Adachi’s Pension Plan; Prop 25 and Republican Obstruction; Twitter and Facebook; Riley Senior Golf Tournament …

by on July 8, 2010

To the Editor:

The ballot initiative that Public Defender Jeff Adachi is launching against the public service employees in November 2010 is a “test of the water” for his ambition to become the next Mayor of San Francisco. He’s not going any inch farther, because voters in San Francisco know that Mr. Adachi is an opportunist. He doesn’t have a base. Even Democratic Asian American voters are turned off against him. The problem in San Francisco is not about the 95% low-paying public service employees that are so dedicated to make the City works. It’s the system that is run by incompetent politicians like him and their appointed special assistants that are making more than $100,000 per year doing nothing but promote their political ambitions for higher office.

Andres Bonifacio
San Francisco

To the Editor:

I’m glad this is getting more coverage. This is the most in-depth article I have read. However, the pension increase is minor compared to the health cost increase. Over 2/3 of the cost to me from the Adachi plan is medical. If an employee makes around $50k/year, almost 80% of the total cost of the Adachi plan are medical cost increases, assuming one dependent and the same medical plan I have.

Since medical costs are fixed by the plan, not by how much the employee earns, it acts as a regressive tax on City employees. For example, given current rates and plans etc. the Adachi plan would cost me an additional $1750.32/year for the increased pension, but with one dependent (my wife) my medical would go up by an additional $3,605.60 (so the Charter Amendment’s total cost to me would be $5356/year). My current medical cost per year is $1571.44 (deductible for my wife). I’m curious if most jobs in the private sector need to pay $5k /year for one dependent (no matter if you make $30k or $300k). Of course, if you have more than one dependent it is even greater.

Scott MacPherson
Oakland, CA

To the Editor:

Raise your hand if you think you are a progressive. Now, raise your hand if you know what being a progressive means. The recent article “Adachi Pension Measure Could Reshape National Politics” points out to the potential campaign that could bitterly divide progressives. So I ask those who are “progressives,” what are the principles of “progressivism” that could forever be divided if a self-interested politician backed by huge amounts of corporate money, decides to break from the other self-interested politicians with only small amounts of corporate money?

My understanding of the principles from reading the analyses of “progressives” on “progressives”: I am ‘progressive” because I believe poor homeless people and the minorities should have some assistance (pobresitos, yep that is Spanish — very progressive), but never their empowerment at my expense. I am “progressive” because I believe all workers should have a decent wage (above min. wage, but never more than my college-educated self.) But when they become greedy, we should do everything to represent the voices of the lesser paid workers who will benefit ever so slightly because of their fellow worker’s demise. Of course, only until they too become greedy, then we marginalize them as well.

I am “progressive” because I can no longer indentify or speak with the poor and working class directly, so I vigorously must hound, yet defend, the “representatives of the people,” the politicians, who hopefully are more often than not on the “good side” of the “progressive” spectrum. So as this past fiscal year of massive social service cuts, cuts to education, cuts to workers’ salaries, endless spending for colonial wars comes to an end, we are approaching the next grueling round of austerity measures with the “progressive” chorus saying “we need more progressives!”

But wait, even the “progressives” don’t seem “progressive.” Wait, is that “progressive?” So what is the alternative? “Wait, oh no, you can’t be talking about the LEFT! Those marginalized commie, socialist, working class rhetoric-speaking hippies who only mess up our ability to build a united front of ‘progressives’?” Perhaps. Yet, as the contradictions from “progressives” start becoming more apparent, at least a principled approach to the coming crises will allow the public to become mobilized for real change.

Until then, the defenders of “progressives” will continue excusing their darling politicians because they are so far up their potential employer’s rear end that they will have to continue tumbling over themselves whenever their politicians have to make “tough” choices and side with big business, corporate welfare, bank bailouts, and colonial wars. Thus, they will continue to apologize for the politician’s “one” hiccup, but reminding the public that they continue being “progressive” — whatever that means.

As a final humble plea, to those of you who haven’t lost touch with the people; those who only use these “progressive” media outlets to inform themselves, I hope you don’t mislead people into believe that voting for “progressives” will be the answer to their poverty, joblessness, hunger, and disempowerment. Because if “progressives” don’t understand what being “progressive” means, how should they?

Frank Lara
San Francisco

To the Editor:

You say in your blog that it’s the big bad Republicans who are at fault that the state of California is in, and yet there are only 3 states in the country that have a super majority vote required to pass a budget. Then why is every state in the nation in the same mess? You can’t tax your way out of overspending.

Michael Zimmerman
Sacramento, CA

ED. NOTE: Prop 25 only applies to passing a budget, not taxes. And while it’s true that every state is in bad shape, California’s situation is far worse.

To the Editor:

I have parents who sound an awful lot like this. “Why do people have to constantly post bulletins about every little mundane thing that they do?,” they ask me. I don’t know what the answer to that is. I also don’t know anyone who uses Twitter for that. I guess in your example, this basketball player is one of those people. Sounds like a fairly boring person.

I love Twitter, personally. Twitter is my home base on the internet. Why is Markos on Twitter, even though he has his own website? Because people like me don’t visit Daily Kos every single day. We do go on Twitter. That’s because from Twitter, we can keep up to date on what’s happening at Daily Kos AND every other site we may find interesting content on. And through links, we can pick and choose from the widest possible spectrum what articles we want to read, videos we want to watch, etc on a given day.

You should jump in.

Tyler Randolph
San Francisco

Dear Rochelle:

Thank you so much for putting the Riley Senior Golf Tournament in a place of honor and respect. To close Sharp or to end the Riley would be a disappointment and a heart break to the hundreds of participants currently enjoying the outing as well as the future players of all ages, backgrounds and color. I made a commitment, along with Doc Porter and Lois Kincy, to keep the tournament going. I want to reconfirm that commitment with this response to your exceptional column.

Jack Scott
San Francisco

Dear Rochelle:

Thanks for the excellent coverage of the Riley Jamieson golf tournament at Sharp Park. I appreciate your description of the day’s events and of Mr. Jamieson’s long involvement with public golf and making the sport accessible to the entire community. I sat at the table next to you at the post-golf dinner, and we discussed the golfers’ ongoing battle to save Sharp Park.

The people who want to close the golf course have seized upon the current budget-setting procedures at the Board of Supervisors to renew their attack on Sharp Park. At Budget Committee hearings, they made the false argument that closing Sharp Park would free up money that the Supervisors should better spend for social services. Unfortunately, this divisive tactic deceived a few social service providers, who joined in the argument to close the golf course.

The truth is that Sharp Park does more than provide a wonderful, scenic, historic, accessible, and AFFORDABLE place for our seniors and our juniors and our middle-class and less-than-middle-class to play golf and just enjoy themselves–as we did at Riley’s Tournament. Sharp Park actually does all of this, while bringing in more income (through its modest greens fees and restaurant) to the Rec & Park Department than the Department spends there.

This was made clear by Rec & Park Department Director Phil Ginsberg in his December 19, 2009 testimony at a Board of Supervisors Governmental Audit and Oversight Committee public hearing. In an exchange with Director Ginsberg, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi acknowledged that even if there is an operating loss at Sharp Park, it is “de minimus” and “small change”.

Although the Budget Committee heard twice from the Rec & Park Department, at public hearings June 17 and 24, there were no questions from the Supervisors, and no comment by Rec & Park Department representatives, about Sharp Park or its finances.

The Rec & Park Budget appears at pages 369-375 of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget. Sharp Park is not separately described, or mentioned in the Rec & Park section. There is nothing in the Capital Projects section of the Proposed Budget for sea wall or habitat restoration at Sharp Park. So the golf opponents’ argument that Sharp should be closed in order to save purported millions of dollars in sea wall and related capital expenditures is just baloney. There are no such capital costs in the 2010-2012 budget now under consideration by the Supervisors.

If Sharp Park Golf Course were to be closed now, the effect on the 2010-2012 budgets would be: (1) a hole in the Rec & Park Department budget that would have to be filled by closing other Rec & Park facilities or functions; (2) no capital expenditure savings; and (3) closure of a much-beloved, widely-used, and historic People’s Golf Course.

I hope that you and Paul Hogarth, who has been covering the Supervisors’ budget deliberations, will make this clear to Beyond Chron’s readers. If you need further citations or background on this, let me know.

Richard Harris
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

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