Take This Job and Tax It
Supervisor Tom Ammiano's proposal for a new “Occupation License Fee Ordinance” drew strong protests from city business leaders recently but still managed to wend its way to the full Board of Supervisors, where it likely will face a vote on June 26.
Ammiano's proposal calls for a fee set at 2 percent of compensation for all city workers earning over $150,000 a year. As expected, this proposal was bashed by business leaders, particularly from companies associated with the Committee on Jobs, who warned that it would harm the city's economy, which they appear to believe is forever on the brink of collapse.
A closer look at top salaries, thanks to a report in the Business Times, reveals more about exactly whose economy might suffer. In this case, “suffer” is a relative term.
The business weekly listed the top 100 paid executives of public companies in the Bay Area. One-third lead San Francisco companies, and 29 of these 32 worthies are from companies that belong to the Committee on Jobs.
The city's economy may be ailing, but these guys (there are no women on this list) received a combined total of $110,581,139 in compensation last year. Top honors went to Sam Ginn, head of Pacific Telesis' cellular spinoff, Airtouch, who received a total of $6,728,789 in salary, bonuses, and stock options (the combined compensation of the top two on this list is equal to the gap in the city's Recreation and Park budget). How big would Ammiano's tax bite be for the Big Boys? Even if you subtract all the stock options as outside of the “earnings,” the total tax bite would come to $800,994.30. That still leaves them $109,780,145.
Everyone Loves a Parade?
Certainly not the people at the Traditional Values Coalition of Contra Costa County. In an angry press release that boiled out of the SF Weekly fax machine, the coalition denounces KOFY-TV's complete coverage of Sunday's gay parade down Market Street as “X-rated.”
“During this parade participants displayed, and KOFY cameras aired, bare adult female breasts as well as exposed adult male penis [sic] and testicles,” the press release states. The 300,000-plus people who viewed the parade in person didn't seem offended by paraders in the buff, although it's clear that had everyone been fully clothed — as 99.9 percent were — the coalition would still have been steamed. Coalition director Mark Zapalik notes in the release, “The [KOFY] host's comment that the AIDS Quilt was like the Vietnam Memorial was a disgrace to those who gave their lives for this country.”
Rude, Crude, and Disgusting
Last Sunday's closing night of the S.F. International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival shocked even veteran festivalgoers: Dozens in the Castro Theatre stormed out during the screening of Frisk, director Todd Verow's sexually explicit version of a gay man's downward spiral into sadism, insanity, and murder (based on the novel by Dennis Cooper). Observers say anywhere from 100 to 200 people left during the screening (one of them crying, “Shame!”). The late Mark Finch, artistic director of Frameline, which produces the annual festival, wanted the controversial movie to end this year's festival, and it had already generated a lot of publicity. So the reaction puzzled many in the crowd, including festival publicist Karen Larsen. “You didn't go to this film not knowing what it's about,” she says. Still, one local film critic noted that the reaction to Frisk may have legitimacy: If gay activists are up in arms about “straight” Hollywood's portrayal of gays, what are people to make of a movie produced, directed, and starring gay men that presents them in such an explicit light?
By Larry Bush, Jack Shafer, and John Sullivan