Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Budgetary Hell

The Budget and Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors has been holding endless hearings all week, going through the Mayor's proposed Budget department by department.

On Monday and Tuesday, they tackled the Public Health budget which has some major cuts in store, and in the public comments period the Supervisors were lectured at by very articulate health professionals and long lines of drug addicts who wanted to tell their sobriety stories.

Today the long lines were laid off workers from the dysfunctional and corrupt Department of Public Works who had replaced the workers with nephews and sons-in-law and such.

While this was going on, the political fixers were working the room.

The very smart, very slick and very untrustworthy Ben Rosenfeld from the Mayor's Office made quite a few trips to various department heads and fixers.

Supervisor Fiona Ma at one point came out to the audience to talk to one of them, which is not unusual and is part of the charm of these meetings. They are a weird mixture of the formal and informal.

At the end of the Department of Public Works public commentary, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi actually nailed Ed Lee, the acting director soon to be the City Administrator (god help us all!), to a date when the fence would come down around the pagoda temple on the Hayes Green. It's supposed to be next Tuesday, folks, and it was on SF Government TV.

The next group that was there to testify en masse was from Channel 29, the public access station that was having $96,000 possibly being taken out of their budget.

Michael, one of my favorite employees at the station, spent his time reading "How to Direct Video."

Josh Wolf, a producer at the station was running around with his cool little video camera. Check out his VBlog (something I'd never heard of before but it was inevitable).

Zane Blaney, the director of the non-profit that runs the station, knew enough about politics to have made a few backroom deals with Supervisor Ammiano and the Mayor's Office, so it looked like their funding would be restored.

Ammiano announced the good news, hoping that the huge number of people who had been told that their shows on public access were in danger because of these budget cuts, would just go home and the committee could get on with their business. No such luck. These were people who really wanted to hear their own voices (rather like the sober drug addicts).

My favorite bit, though, was a former producer and board member who calls himself the Sk8ter Godfather, who hates the way the non-profit sucks up resources while not adding anything to the actual production of content on the station. He had made buttons to counter the "Save Public Access" stickers that everyone was wearing.

I thought the buttons were brilliant, and agreed with the sentiment, but Zane is nothing if not politically smart. In fact, he should go work for the Department of Public Works. There's a lot more swag.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ASDF is coming soon! Don't be left behind!