The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved putting $1.1 million worth of Public Works money toward more street cleaning in response to a pile-up of complaints about the piles of trash and other unmentionables on San Francisco sidewalks, but now Mayor Mark Farrell says he will veto it.
Originally the proposal was for $2.5 million of leftover cash to go toward cleanup. Per the budget analysis of the legislation:
The December 21, 2017 Financial Plan Update, prepared jointly by the Controller’s Office, Mayor’s Office, and Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, assumed that $11.9 million would be allocated to balance the FY 2018-19 budget, leaving $2.5 million unallocated.
The proposed ordinance appropriates the $2.5 million for enhanced street cleaning services [...,] $1,610,000 for temporary salaries, $230,000 for community grants, $100,000 for materials and supplies, and $560,000 for equipment.
Supervisors eventually negotiated the sum down to $1.1 million during debate, and it passed on a 6-5 vote.
“It truly has gotten worse,” Supervisor Jane Kim, who sponsored the cleaning bill, said of public complaints about sidewalk conditions on Tuesday, noting a 73.6 percent increase in 311 calls asking for clean-up between 2015 and 2017.
“We can at least provide relief to residents, workers, and tourists as we work to attack the long-term problems,” said Kim.
Every city lawmaker conceded that San Francisco needs to devote more to cleaning, but nearly half of the supervisors objected to monkeying with the budget by redirecting unused funds.
“We’re very close to budget proceedings,” noted Supervisor Katy Tang. “I don’t see why we can’t wait for literally a month or two to implement the changes.”
“We have a process that we need to ride all the way through,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “This is another piecemeal approach that I would encourage you not to support.”
Kim argued that the problem on public streets is so desperate and visible as to justify bucking procedure in the short-term, and eventually the cleaning bill prevailed despite supervisors Cohen, Sheehy, Stefani, Tang, and Safai voting against it.
However, Mayor Mark Farrell agrees with the dissenters that the city can’t fix problems by doing an end-run.
“As I have said consistently, street cleaning will be a top priority for me in the upcoming budget and my proposal will be much more comprehensive and geared to meet the needs of every neighborhood in San Francisco,” said the mayor in a statement, while at the same time promising to veto the bill.
Under the standard budget process, the board will begin considering a new budget in June, with the mayor signing off on the final approved budget in August.
The measure will return for a second vote next week. If Kim can wrangle two more votes in favor the legislation will become immune to Farrell’s veto threat, although this seems unlikely given the tone of Tuesday’s debate.