DBI Commission Moves Toward Suing City

by Staff Writer on June 8, 2004

The Building Inspection Commission announced plans yesterday to hold a Closed Session meeting to discuss suing San Francisco for illegally diverting Department of Building Inspection funds to the Planning Department. The move sets up a major fight at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors Finance Committee over the mayor’s proposed shift of $6.7 million in DBI funds.

The anger among DBI commissioners was palpable, as many expressed concern that the mayor’s plan could soon bankrupt the only city department to run a surplus this year. The public testimony echoed this, as many shared the sentiment expressed by Sean Keighran that the mayor “should get the Getty’s to give Planning the money.”

Doubts have arisen about the Planning Department’s proposed use of the DBI funds. Supervisor Chris Daly has twice allocated funds for the preparation of an EIR for the Mission District, but on both occasions Planning took the money and then spent it elsewhere.

Now the Mayor’s Office is claiming that DBI money is needed to fund this EIR, though no explanation for Planning’s failure to use previously allocated funds has been given.

With major interest groups across the city directly impacted by DBI’s funding stream, the proposed diversion of $10million for the current and next budget year has raised a political firestorm. If the Finance Committee cannot resolve the dispute on Wednesday, a court may soon do so.

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