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Ruminations of a Former Supervisor / Quentin Kopp

Quentin at his desk

District Elections, Mayor Breed, Exagerated Need for Housing

• • • • • • • • • • November 2023 • • • • • • • • • •

Quentin Kopp
Quentin Kopp

As we prepare to pay out our federal and state income taxes pursuant to two extensions granted this year by the always-benevolent Internal Revenue Service and Franchise Tax Board, I’m reminded of quips meriting reiteration, such as: “Sorry people feel the government owes them a living! The rest of us would gladly settle for a small tax refund.”

Dissection of electing supervisors by 11 districts continues, although not destined for the March 5, 2024 primary election. Endorsed by the San Francisco Board of Realtors and now the San Francisco Taxpayers Association, the campaign headquarters at 85 West Portal Ave. Welcomes supporters at 415-661-7000, who will be greeted by Robert Guichard, campaign co-chairman. Former Chief of Police and Mayor Frank Jordan support the proposed charter amendment to enable all voters to vote for district candidates in a special election next year. Incumbent supervisors can be expected to denounce this citizen initiative, including Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin, who referred to your scribe as a “Former San Mateo County Judge,” implying that I don’t know what constitutes good government in San Francisco, where I’ve lived since after the Korean War. At the same time, he was being raised in Berkeley, home of People’s Park. Maybe Peskin will run for mayor against London Breed and a questionable district supervisor and baking scion. They’ll all be crushed by Mayor Breed, a remarkable self-made woman who struggles with conditions today’s society characterizes as “homeless.” I’m reminded that the post-1929 depression when I was a child used“tramps” as the description. Many were World War I military veterans. The current breed can be described as fentanyl and narcotic users who care not about employment.

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One matter Mayor Breed and Supervisors should cease deploring is the lagging construction of new housing at the expense of dishonored zoning and other neighborhood residential proscriptions. I’ve concluded from present vacancies and dispirited “new home” construction the matter is extravagantly exaggerated by City Hall politicians and local media.”

Speaking of Mayor Breed, she honored Korean War veterans and their families at the Marines Memorial Club last month by appearing at such club’s event celebrating its union with the Korean War Memorial Foundation effective next month. The Korean War Memorial is located in The Presidio of San Francisco across the road from the National Cemetery, with views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. I wonder if our current supervisors have viewed it, even though the city donated $100,000 to its $3,500,000 total cost. (The Republic of Korea contributed nearly $1,000,000.)

One matter Mayor Breed and Supervisors should cease deploring is the lagging construction of new housing at the expense of dishonored zoning and other neighborhood residential proscriptions. I’ve concluded from present vacancies and dispirited “new home” construction the matter is extravagantly exaggerated by City Hall politicians and local media. I examined the matter last summer. It hasn’t changed. Parkmerced represents an example. An inhabitant and native San Franciscan informed me last month that Parkmerced ownership announced to tenants that its apartments and townhouses, constituting 3/221 units, are 25% vacant — meaning some 773 units! That’s why Parkmerced’s owners aren’t building promised new units despite obtaining all required City permits. Do you see any housing units under construction, as promised, at Stonestown? I don’t! Our City Hall heroes should bewail the RVs on Park Merced Boulevard and at San Francisco State and clean up the thoroughfare for gas taxpaying motorists who try to traverse such roadways.

California Government Code Section 54972 (The Maddy Act, named after my deceased State Senate friend, Ken Maddy from Fresno) requires an annual listing of Boards, Commissions, Committees, and Task Forces in a local government. The redoubtable Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Angela Cabrillo, supplied me with San Francisco’s 2023 list. It shows some 112 such bodies, from an Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Examiners to the tax-eating Bicycle Advisory Committee, Cannabis Oversight Committee to Child Care Planning & Advisory Council, Children, Youth, and Their Families Oversight, and Advisory Committee, Eastern Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Committee to Children and Families First Commission, Close Juvenile Hall Working Group Commission, (“Juvie” is still open!), Our City, Our Home Oversight Committee, Guaranteed Income Advisory Group, Housing Stability Fund Oversight and Housing Conservatorship Working Group. This is just some of what taxpayers “buy” with a $14,600,000,000 annual budget, which faces a deficit next year.

As one wag opined:“Any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you’ve got.”

Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, SF Ethics Commission member, president of the California High Speed Rail Authority governing board and retired Superior Court judge. 

November 2023

Quentin Kopp
Quentin Kopp

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