Eight hours and forty-two minutes. That's how long yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting ran. In terms of man-hours, that pretty much negates any time off the supes might have taken last week. With Parkmerced needing a final vote and the Treasure Island environmental review lurking way down the agenda, even a casual observer of SFGovTV could tell no one wanted to linger on anything else. Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo smartly took the day off.
Items 1-7 slipped right on through while Supervisor Kim slipped right on out of the board chambers. (What? You don't want to be remembered for your historic vote on Fatted Calf's off-sale beer and wine license?) Skipping ahead to the Parkmerced items, Elsbernd and Chiu tag-teamed the hot seat so Chiu could offer his discussion points while Elsbernd cautiously eyed the Kim-Wiener-Cohen-Farrell-Campos side of the room.
Chiu offered his amendments adding further protections for existing tenants, but mostly touted his record as a tenant's rights advocate ("before I was elected and with my votes on this board"). With no one else feeling up to discussing the items, the Parkmerced project finally passed with the same vote as last week: 6-5 with Campos, Mirkarimi, Avalos, Kim and Mar all opposing the plan.
Moving on to Jane Kim's Redistricting Task Force item: the TL supe encouraged everyone in the audience to find the materials online and apply to be a part of the team, which to us sounds like no one but the nutters have signed up to help out yet. Should we start worrying about that? Can we sign up? Does the Task Force hold secret 3-martini lunches?
President Chiu had the board zipping along on an express bus to Treasure Island until David Campos had to go and put the brakes on for an MTA-related item. (Campos wanted to know why MTA was agreeing to a 10-year lease for their Transportation Management center on Market Street.) Even in a room full of people who aren't going anywhere you can still count on MTA to make everybody late to the thing they actually want to get to. Boo -1 for Campos.
Countering Campos' worries of spending $16 million on the MTA's lease, Scott Wiener took a practical standpoint: Ideally we'd be putting this center in the Transbay Terminal, of course, but who can say when construction on that thing is actually going to get underway? (Sidenote: shouldn't someone on the Board have a ballpark guess for that?) Most importantly we need a control center like... yesterday so the Muni Metro trains will stop bunching up and making everybody late. +1 to Scott Wiener. +None to Jane Kim for chiming in to say she often rides, "the underground".
Item 30 passed so the city will be putting a measure in front of voters to drop $248 million on fixing our pothole-ridden roadways. In other housekeeping issues: lookout, Port Authority Janitorial staff - Item 31/Prop J passed which means cheap contract labor might soon be coming after your job.
Item 36 (naming the Chron and Examiner the official newspapers for city advertising) was kind of interesting to watch. Who knew Carmen Chu was such a nerd about advertising and local media? We didn't! To hear her explain concerns from the Examiner that the paper wouldn't be getting any revenue from official city advertising in 2011 makes it sound like the city is keeping the Ex on life support by buying ads from them, which wouldn't surprise us actually. +1 to Carmen Chu for supporting a dying medium. Call us when the city is ready to enter the digital age with some sweet banner ads. How do you feel about American Apparel?
Speaking of dying print media, Wiener wanted to know what was up with the "official" neighborhood newspapers. Apparently they have to be printed in the city to get the city's official label. Yet, no one mentioned our vibrant local blog scene. 10 Facebook dislikes to whichever committee is in charge of these things.
The bit of the meeting where everyone in town who has been handed a blight notice for graffiti on their property gets to come up and express why they think it's total bullshit continues to be the single biggest stain on the weekly agenda. At least a dozen people lined up to contest their fines before the board - most of them incredulous that they were still receiving notices after spending hours scrubbing up tags. The board just kind of twiddles their thumbs while they wait for everyone to say their peace. Then they send these poor souls out in to the hallway to explain the same issue to a DPW worker. It's a tragically Dickensian bit of bureaucracy that really ought to be dealt with in a way that doesn't waste nearly an hour of everyone's time in the Board meetings. Automatic top ranking goes to the first supervisor who figures out how to do fix this weekly blight on our pristine board meetings.
Onward to development!
On the Joe DiMaggio Playground and North Beach Library item, we sat through two hours of presentations that included some SFGovTV archive footage complete with cameos from Tony Hall, Michela Alioto-Pier, Aaron Peskin and Matt Gonzalez' now tragically dated haircut. How meta!
The preservationists moaned, one even complained that the new library design had too many windows to be able to read in (are you reading Anne Rice novels, perhaps?), but Chiu laid them out: "from my perspective, the current library has been inadequate, has been inaccessible, has been insufficient for needs and it has been seismically unsafe." The plan passed: make way for the Joe DiMaggio Playground and a +1 for Chiu puts him back in black.
Finally! Treasure Island! Surely you've heard by now that the plan passed unanimously. In fact, there was so much public support for the project during the open hearing that even the Jane Kim (the island's supe, you'll remember) didn't even feel the need to add anything. Which is probably the best thing she's said all year. (We kid! Keep talking, Ms. Kim. We love to hear your voice.) +1 to Jane Kim.
When everybody shuts up, everyone wins. Except Aaron Peskin. Who kept talking, calling it a "fantasy island." And you know what? Who doesn't want to live on a fantasy island? Besides, this Treasure Island resident already told him where to stick his appeal:
Speaking through her
translator interpreter (who couldn't stop cracking up), she told the board to put the appeal right in the basura. +1,000 and free rent for life to the abuela of Treasure Island.
Plenty of people we barely heard from yesterday, but that's OK with us. Chiu finally gets back on the scoreboard. The ladies continue to scoot up the rankings. Campos unfortunately broke his hot streak, but there's finally an opportunity for Avalos or Eric Mar to zip to the top if they can figure out how to do away with those blight hearings. Also, Eric, please go visit a tailor. You look like a muppet here:
Final Rankings (This week's changes in parentheses.)
7 Mark Farrell (No change)
7 Sean Elsbernd (No change)
6.5 Ross Mirkarimi (No change)
6 Scott Wiener (+1)
5 Jane Kim (+1)
4 Malia Cohen (No change)
3.5 Carmen Chu (+1)
3 David Campos (-1)
1 David Chiu (+1)
-1 Eric Mar (No change)
-3 John Avalos (No change)
-999,999,994 Mayor Ed Lee (No appearance this week)
Turns out the board inceptioned the idea 7 years ago.