By Riley McDermid : sfbusiness – excerpt
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have introduced a suite of measures aimed at taking power away from Mayor Ed Lee in five major departments, as the deadline to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot arrived Tuesday.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a charter amendment introduced at the meeting by Supervisor Aaron Peskin would reconfigure how much oversight the mayor has over the Department of Real Estate, Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
In addition, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a charter amendment that would allow the board to appoint three of the seven board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, while taking away the mayor’s power to appoint all seven.
The mayor’s office immediately pushed back against the measures late Tuesday, saying the moves came as a surprise and weren’t necessary – or in some cases, had already been settled.
These departments already have an incredible amount of oversight, including at the Board of Supervisors,” Christine Falvey, the mayor’s spokeswoman, told the paper.“The mayor hasn’t seen this proposal, but he would look at it and ask: How does this provide more affordable homes or more jobs for our families? At first blush, it doesn’t appear to address either of these pressing needs in our city.”
Both Yee and Peskin disagreed with that assertion, saying at the meeting they believed more oversight was needed, considering the high impact all the departments targeted have on public policy.
“This Charter Amendment is the evolution of many good government requests for more oversight and transparency in our city government,” Peskin told the Business Times.
“Working with a diverse coalition of community advocates, we have improved upon a similar proposal from half a dozen years ago and authored a thoughtful and measured approach to good government. A split commission that oversees critical city offices with little to no oversight currently of their collective $100 million budget is just sound policy,” he said. “Voters have consistently supported transparency and accountability measures that offer an appropriate amount of checks and balances, and that’s exactly what this Charter Amendment does.”
Representatives for Yee and Lee did not return requests for comment for the Business Times on Wednesday… (more)