Supes Pass Alcohol Fee -- By Non-Veto-Proof 7-3 Vote

Demon rum lives to fight another day...
The Board of Supervisors has just passed the controversial "Charge for Harm" Alcohol fee, which aims to fund the city's detox centers by raising $16-odd million from San Francisco alcohol wholesalers.

The proposal stands about as much chance of making it into law as a glass of Chivas Regal stood of being untouched among a roomful of Prohibition-era alkies with the DTs -- as it did not receive enough votes to override a promised mayoral veto.
The fee passed by a 7-3 majority. Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Carmen Chu, and Bevan Dufty gave it the thumbs-down -- with the latter, a mayoral candidate, being the death knell for proponents of the fee.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, it turns out, has a wholesalers license as part of her wine business, so she was forced to recuse herself from voting (but you can bet she'd have been a no vote as well). The fee would be placed on city wholesalers -- who would, invariably, pass it along to distributors, establishments, and folks sitting on barstools, But since the initial fee was to be placed on wholesalers, it was deemed Alioto-Pier would have been conflicted if she had voted.

In other news, really, is there any San Francisco political figure these days who doesn't have ties to the alcohol business?

Unless some of the mayor's closest allies inexplicably turn coats or Dufty suddenly decides he doesn't want to court businesses in his mayoral run, it's hard to see how this one survives Gavin Newsom's veto. But, hey, cheaper drinks at Chris Daly's bar.

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