This week’s SF city council consent agenda




Before I get into specifics about these agenda items (CC Item#1) I want to say, that when IMPORTANT items as these come up, they shouldn’t be hidden in the consent, they should be talked about and debated on their own fruition. Hopefully, councilor Staggers will pull them out.

I have ‘mixed’ feelings about each item;

While I am all for funding community art programs, I would like to see a programming plan from the SF Arts Council. I would also like to know why the Sioux Empire Arts Council was disbanded, the Horse Barn mothballed and the newly formed Arts Council split from the Pavilion. Before we hand another check to the organization, I would like to have explanations to these questions.

As for the market analysis of Downtown, while I do see some obligation by the city to review this, I am wondering why out of the over 1,000 city employees, and several citizen committees, that the city can’t pull a team together internally to do this analysis? The dirty little secret about the city is that while they have highly paid professionals working for them* they spend millions each year on consultants. It’s silly and certainly not a PRUDENT way to spend taxpayer money.

With the recent controversy about the Salvation Army’s discrimination allegations, I think the city should review a better contractor for a warming site.

*Three of the highest paid city employees are dentists that work at the public health clinic. Two of them are #2 & #3 on the list. While I am all for the public health clinic, I find it a bit ironic the city spends almost $500,000 a year on dentist salaries but can’t justify trimming trees in the boulevard because they don’t have the ‘funds’ or ‘staff’. I guess pulling teeth is more important then the arbor health of the city.


#1 rufusx on 01.05.14 at 10:44 am

I’ll address your concern #2 for you. They want an objective independent analysis – not something that comes out of a committee of locals with a built-in bias toward certain outcomes.

Who would you have on the committee – you favorite bashing targets – the developers? DTSF? The Planning Department? C of C?

Knee-jerk anti-governmentalism – damned of they do, damned if they don’t. I’m tempted to begin urging you to drop your self-described “libertarian” label and rebrand as an anarchist.

#2 Scott on 01.05.14 at 12:00 pm

You act like an anarchist label is something he’d hate. 🙂

#3 Detroit Lewis on 01.05.14 at 5:42 pm

Funny, Ruf, I have often called myself a ‘Liberalchist’ a combination of the two.

The committee’s already exist, and are already going to give input. I’m not sure what kind of ‘bias’ a city employee or developer would have? I would think a consultant that is being PAID by the city (to give a rosy review) would be much more bias. I think the city uses consultants to create reports with the results they want. They have done this several times. Water rate increases, aquatic studies, EC consultants and recently the DT parking website.

#4 anonymous2 on 01.05.14 at 6:07 pm

I wish we had a dollar figure that identifies exactly what the City pays for consultants in a year. I think there would be a stampede to the City Council meetings.

#5 commander on 01.05.14 at 11:57 pm

I am available to council the council.

#6 Detroit Lewis on 01.06.14 at 9:54 am

anon, Staggers was able to get a report from them a few years back when Munson was mayor, I think the year he requested was around $19 million.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 01.06.14 at 9:55 am

Wait, that seems high, let me research it better.

#8 Detroit Lewis on 01.06.14 at 10:00 am

Nope, in 2008-2009 they spent $34 million on professional services.

#9 Detroit Lewis on 01.06.14 at 10:00 am

#10 rufusx on 01.06.14 at 12:30 pm

Are you telling me that if one of those committees did the research and provided the report – you WOULDN’T bash it on the basis of cronyism bias? Ha – Now you’ve got me laughing.

#11 Detroit Lewis on 01.06.14 at 1:11 pm

What I am saying is why hire a consultant when we have a committee and city employees to provide us with that information? It’s like I said above, the city already knows the answers, or should I say the answers they want, they use the consultant’s report to justify what they recommend. God forbid someone in the planning office takes any responsibility for a recommendation. They can always go back and say, “But the consultant said.” In fact, Don Kearney used that line over and over again in public meetings when talking about an indoor pool.

#12 rufusx on 01.07.14 at 9:09 am

So, your , Line of reasoning/CONDESCENSION if they didn’t use outside consultants wouldn’t be: “Why don’t they use a disinterested professional consultant to get an outside opinion?” yeah – right.

#13 Detroit Lewis on 01.07.14 at 9:35 am

My point is that we already have paid professionals that work for the city who can do this work, why pay an outside source also? We might as well just hire a city manager, keep on the public works workforce and fire everyone else if we are going to have consultants do all the work.