Your Rundown on the Week in S.F. Government

Thumbnail image for Mirkarimi waterslide 01.jpg
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will be even happier if his colleagues agree to denounce PG&E this week
Do you fear the encroachments of the technological Leviathan known as Google? Are you wary of the carcinogenic effects of your cell phone? Relax. That buzzing you feel in your head probably isn't gray matter slowly being sizzled by radiation from your personal telecommunications device -- just the excitement of another week in local government gearing up.

Today at 11 a.m., the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee will take up a resolution urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take a closer look at the health effects of radiation from wireless facilities. No credible scientific evidence exists to suggest that current federal regulations are inadequate, but hey -- it's not as if the city has any more pressing problems to tackle.

Call it a tech-heavy Monday at City Hall: This afternoon, the Land Use and Economic Development Committee will look at a resolution directing the city's Department of Technology to consider partnering with Google to expand fiber-optic cable Internet access in San Francisco. (The company has announced plans to join with willing cities in such efforts.) The resolution insists that such a project be "consistent with the City's core value of maintaining control over fiber infrastructure deployed in the City." Ah, keeping private enterprise shackled to the whims of tax-funded bureaucracy -- a core San Francisco value indeed.

On Tuesday, the full Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution opposing Proposition 16, an industry-sponsored ballot initiative that would make it more difficult for cities to form public-power agencies. The initiative, which would require a two-thirds popular vote to establish such municipal electricity providers, is aimed squarely at efforts in several California cities and counties -- including San Francisco and Marin County -- to create "community choice aggregation" (CCA) programs that circumvent existing corporate utilities. Sponsored by tireless public-power advocate Ross Mirkarimi, this resolution could draw some interesting comments from supervisors and the public on the city's CCA program, which has been controversial.

The board will also look at repealing a number of specially dedicated funds, including bus drivers' "lounge facilities fund" -- Don't you wish your office had one of those? -- to scrape together cash at the financially troubled Municipal Transportation Agency.

On Tuesday night, the city's school board will consider how to deal with a budget deficit north of $100 million over the next two years. While no particularly promising ideas for coping with the local education system's financial crisis have emerged yet, it's clear that something needs to be done. The city can't simply continue sending pink slips to hundreds of teachers and administrators, as it did this month. Some ecologically minded legislator would eventually object to the waste of paper.

Are those gunshots you hear outside your apartment at 21st Street. and Alabama, or just illegal fireworks? On Wednesday the Police Commission will decide whether to approve a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that would expand the city's high-tech gunshot detection machines. It's unclear how effective these things are, but they're certainly catching on, with police departments around the country trying to implement or expand their own gunshot-locating systems.

Cell-phone health scares, socialized electricity, angry teachers, and more: San Francisco's public officials have it all, and we hear they buy gold, too. Enjoy.

Photo   |   Jim Herd

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