As city supervisors deliberated Thursday on a voter-backed policy to have the mayor attend monthly board meetings, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that his counterproposal would be implemented Jan. 13, further straining relations between him and the board.
The latest political spat between the Board of Supervisors and Newsom is centered around the implementation of Proposition I, a nonbinding policy statement — which was backed by 56 percent of the voters Nov. 7 — that said the mayor should appear once a month at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
In a Tuesday letter to the board, Newsom said he had plans already under way to implement the spirit of Prop. I: Instead of appearing before the Board of Supervisors in legislative chambers, he would hold monthly public policy meetings in the community beginning this January, and city supervisors are invited to attend.
While the proposal circumvents the will of the voters, Newsom said in the letter that it avoids "political theater" and fosters better communication with the public.
The letter came two days before the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee was scheduled to vote on a board policy requesting the mayor to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting every third Tuesday of the month to discuss policy issues. Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin drafted the policy in response to the voters’ approval of Prop. I.
During the Rules Committee hearing Thursday, city supervisors put off the vote on the proposed policy until next Thursday, saying they wanted to work collaboratively with the Mayor’s Office to come to an agreement about how to implement the will of the voters. It was during this meeting that an announcement came from the Mayor’s Office that the "first policy town hall meeting" would take place Jan. 13 in the Richmond — Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s district.
McGoldrick said he was "never consulted" about the meeting, was critical of Newsom’s plan and that Newsom should talk about implementation of Prop. I with the members of the board.
"It’s kind of sad that [Newsom] decided to continue to create a circus environment around this Prop. I," McGoldrick said. When asked if he would attend, McGoldrick said he was indifferent, adding, "I don’t jump into circus routines."
In a statement Thursday, Newsom said, "I look forward to discussing homelessness with the residents of the Richmond and the Board of Supervisors in the community on Jan. 13."
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who is generally supportive of Newsom, said the mayor’s proposal "was kind of an executive fiat" and lacked the "spirit of collaboration."
Neither the mayor’s proposal nor Peskin’s were ready for prime time, as more details needed to be worked out, Elsbernd said.
If approved by the Rules Committee next week, the policy could come before the full board for adoption as early as Jan. 9, the first board meeting of the new year.