The Grid

An uncarpeted cell at the YGC. The mattress is nearly pancake thin. The window is made of almost opaque blocks of glass that let in only a modicum of light. Most cells have grates over windows that admit even less light. The air here is never changed.

The Maddie's Pet Adoption Center's dog park. Although not pictured in this illustration, a "French toilette" will be constructed to -- yes, that's right -- train dogs to use a public commode. (Later, when enough money is raised, the SPCA plans to construct such doggie toilettes all over the city for the convenience of SPCA-trained dogs.) In the park itself, a cohort of five dogs will go through three cycles daily of the following regimen: three laps around the park, followed by a 30-minute play session among the five dog buddies, and then 45 minutes of training in one of three training rooms. Each dog will have a personal trainer.

A volleyball net at the YGC. You can't see it from this photograph, but there used to be a garden surrounding this yard. Now, there's a tarp covering soil where the neglected garden died.

A rendering of the different styles of facades that will decorate the SPCA dog apartments. Bay windows will be constructed on some of the apartments.

Every hallway at the YGC looks like this.

Proposition Feel Good
Supervisor Tom Ammiano is a nice guy with a good heart, but he can let his do-gooder emotions overwhelm his common sense. Proposition G on the coming city election ballot is one example of his occasional surrender to the forces of touchy-feely irrelevance.

For some months now, Ammiano has been on a minor jihad against campaign consultants of the Jack Davis/John Whitehurst/Robert Barnes ilk. These are good people to direct one's jihadic tendencies toward; if they were to disappear from San Francisco politics, everyone who remained in the city would need to take 60 or 70 fewer showers a year.

But politics is an inherently dirty business, and cleansing it is a difficult task, fraught with the possibility that you will focus on reform minutiae and distract from the scandalous conduct that should be of primary concern.

Earlier this year, Ammiano pushed a measure to regulate campaign consultants; this column criticized it as an obviously unconstitutional attempt to hamstring specific local political operatives. Ammiano took some umbrage at what he viewed as overly rough treatment at the Grid's hands. So we will make a point, now, of saying that we have nothing personal against Ammiano and consider Proposition G to be an improvement over his former attempts to regulate campaign consultants.

If it passes in the November election, Prop. G will not be found unconstitutional in a nanosecond, as Ammiano's previous proposal would have been. But by the same token, Prop. G won't do much worth doing.

Essentially, the proposition would require campaign consultants to file financial activity reports that say which politicians and ballot measures they worked for, how much they were paid, and so on. Jeff Sheehy, Prop. G's campaign manager, says it would force campaign consultants to disclose what lobbyists and candidates already must: "Political consultants have become like the cowboys of the political system ... with no accountability to the public or the political system."

Maybe, but Prop. G won't really change that. By and large, it will just drag onto one document a variety of information that already exists in other public records. Filling out that one document won't keep campaign consultants from cutting the complicated back-room deals that seem to so bother Prop. G supporters. (This proposition also contains a genuinely silly pledge that campaign consultants could "volunteer" to take, promising never to do anything politically incorrect again, under threat of no official penalty whatsoever.)

None of Prop. G's provisions will rein in the abuses of campaign consultants. At best, its passage would let the so-called progressive left of San Francisco feel good about itself for no reason at all, which is always a bad idea.

What will curb the excesses of the Davises of the city? Real public disclosure of real ethics abuse by an intelligent and energetic press. We realize that outside SF Weekly, no such press exists hereabouts, so send all your tips on campaign consultant weaselry to the Grid. We'll make public disclosure the bitter and ugly experience the founding fathers meant it to be.


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