By EMMA BROWN
State offices were closed yesterday in honor of Abe Lincoln’s birthday, but Tom Ammiano was working. The newly elected assemblyman held an open house at his downtown San Francisco office, offering up wine, finger foods and a chance to hear—straight from the horse’s mouth—about a potential resolution to the budget mess in Sacramento.
“As with any deal,” he said, “some of it is offensive, and some of it is a victory.”
To balance a deficit north of $40 billion, legislative leaders and the Guv, working in secret, have struck a compromise that upsets absolutely everyone. Dems don’t like the huge cuts to schools, public transit and prisons. Republicans who campaigned on a no-new-taxes platform are now forced to choose between honoring that promise and resolving the state’s fiscal crisis. (“Republicans are sort of a cult right now,” Ammiano said. “They take oaths … ‘No taxes! Take my wife, take my children, no taxes!’”) The vote is scheduled for Saturday morning.
Ammiano indicated he will vote yes. “I feel we need to end this now and move forward. It’s going to be stinky,” he said. “Look at this nose—I’m going to be holding it a lot.”
The deadline for introducing new bills is Feb. 27, and Tom promised to unveil by then a package of legislation addressing a whole passel of issues—education, environment, taxation, land use, LGBT and HIV issues, and decriminalization of marijuana.
Meantime, he’s been keeping tabs on SF politics, weighing in on Supe Chris Daly’s proposal to raid the Rainy Day Fund to close the city’s budget gap (bad idea) and, in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant shooting, calling for a BART police oversight committee.
After his short speech, Ammiano hobnobbed with well wishers and supporters, including D9 Supe successor David Campos.