed hate, lies, racism, and disinformation on its platform has provoked more than 1,000 companies to boycott advertising on Facebook in July 2020 as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign …

You get the picture.

Two supervisors, Gordon Mar and Matt Haney, are asking their colleagues to send a message that the image of the city’s public-health infrastructure shouldn’t be for sale this way.

The hearing starts at 10am.

Sup. Walton is asking the city to create an African American Reparations Advisory Committee that would develop a plan that:

1) chronicles the legacy of American chattel slavery, post-Civil War government-sanctioned discrimination against African Americans, and ongoing institutional discrimination; 2) determines the scope of and eligibility for a citywide reparations program; 3) improves education, housing, workforce development, economic opportunities, financial stability, small businesses, transit access, and food security, while reducing violence, health disparities, and over-criminalization, experienced by Black people; and 4) examines current and historic structural discrimination within the City and County of San Francisco and proposes institutional reforms to guard against the need for future redress.

All members would be appointed by the supes.

This is, of course, part of a long-overdue national conversation; the wealth of the United States was built on stolen land and slave labor.

The measure comes before the Rules Committee Monday/30 at 10am and will most likely go to the full board the next day.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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11 COMMENTS

  1. “The bill exempts people with a medical marijuana card – but seriously, nobody over 21 gets those anymore. Why pay $100 for a card when the stuff is legal anyway?”

    Tim- Are you nuts!? That $100 dollar card “nobody gets anymore” saves you from paying taxes on purchases at the dispensary. And the card is only $50 if you’re on Medicare. My card typically pays for itself in 2 months, so I enjoy significant savings on cannabis products when combined with my senior and veterans discounts. Do your homework, man.

  2. “At the very least, we will see whether the POA is really changing, and whether the Breed Administration is putting full pressure on the organization.”

    Don’t you ever get tired of painting this pig with lipstick? The Board rolled over for Breed and the POA like they always do. We know exactly what the SFPOA is because they don’t shy from telling us what they are.

    The money laundering game goes on, the moderate-conservatives run the table while the progressives get to launder some of our money as well, so long as they do as they are told.

  3. Biden just gave us the 2020 equivalent of Obama’s 2008 appointments of Summers, Geithner and Emmanuel: Neera Tanden, a neoliberal austerian scold whose philosophy of governance is what led the Democrats from 60 Senators and +57 in the House to losing it all and barely scraping any back. The Tanden phenomenon will manifest with the Democrats losing the House in the mid-terms and the WH in 2024 to another right wing populist.

  4. How would a law prohibiting indoor pot usage be enforced? Would the police have to get search warrants for every single home where someone is suspected of smoking pot? They wouldn’t be able to do anything else. Next thing you know the cops will be accused of shooting pot smokers

  5. The concept that there could be national reparations for slavery and discrimination is one of the reasons that 70 million people voted for Trump, and the conservatives know this and try to use this concept to scare people and retain power. The idea that someone will take away everything you earned and give it to someone else to make reparations for injustices of centuries past is a scare mongering tactic that Fox news and the like use all the time. Just like saying the liberal cities have higher rates of homelessness, drug usage and crime.
    Biden and Harris won a good majority and they darn well better get their agenda right because the battle for progress isn’t over yet. This is one of the reasons that Biden may have been a better leader than Sanders or Warren because the can lead from a center-left agenda, which is where the country is right now. This country takes incremental steps toward progress and when shifts occur too quickly there is often a backlash.

  6. I am a life long non smoker who strongly opposes this new indoor apartment smoking ban. This law seems like excessive government overreach and intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

    As long as someone is not emitting toxic vapors into adjoining units (which is already illegal) they should be allowed to enjoy the privacy of their own living space and also enjoy how they want to entertain themselves. I also agree that this apartment building smoking ban disproportionally impacts lower income individuals. This is over regulation of private behavior and is one more step down a slippery slope of a guardian state dictating how one is to live.

    Just say no to this ban.

    David Elliott Lewis, San Francisco resident since 1984.

  7. Suckerberg has been up to no good from day one. He stole the idea to make facebook, then with some funding turned into a data mining operation to sell billions of people’s information, under the pretense of offering a social platform, but in reality it’s full of noise(things that doesn’t matter) clouding up the post that you want to read from your friends.

    Also he was responsible for servicing his neighbor in SF.

  8. What reforms would Peskin like?

    Most people of all income levels don’t live in a single-family home. A lot lower income people live in a single-family home. Rich people in apartment in big buildings can’t smoke. Lower income people in single-family homes can. However, I agree that there is not a lot of smoke invading neighboring units from pot smoke. It may be irritating but not lethal.

    The rental registry would tell us how many high-income renters are getting good deals and pay a small percent of their income on rent.

  9. If these meets and confers take a year, than progressive supervisors might, get this, organize the community opposed to SFPD status quo of impunity to shine the spotlight on meets and confers to keep the heat on to bring meet and confer to an end and move the reform agenda.

    Ronen, of course, wants to promote her own Mental Health SF social services agenda. That will be a key component of replacing the cops. But SFPD contract issues are about much more than Ronen’s psych crisis services project just like the progressive political agenda is about much more than simply charity for the poor.

    Reparations for Blacks running through THIS corrupt city government? I don’t think so. Activist government cannot move forward much less be expanded under such a climate of pervasive corruption.

    And a strongly worded resolution calling out Zuckerberg! Now everyone will know.

Comments are closed.

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