Former Mayor Art Agnos Says City's Deficit Liable to Double

Art Agnos with Hulk Hogan.jpg
Art Agnos -- yes, that's him on the right -- is ready to step in the mayoral ring once more
Former Mayor Art Agnos knows what it is to occupy Room 200 during down times. So will whoever wins the task of following Mayor Gavin Newsom. And, like Agnos himself, the former mayor predicts whoever is coming next won't manage a second term.

"Next year, whoever is mayor will have a horrific job with the budget. Not only the city's deficit but the state finally has come smackdab against the wall in dealing with structural deficits rolled over the last five years through various kinds of financial gimmickry," says Agnos, the city's mayor from 1988 to '92.

With both state and federal money the city has grown accustomed to no longer there, Agnos predicted "the city's deficit of $380 million to $400 million could easily swell to double that."

And Agnos still wants this job? "I didn't say that, did I?" he notes. Rather, if six supervisors vote for him, he'll take the job. "If I'm needed, I'll do it." And he wouldn't run for re-election -- which would likely be politically impossible, anyway.

"During my four years, we had a recession -- and at that time, it was the worst we'd ever had," he says. "I'd have given my eye teeth to trade those for Willie's years. [Willie Brown] had those great surpluses and the rest of it. That would have been fun. Then you can build programs."

Programs the next mayor may well end up dismantling.  

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