Controller: Dire Financial Warning Is No Political Ploy

Yesterday, SF Weekly broke the news that the city's finances are in such bad shape that the controller has forbidden the mayor or supes from making any expenditures not previously budgeted; the controller cannot guarantee the money is there. Yes, it's that bad.

This takes the wind out of the sails of the Progressive Armada, which had been planning a showdown today regarding legislation that would have spent around $8 million to stave off layoffs of union health workers and rescinded pay freezes. Now, noted Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda, the supes are forbidden from passing such measures unless they hack an equivalent amount out of the city budget or devise revenue-boosting measures (fees or taxes).

It didn't take long for accusations to be made that this cry of insolvency was a veiled political move. SEIU organizer Robert Haaland commented on SF Weekly's Web site that “I smell not only one rat but several.” Supervisor John Avalos, author of some of the union-friendly legislation, complained to the Chronicle that the controller's report was “a little bit cooked” and included totals that were harmful to his cause and left out totals that were beneficial.

Zmuda told SF Weekly she can't remember the last time her office was accused of playing partisan politics. She methodically explained that the smell of rodentia isn't emanating from our city — that's the odor of nightmarish financial shortfalls.

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