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Friday, July 30, 2021

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News + PoliticsBudget time is a time to ask department heads some detailed questions

Budget time is a time to ask department heads some detailed questions

Plus: What is the city doing to be sure tenants get rent relief? That's The Agenda for June 20-27

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Most of the work of the Board of Supes last week and this week is focused on budget hearings. Lots of long budget hearings. But they contain critical information – we learned last week, for example, that the Police Department budget is slated to go up, not down – and that some of the supes are unhappy about it.

This week, more hearings – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10am.

Harlan Kelly and Mohammed Nuru are both accused of public corruption. (Mission Local found this image on Twitter). The supes can ask their successors how this happened and what’s being done to prevent corruption in the future.

The hearing on the police budget gave the supes a chance to talk about the need for police reform and the lack of adequate funding for the non-law-enforcement outreach teams. So these hearings aren’t just about dollars and cents.

For example, Monday’s schedule includes City Planning and Public Works – both departments that have had serious issues and could use some public debate. Planning, for example, is largely funded by permit applications – which means the department has become much more of a permit-processing agency than a planning agency.

I will quote John Elberling on a question for the director of city planning: Where is the angti-gentrification plan? Where is the anti-displacement plan? Does the department really believe that allowing developers to build more luxury housing will bring prices down?

The scandals at Public Works need no introduction. Question for the acting director: What actions have been taken to see how deep the corruption goes, and who knew about it? Is it true that DPW and the cops are sweeping away homeless people before the mayor visits a neighborhood?

Wednesday the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has its turn. Thursday most of the public-safety services, including the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department, make their pitches (and can answer questions.)

It takes a bit of patience but there’s a lot here.

And while all the budget discussions are going on, Sups. Dean Preston is holding a hearing on the city’s rent-relief program. There’s a lot to talk about: Very little of the federal rent-relief money has reached San Francisco. And a sizable number of tenants who are eligible don’t know anything about the program and are unaware that they can get help.

And the mayor is refusing to allocate Prop. I money to rent relief, even though the voters believed that’s where it would go when they passed the measure.

That hearing is at the Government Audit and Oversight Committee, Wednesday/23 at 10am.

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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