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News + PoliticsOpinionEngardio wants to protect supes from issues 'outside our control.' Here's some...

Engardio wants to protect supes from issues ‘outside our control.’ Here’s some amendments

Let's avoid taxes, climate change, war ... or we could just be residents of a city, a country, and a world.


Sup. Joel Engardio, who represents my district, has proposed that he and other members of the Board of Supervisors should no longer vote on state, national or international issues “outside our control.”  

Presumably he wants to avoid future debates and votes comparable to the recent resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza—a resolution that drew hundreds of concerned citizens to City Hall, where they testified on the need for peace in Palestine and Israel.  Most speakers regarded the ceasefire call as an urgent and personal matter, even though they lived far away from the war zone.  (Engardio voted in favor of the resolution, for which I thank him, by the way.)

My heavens, let’s never talk about things like war and climate change.

The premise behind Engardio’s proposal seems to be that it will focus the attention of the Board of Supervisors on municipal issues, local problems that can be “fixed” by city government.  To that end, if Engardio wants to protect our city from “outside” issues and facilitate local control, perhaps he should add to his resolution these clauses:

  • To protect city residents from the unwelcome, extra-municipal intrusion of taxes that pay for unjust and unneeded foreign wars,  the Board resolves San Francisco residents should pay no war taxes, and that war tax resisters will be defended in court at no charge by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. (No more payment for bombs that fall on Gaza, either.)
  • To protect city residents from the unwelcome disruption of their lives by intrusive storms, heatwaves, and floods that originate in other locations, the Board of Supervisors calls for an end to fossil fuel use everywhere else, plus a ban on cars downtown and provision for free mass transit in San Francisco, paid by a new tax on driverless cars and the owner of X.  
  • To end accusations from out-of-city newspapers that downtown San Francisco has been ruined by drugs and crime, all unoccupied office buildings will be converted into low-cost housing with drug treatment centers and employment offices on the first floor.  Building owners who do not cooperate will face eminent domain evictions.  (Local criticism of downtown San Francisco and the mayor’s role in its unsolved problems will still be permitted.)
  • To protect San Francisco supervisors from having to face resolutions on “distracting” issues such as wars abroad, worldwide climate change, and international immigration,  each member of the board will be given a blindfold and earplugs prior to debates that risk disturbing their equanimity.

Or, all these clauses and the original Engardio resolution could be scrapped, and the Supervisors could accept their responsibility to act as residents of a city, a country, and a world.

 Joel Schechter is the author of several books about satire and theatre.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


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