In anticipation over today's pending battle at the Board of Supervisors meeting over whether or not to spend $8 million to save 40, 100, or 500
SEIU jobs at the Department of Public Health, the union has sent out a glossy, campaign-style mailer. And Gavin Newsom is the cover boy.
But the SEIU's goal isn't to praise Newsom, but bury him -- in phone calls and e-mails.
"Gavin Newsom's Universal Health Care Plan..." reads the cover caption alongside a campaigning Newsom. Within, the pamphlet queries: "His legacy? Or a missed opportunity?" In SEIU purple-and-yellow, the mailer features photos and testimonials from, among others, General Hospital's former chief of staff, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano -- the real father of Healthy San Francisco -- and Senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee. All of them question the mayor's wisdom in moving ahead with job reassignments and layoffs and imply that the Healthy San Francisco plan will be jeopardized. And those agreeing with them are encouraged to call the mayor or supes at the conveniently listed phone numbers.
Boy, that sure sounds simple. Of course, naturally, this is a beastly complex issue. But we'll do our best to keep it understandable.
While Supervisors Chris Daly and John Avalos originally called for a "loan" of around $7.9 million from the city's General Fund to stave off these cuts and reassignments, the city controller forbade the move, stating the city simply cannot spend money not previously budgeted for -- because, in a nutshell, we're broke
. Undaunted, Daly proposed instead the money come from a Department of Public Health reserve fund -- though the term "reserve" is somewhat misleading. This money is already earmarked to be spent on DPH salaries. If unreplenished, other DPH workers will have to be laid off. Yet Ammiano and others now assure concerned parties that the money will be replenished by state and federal funds provided by Assembly Bill 1383
The city controller's office says it can't approve spending money with the promise of matching funds coming in from a program only in its "planning stages."
Meanwhile, folks SF Weekly
has talked to who see things the other way essentially say "Hey, the SEIU is very influential in Washington, D.C. The money will be there. Trust us."
And, finally, there's even disagreement on how many votes it will take
to greenlight the $7.9 loan. While Daly is adamant he only needs a simple majority of the 11 supes (which he has), the city attorney says Daly needs the votes of eight supervisors (elusive). And if the mayor follows through on an anticipated veto, then Daly would certainly need eight votes to override that all-but-certain veto.
Ha, ha. Just like we said -- simple
. Be sure to call the mayor and board. Maybe they can explain it all to you, too.