2:05 p.m. Everyone’s crowded into the supes chamber at city hall, and we’re ready to start. Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s supporters are out in force, and Adachi is here as well, this time in a suit. Supporters from local organizations and charities are also here, hoping for some restored funding in addbacks. The chamber is full, with an overflow room opened up. Waiting for the meeting to start.
2:11 p.m. Despite a possible mayoral attendance on the agenda, the mayor will not be attending. Slight chuckles through the room as it’s announced.
2:13 p.m. And we’re right to it. On to the budget.
2:15 p.m. Avalos says he’s seen a great deal of advocacy throughout the whole budget process. Judging by the room, I think you’re about to see more.
2:20 p.m. Avalos announcing add backs – among addbacks are Department of Children and Families for positions eliminated. 7 amendments to the budget total, which pass unanimously.
2:22 p.m. Now Mirkarimi thanking citizen advocates, for “creating concern and stirring outrage” about the budget. Puts forward a motion to de-allocate (that’s cut to civilians) $900,000 from indigent defense fund of the superior court – with $650,000 to the public defender and $250,000 to the district attorney. Supe Elsbernd says the trial court is already underfunded, saying the cuts make no sense, and where the money is going makes no sense.
2:26 p.m. And Adachi’s on deck to defend his budget. Boxes of documents being dollied in by aides. “We have seen our work skyrocket” due to staffing cuts, attorneys 50 percent over capacity recommended by American Bar Association. What’s in the boxes?
2:30 p.m. Boxes are cases handled by one attorney in a year – 222 cases. “There’s a big difference between assembly-line justice and the kind of justice we try to provide here in San Francisco.”
2:33 p.m. Cutting seven public defenders times 218 cases each, would equal a net cost of $668,000 to the city – not savings, according to Adachi, due to need to hire private attorneys.
2:35 p.m. Adachi asks everyone here to support the public defender’s office to stand up – easily 3/5 of the room, and a loud cheer and applause.
2:40 p.m. Defender’s office will cut 3 youth social workers, 2 programs – Mo’MAGIC and BMAGIC programs, in addition to the 7 attorneys. “Unless we get these cuts restored, this is the action I will be forced to take,” Adachi says. “We make sure that people’s constitutional rights are respected.”
2:41 p.m. Elsbernd reminds Adachi that he was asking him to justify the cuts to the Superior Court budget – not talk about his own.
2:45 p.m. Is Elsbernd calling Adachi out? Adachi says his budget would remain the same, but city budget representative says public defender’s budget would increase about $200,000 – $300,000. Elsbernd asks why should we then cut from the Superior Court to grow the public defender’s budget? Mirkarimi answers that until we can cut from highest end of the police department, this is the best avenue we have. Also reiterates that hiring private counsel is not cost-effective to the city.
2:54 p.m. Campos supporting Mirkarimi’s motion, thanking Adachi for representing his case. Daly says there is a necessary link link between public defender’s office and superior court, he doesn’t necessarily see the link between the DA’s office and the public defender’s. Daly’s supporting a full restoration of the public defender’s office, but only supporting part of Mirkarimi’s motion.
2:56 p.m. Dufty counters Daly saying there is a benefit for restoring money to the DA as well, since this will allow them to pursue more financial fraud cases. Says it’s ok to cut the trial court’s budget, and supporting Mirkarimi because the court will come to the Board of Supes for a supplemental anyway when they run short of funds, which they’ll surely fund anyway.
3:01 p.m. Dividing the vote three ways! First on whether to cut the trial court’s budget at all – this passes 7-4, with Alioto-Pier, Elsbernd, Chu and Maxwell voting no.
3:03 p.m. The other two votes will be for the $250,000 to the district attorney and the $650,000 to the public defender. But no, wait, Elsbernd is arguing that the funding should go 50-50 to the two offices. Daly proposing not to fund the DA’s budget at all.
3:05 p.m. President Chiu steps down from podium and speaks in support of Elsbernd’s proposal to fund the DA and public defender $450,000 each from funds cut from the trial court.
3:08 p.m. Elsbernd’s motion fails, 4-7, with Alioto-Pier, Avalos, Campos, Daly, Dufty, Mar, Mirkarimi voting no. Funding $250,000 to the public defender’s office passes 9-2, with Daly and Elsbernd voting no. Funding $650,000 to public defender passes 9-2, with Elsbernd and Maxwell voting no.
3:23 p.m. Daly asking to cut money from SFPD for 1 deputy chief and 2 commanders, and reallocate 2.5% of the hotel tax to public financing fund, with one goal of rehabilitating the Moscone Center. Supported by Mirkarimi, who says the proportion of rank-and-file officers is out of proportion to the amount at the top, calling the department top-heavy, and says the department needs reorganization. Motion passes 7-4.
3:28 p.m. Supervisor David Campos up to present two main points – first says current system has a structural imbalance, where mayor can choose not to spend money allocated by the board of supes. Says there’s a need to have some money in reserve in case of unanticipated events. He’s said last week he’d be pushing for these two changes, and here they are.
3:38 p.m. Supervisor Mirkarimi looking to put funds on reserve, in the case of a shortage of state funding. These funds include $9,700,000 for the Asian Fine Arts museum, $680,000 on mayor’s budget and $898,974 for community justice center
3:42 p.m. Mirkarimi adds that another item he forgot to mention – $1.6 million from city police budget.
3:43 p.m. Campos says the board is looking for some kind of commitment from the mayor’s office to fund programs added back through the add back process – “I take the mayor’s office at it’s word” he says, which is why he doesn’t see a problem with placing these funds on reserve. Mirkarimi says he cannot vote on the budget because we don’t currently have reserves. Chiu and Avalos prepared to vote against the measure.
3:45 p.m. Mirkarimi’s motion fails, 4-7. Campos says he can’t support the budget in it’s current state without reserve funding, and makes another motion to put $45 million in reserve from the city’s largest seven agencies, including the police department, public health, emergency management and general services agency.
3:57 p.m. Daly making a long speech, saying that Campos’s amount is too little. Says the problem is that we don’t know not only what’s going on with state funding, but also with city funds, if there is no significant economic recovery by next year. He’s shooting for a $300 million reserve, which would equal the spending cuts in the city’s most recent budget. No motion for it yet.
4:03 p.m. Avalos cannot support the reserve, says it “gets into toxic levels,” says the mayor “did give us his word, whether that’s important to you is your choice.
4:05 p.m. Campos’s motion for a $45 million full board reserve passes 7-4, Alioto-Pier, Chu, Dufty and Elsbernd voting no.
4:16 p.m. Dufty offers amendment to restore $800,000 to convention facilities from the public financing fund, saying that such events are crucial to attracting tourism, events, and thereby revenue, to the city. Seconded by Mirkarimi.
4:20 p.m. Daly opposed – says we can’t raid the public financing budget for this, and includes a knock at Dufty for his run for mayor and calls him unethical to boot. Less funds in the public financing budget = less funds available to candidates wanting to run for office on public funds. Says Dufty should find a different source of funds.
4:25 p.m. President Chiu calls the convention center and tourism “the goose that lays the golden egg,” critical to jump start a slow economy, and while $800,000 out of $72 million sounds like a drop in the bucket, we should consider funding this, but would like to hear from the Convention Visitor’s Bureau, to investigate further what the situation is, how many people will be laid off, the possible effects, and more.
4:34 p.m. No posts in a while, that’s because your reporter is confused, as appears, are the supervisors over what exactly will happen to the possible money cut from the public financing fund.
4:35 p.m. Dufty’s proposal to cut $800,000 from the public financing fund passes 7-4, Campos, Daly, Mar and Mirkarimi vote no. Daly immediately introduces a motion to allocate $800,000 from the general fund into the public financing fund.
4:39 p.m. Daly’s motion goes down 3-8. Surprised?
4:50 p.m. Final budget passes 9-2. Chu and Elsbernd vote no.
4:52 p.m. Daly separated funding for the community justice center. That also passed 7 to 4.
4:55 p.m. Item 14 appropriating all estimated receipts and all estimated expenditures for the City and County of San Francisco for FY ending June 30, 2010 passed 9 to 2. Again, Chu and Elbernd vote no.
5:26 p.m. Campos’s proposed amendment to mandate spending of allocated monies goes down 4-7.
5:33 Quick winner and loser update:
Winners: Public Defender gets $650,000 and District Attorney gets $250,000 in addbacks.
Loser: Indigent defense fund of the superior court gets docked $900,000.
Winner: Loser: SFPD Down 1 Deputy and 2 Commanders.
Winner: Moscone Convention Center for a rehab: from reallocation of 2.5 percent of the hotel tax.
Loser: Public financing fund cut $800,000.