There is a price for all of this. Some things cannot be measured in dollars and cents — but cost ever so dearly all the same.


Phillip Gerrie lives in Noe Valley with his spouse, two cats, and 100,000 bees. The respected beekeeper, like the rest of his colleagues on the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare, is an earnest, well-meaning man who really cares about animals. In fact, San Francisco's proposed goldfish ban was his idea. That's not how it started: He just wanted to do something about puppy mills. But the commission kept adding, and adding, and, voila! A goldfish ban.

Gerrie has defended the ban to other journalists, noting that it's a slippery slope from cheaply bought and disposed goldfish to human genocide (thank God there's a Human Rights Commission in this town). The beekeeper does not take this tack with SF Weekly, however. He's in negotiations with legislative aides for several supervisors who may introduce the proposal as a potential law — and Gerrie isn't married to the goldfish ban. If the supes want to scale back the scope, he's game.

When it comes to banning goldfish, he says, "To me, it also sounds sort of silly, to be honest with you."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
garrettman
garrettman

This shows how much San Francisco is messed up, yes I understand the need of citizen input, but really they are stumbling over each other.    I think when businesses first open it is fine, but then after a few years of being in the city, they run for the door.

Most cities overseas like London have different cities with one big oversight, councils and boards.  London had 8 million people with a central government.    San Francisco has close to 800,000 people, one city and country, the B of S and only runs 49 square miles.   They are 7 million leaving in the greater bay area, with 9 counties and last time I heard over 100 cities.

Count all the Police, Fire, School Districts, county governments, college boards, welfare offices, jails, hospitals, transits systems, planning depts and etc.

Time for a change folks.

starchild
starchild

Joe Eskenazi's cover story on city commissions was one of the best descriptions I've read of how San Francisco city government actually works -- or, rather, doesn't work -- at the nuts and bolts level.

It's outrageous that mayors and supervisors are allowed to get away with wasting our money creating dozens of do-nothing committees just so they can appease certain constituencies or avoid hearing from or being accountable to the public.

How can any of them claim with a straight face to be acting responsibly, when no one at City Hall can even say how many commissions there are, or how much they're costing taxpayers?

We'd do better just eliminating all 96, 97, 113, or whatever the number is, and then letting the ones that can publicly justify their existence, by explaining what they've been doing and how it's benefited the city, be repopulated from scratch. Preferably with all costs including health care benefits and commission secretary salaries deducted from the operating budgets of whichever authority appoints them. A rule like that would do wonders to keep the number of committees under control in the future.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Just thought I'd let you know that I've been writing you in for the races where I can't stand anyone running, and it's getting to be a lot of votes . ..

George Davis
George Davis

What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit,to do the unnecessary. -- Richard Harkness, The New York Times, 1960

B.f. Caffrey
B.f. Caffrey

Yup. This really describes San Francisco. It's broken. As Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid." It's no wonder businesses are looking for the exits. I feel so bad for the small business families who work so hard to support themselves, only to see the city throw their tax money away on damn foolishness. The city has been anti-capitalism since Moscone. It got worse under DiFi and has gone downhill since. The city attempts to act as if State laws don't matter and it's constitution merely suggestions. Repeatedly sued for attempting to contravene state laws, enact legislation in contravention of the State or Federal constitutions, the city nevertheless lurches along with it's collective (literally "collective") head up it's rear end. Lawyer friends of the administration get rich writing court briefs and the city pays for the losing side's lawyer fees. They'll rush to the courts with multiple lawyers defend gay marriage, providing medical benefits to (gay)domestic partners, trash police ignoring the 4th Amendment but there's never funding for streets, Muni, police, fire or services for homeless. Now it seems one group or another wants to stop discrimination against ex-felons by forcing buisnesses to hire them. Do you really want to be the woman alone in a botique and waited on by some hard looking, ex-gangbanger with MS-13 tattoos all over his face? San Francisco used to be a lovely town up into the 60's. Now it's simply a circus of "progressive" liberals each trying to get one more step to the left of the others.

Fibdiddler
Fibdiddler

We need a Commission on the Status of Commissions.

Seej
Seej

Of course - we now need to pay a pothole tax to help fund all the waste- vote no.

bk
bk

I've lived in 3 different cities in 3 different countries (London, Cork, SF) and I can honestly say that San Francisco government, while not perfect, stands up pretty well in comparison. I find it refreshing that so many citizens are involved and have a voice on Commissions. And sorry but banning the sale of live animals in SF is not 'crazy' but compassionate.

starchild
starchild

Your comment that San Francisco's city government actually compares pretty well to others is both true, imho, and a stunning indictment of the failure of government as an institution in general.

Fred
Fred

Democracy only works when you have a well informed, self controlled, grounded electorate. Currently about one percent of the population fits these criteria. They know to stay away from committees, task forces, advisory boards etc.

wakan
wakan

This is liberal Democrats. NOT republican's. How many of you would have voted to have things function the way they do? The big pensions, the treatment of illegals as compared to a US citizen? You did it to yourselves and many lib dem's don't have enough character to admit the problem let alone fix it. Blame Bush, the repub's, anyone but yourself.

GuestG
GuestG

This is a fantastic article, but it really makes me wonder why I live here, this city is plain nuts...

manDude
manDude

Wow! Great article. Definitely an accurate description of SF Politics.

smb5
smb5

A fantastic waste of money, the SF Commission scene is a great place to burnish your political cred without actually being elected. But when it comes to the stupidity of something like a goldfish ban, you begin to wonder where your property taxes go. As one commenter here said, this city elevates process over decisions. Everyone gets a voice, no matter how stupid, inconsequential, trivial or impractical.

smb5
smb5

actually the real importance of this post is to demonstrate why City government has become unworkable for users of city services...the system works for city administrators but not so much for anyone else.

Maria
Maria

""It's discrepancies like these that Kim hopes to iron out. The total of $6.5 million, she notes, "is not a huge dollar amount.""

All one has to do is repeat that to themselves 3 times a day per year, and voila! A $7 billion dollar annual city boondoggle budget to nowhere.

And the city foregoes tree care to save $600k. And forgoes street repair. And forgoes its parks. And on and on.

 
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...