Cash backwards

Ten things San Francisco should fund -- and 10 things it shouldn't -- to create a fair, equitable, and forward-thinking city budget

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news@sfbg.com

San Francisco is moving into the heart of city budget season, with the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee holding detailed budget hearings over the next month to modify the $5.9 billion budget that Mayor Ed Lee introduced on May 1. Lee's budget had a $66.7 million shortfall in the General Fund for the coming year, which he needs to close with a revised budget by June 1, as well as a $133.4 million budget hole the following fiscal year.

We at the Bay Guardian are here to help, because this is a mismanaged city that has some severely misplaced fiscal priorities right now. Although San Francisco's booming economy means this will be a far less painful budget season than previous years, the city still has a structural budget deficit and lingering damage from the administration of Gavin Newsom, who slashed services and raised a variety of fees to address big budget deficits without raising taxes.

The moment is now, when we have more revenues than expected — and more money than we're likely to have again for awhile given boom-bust business cycles and our over-dependence on the volatile tech sector — to finally create a city budget that sees to the needs of all San Franciscans.

WHAT WE SHOULD BE FUNDING

Medical Examiner's Office  Families now have to wait at least six months to find out how their loved ones died in San Francisco, which is new, preventable, and unacceptable. Short staffing and slow turnaround times have led the National Association of Medical Examiners to downgrade this office's accreditation from "full" to "provisional." The city budget should provide the staffing needed to process autopsies and medical reports as quickly as the examiners and laboratories can perform them and help give grieving families the closure they're being denied for budgetary reasons.

budget spread

Infographic: Click here for the full page inforaphic (also in this week's print edition) of Cash backwards.

Public health  In a recently issued report, nurses at San Francisco General Hospital represented by SEIU Local 1021 publicly warned of dangerously low staffing levels. "Our patients frequently do not receive the level of care required by state law, hospital policies, or modern safety standards," they wrote. The concerns are especially worrisome in the Emergency Department, where core staffing of 22 nurses per shift dropped to 17 in recent months, or sometimes down to 11. "As a result, an average of 11 the Emergency Room's 26 beds are closed while the Hospital goes on diversion," turning away ambulances. "Over the year, our trauma center, SFGH, uses 3 percent more beds than budgeted—which indicates a dangerous lack of 'surge capacity' to absorb extra patients in the event of a natural disaster." The report noted that vacant positions are technically budgeted in, but lingered filled.

Comments

one sentence:

SFBG thinks that SF should adopt old-school "tax, borrow and spend" socialism and kill our great economy, all so their favorite causes can have good money thrown at them after bad.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 7:30 am

Yeah, I tried skimming it. Another rant against every money making thing that Steven hates, regardless of its relevancy. Some things were listed multiple times. For example there is both "Repeal of Sunday meters" AND "Stop subsidizing car owners".

Then he complains that we promote tourism and there is a different section against the America's Cup from last year.

I'm not a Progressive but I do think the city would be stronger if they had a compelling, coherent voice at the SFBG.

He even rants about "Twitter tax break after the company whose threat to leave the city extorted millions of dollars from city coffers", while everyone who understands the issue knows that Twitter did not get a dime from the city and were not going public in one of the few jurisdictions in the state that taxes stock options. Why is why Campos and Mirkarimi sponsored a bill to make them exempt.

Steven Jones = lost opportunity for the city's progressives, he is a disaster for their credibility. #fail

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 7:57 am

"great economy" for whom?

how about throttling back on the unnatural "natural areas program" that is swallowing millions, will continue to need intensive volunteer hours, water, herbicides - and is "replacing" (destroying) non-native (150 year old mature) trees with native plants - that are not taking hold?? (many of which are easily available at nurseries)??

please put "nap"on the list of "do not fund".

and - about bike safety - maybe someone could take a look at what's been done recently vs. amerstam's bike safety. some of our bike lanes lead right into the paths of cars.

Posted by SF'er on Jun. 02, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

"great economy" for whom?

how about throttling back on the unnatural "natural areas program" that is swallowing millions, will continue to need intensive volunteer hours, water, herbicides - and is "replacing" (destroying) non-native (150 year old mature) trees with native plants - that are not taking hold?? (many of which are easily available at nurseries)??

please put "nap"on the list of "do not fund".

and - about bike safety - maybe someone could take a look at what's been done recently vs. amerstam's bike safety. some of our bike lanes lead right into the paths of cars.

Posted by SF'er on Jun. 02, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

"great economy" for whom?

how about throttling back on the unnatural "natural areas program" that is swallowing millions, will continue to need intensive volunteer hours, water, herbicides - and is "replacing" (destroying) non-native (150 year old mature) trees with native plants - that are not taking hold?? (many of which are easily available at nurseries)??

please put "nap"on the list of "do not fund".

and - about bike safety - maybe someone could take a look at what's been done recently vs. amerstam's bike safety. some of our bike lanes lead right into the paths of cars.

Posted by SF'er on Jun. 02, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

You have made some decent points there. I checked on the net ffor more information about thee issue and found most
individuyals will go along with your views on this site.

Posted by Information about England and Scotland wikipedia on Jul. 24, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

add a penny to services, which is really just a way of paying city workers and SEIU even more.

If nothing is done to plug the black hole that is the unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities, then the day will come when we will have no city services because all the money will go to aging former city workers living to be 100.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 7:33 am

Some good points here about tourism and non-profit inc.

But surging pension/healthcare liabilities are a serious problem calling for urgent action.

City workers have defined-benefit pension plans (just like Fortune 500 CEOs; nobody else gets them today) that GUARANTEE 6-8% returns compounded annually.

Harvey Rose has analyzed this, saying these guarantees will bankrupt the city unless action is taken.

Meanwhile, funding needed for schools, infrastructure, healthcare, etc., will continue being diverted into the ballooning pension pot.

Why wasn't this on your list of 10 Shouldn'ts?

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 10:46 am

(And don;y forget the healthcare liabilities too).

They will probably say "just tax the rich" like they always do. But when they try, they will find that those rich guys have vanished.

Detroit is already in banksruptcy because of this, as are Stockton and Vallejo. Oakland is avoiding it only through financial trickery.

Come the next recession, the shit will hit the fan even in more affluent places like SF. And the rich will leave, just like in Detroit.

In fact, some observers are saying that the rich will all live in unincorporated areas where these liabilities are much less.

Or some place like Switzerland, of course.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 10:53 am

Progressives don't care about debt because they're anticipating the imminent revolution, in which private assets are seized and all property declared to be state owned. If anything, fiscal irresponsibility will hasten that day. It's a little like how some Christians are with the environment...its demise is inevitable and in fact fighting it is struggling to delay Armageddon and the return of Jesus, both impossible and contrary to the will of God.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

the great revolution, so why not hurry it along a bit?

Too bad all the rich will be In Switzerland long before it happens.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

now exists solely to redistribute wealth and to ensure progressive priorities which aren't popular with the public are enacted using other means. I mean - at least their open about that and have jettisoned the "living according to our ideals" crap they used to push.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 11:50 am

establishment of a rainy day fund.

They just want to spend, spend and spend again.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

Most progressives pay very little in the way of taxation, so they're quite happy to spend what comes in and demand more, more and more - because it's not coming from their pockets.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

Progressives play plenty of taxes, just like everyone else. Yet the wealthiest individuals and corporations are paying less taxes now than they have through most of this country's history and the result has been unfair and unsustainable consolidations of wealth (see Pikkety, Reich, Krugman, and other excellent sources on this), little investment in the important infrastructure that previous generations left for you but you've denied to future generation, and the underfunding of crucial public services (recently compounded in San Francisco by tax cuts for the entire technology sector, with extra corporate welfare for Twitter and the other mid-Market companies). Important psychiatric and public health services are severely underfunded, placing us all at risk, while the political lip services given to affordable housing, Muni, and safe streets is belied by funding levels far below the actual need. And all you trolls can come up with is union-bashing, red-baiting, and pension-alarmism -- so predictable and so pathetic. You're supporting the selling off of a once-great city to the highest bidders and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by steven on May. 28, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

Is that what you mean by fair or do you want more, ever more?

You're the one being pathetic and predictable.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

onerous - despite the fact those are really pension contributions, not taxes. Most people pay very little in the way of income or capital gains taxes and those are exactly the main sources of revenue which are keeping CA afloat right now. And a major reason our budget falls and rises so dramatically too. We badly need to expand the tax base in this state because we're overly dependent on the wealthy. But try getting a nickle out of Steven - he'd scream so loud you'd hear him in Brooklyn. This is a guy who opposes a $10 yearly registration fee for cyclists, does anyone think he'd pay more to help those indigent people he's always bleating about.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

I smack you down over and over, did listening to too much Rush Limbaugh rot your brain or something?

Maybe you are Rush Limbaugh and the Oxycontin rotted your brain.

http://www.ctj.org/pdf/taxday2010.pdf

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 30, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

"pension-alarmism -- so predictable and so pathetic."

Yes, Harvey Milk is an alarmist. He's a paid lapdog of the 1%.

So is Jeff Adachi for trying to attract the public's attention to the pension time bomb.

So is Matt Gonzalez.

Fascists, 1%-ers, one and all.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

Steve said: "Progressives play plenty of taxes"

Your logic was PLAYING with you whilst you were getting paid today.

You are in desperate need of a copy editor. Hire a freelancer (no pension, no healthcare liabilities for the SFBG; Bruce would be proud). He/she can handle the task.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

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Expect plenty of dust and if you want to minimize cleaning later, consider
covering any furniture in nearby rooms with old blankets, sheets or drop cloths.

Posted by stair treads knoxville tn on Jul. 24, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

of the great recession you were complaining that it wasn't going up fast enough, not that it was going down.

The city brings in plenty of money, it just has terrible priorities.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2014 @ 6:28 am

Steven ignores the pension timebomb because he knows that any solution to it will take money away from the services that he claims the voters want (but of course do not want to pay for).

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2014 @ 6:45 am

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon when the root of the issue is where and how the city spends money. I happen to agree that everything should be on the table and i'm sorry but the ability for grandma who served SF for over 30 years and loved it should not have to live an undignified life because we want to spend money on a boat race! First and foremost, let's get our priorities in order! People first!

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

into account the indirect revenues from having the world's richest people here spending money like water.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

City government took a loss on the boat race.

Posted by marcos on May. 28, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

Take into account indirect revenues like extra hotel and sales tax, and the city was way ahead.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

No, they counted that revenue in (a late bait-and-switch from earlier presentations) and the city still lost about $6 million.

Posted by steven on May. 28, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

was from an AC visitor or a regular tourist or a resident?

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

Steven writes: "No, they counted that revenue in (a late bait-and-switch from earlier presentations) and the city still lost about $6 million."

Thanks Steven! Accurate info as always.

You can stop reading now, I want to say something to those awful trolls
---
Everyone else: According to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute the race generated $364 million for the city's economy. You may have noticed people packing the waterfront from Crissy Field to the Ferry Building.

Steven is deceptively referring only to the $5.5 million that the city had to lay out for services while ignoring the $364 million that was being pumped in. There is a reason why cities all over the world fight to get these events.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/America-s-Cup-put-San-Francisco-5-...

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

Every analysis I saw said that the America's Cup was a net positive for the city's economy, which is what supports all this stuff.

I know that the Cup wasn't as big as expected and the city did have to lay some money out in exchange for a documented big return.

So when you talk about grandma having to go hungry because we spent money on a boat race....is there ANY basis for that or are you just saying whatever you feel like saying?

Just curious.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

God I hope the America's Cup comes back because at this point it would be just the thing to make Progressive's heads explode, I believe. "But.. but... but that's money that could be used to put vagrants and meth addicts, er, Campos voters, er, most vulnerables into downtown housing so that we can free up more space on the streets for those arriving by bus each day"...kaboom!

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

Parking Meters that currently accept only coins are slated to be replaced with new credit-card technology. Thats right san Francisco, the parking is now so expensive that the city of San Francisco needs you to finance it on your credit cards. Now that SFMTA has artificially inflated 9via SFpark) the cost of parking city motorists can now finance their time at parking meters with high interest credit card debt.

So lets put this into perspective:

1. City residents pay property taxes with the understanding that the city and county will direct a portion of property tax revenues toward road maintenance.
2. The city then borrows more money from taxpayers by passing bonds and then uses that money to pay for bicycle lanes, road diets, and other streetscape projects under the guise of "calming traffic" to appease bicycle lobbyists.
3. Now that MTA has created traffic congestion SFMTA then installs expensive high priced parking meters on the street to control the traffic congestion that they engineered with bicycle lanes and road diets.
4. SFMTA then funnels cash back to the transportation reform groups (lobbyists) who helped them to engineer the traffic congestion that they are now profiting from.
5. Now that SFMTA has artificially inflated the cost of parking at meters city motorists will now pay for the roads a fourth time with high interest credit card debt.

The SFMTA has found a fabulous way to transfer public debt on to private citizens by getting us to take on more high interest credit card debt. Privatize profits, socialize losses call it "market rate" pricing and call it innovation. It is quite simply the evil of two lessers.

Its time for restore transportation balance at http://www.restorebalance14.org/

Posted by sfparkripoff on May. 29, 2014 @ 12:10 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

Obviously it self serving opinion.

It's news that you want the government to do what you want?

Opinion I suppose is when right wingers conflate self serving with what they want to force on people/

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

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