San Francisco, We Have a Budget: $6.5 Billion

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Following a 10--1 vote -- Chris Daly dissenting, naturally -- at 11 p.m. Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a $6.5 billion city budget. You don't get to the 11th hour -- quite literally -- without a bit of drama and controversy, and this budget process had both.

Part of what makes passing a budget in San Francisco a process that takes longer than the World Cup is a somewhat problematic little clause of the City Charter. While the Board of Supervisors can allot money, the mayor is under no obligation to spend it. So when the board fights for "give-backs" to its favorite causes and nonprofits, it's all for naught unless a specific deal is worked out with the mayor assuring he will, indeed, spend the money.

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Six-and-a-half billion dollars...
So, after hours of closed-door sessions yesterday, the supes appear to have saved the $44 million in social services they'd been fighting for. And, in a move that certainly pleased Mayor Gavin Newsom, a few of his pet projects were resuscitated, too. But, more notably, potential charter amendments that would have given the supes a voice in making appointments to the Rent Board and Rec and Park Commission were scrapped.

The supes' charter amendment attempting to break the mayor's monopoly on making appointments to Muni's board -- and, in general, gain more oversight of Muni, which essentially reports solely to the mayor -- was held over until next week. So were the trio of progressive-backed tax measures.

If you think all of this looks like odious, back-room dealmaking -- well, then you agree with Chris Daly. He was, after all, the lone vote against this budget.

The budget comes up for a final vote next week. Expect Daly to vote against it then, too.

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