Supervisor Eric Mar dancing to different drummer 

click to enlarge Supervisor Eric Mar - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Supervisor Eric Mar

At this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, our representatives considered a resolution “Urging the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Reinstate 31 Categories of Music for GRAMMY Consideration.” Do I even need to tell you who introduced it?

Eric Mar, of course. The same supervisor who sponsored a resolution calling for an “end of war and nuclear arms, and the elimination of violence of all kinds” has decided to take on a new conflict. (Though I believe his beef is with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The one he named does not seem to exist.)

I can picture it now. In a fancy executive boardroom, academy President Neil Portnow brandishes a pen and announces it is time to finalize the elimination of the “Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album,” “Best Native American Album” and 29 other Grammy categories.

But wait, what’s this? An intern flings open the door and breathlessly hands Portnow a resolution by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors “urging” this madness to stop. “Well, this changes everything!” Portnow exclaims while ripping up the execution documents.

Musicians standing by burst into applause and hoist Mar onto their shoulders singing in harmony, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to a beautiful indigenous rhythm.

And then Eric Mar wakes up. It was all just another wonderful dream, like that time he removed U.S. troops in Afghanistan or stopped the coup d’etat in Honduras (both actual resolutions). The only real music is the sound of him fiddling while … well, you know the rest.


Voting system needs to go out to pasture

Ranked-choice voting was supposed to do a better job at capturing the will of the voters. It was supposed to be a faster and cheaper, kinder and gentler election. “List your top three choices in races for supervisor and mayor and we’ll do the rest!” Now members of the Board of Supervisors who were elected under ranked-choice voting may prevent us from weighing in on that very electoral system.

Today, the Rules Committee at the Board of Supervisors will hear debate over a proposal to end ranked-choice voting and replace it with a runoff system. Proposed by supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell, it would be on the June ballot. In its current form, the bill calls for a majority vote in November followed by a December runoff, though Elsbernd has made it clear that it will be amended to fashion a runoff of some other sort.

“RCV Under Attack” was the subject line of a mass email sent out Monday by prof. Steven Hill, architect (and fanatic) of both ranked-choice voting and public financing in San Francisco.

Proponents of ranked-choice voting argue that putting it on the ballot in the June election isn’t right because June elections have a lower voter turnout than November elections. But ranked-choice voting was passed in a March 2002 election, in which the turnout was 34 percent. You’d have to go back to 1994 to find a June election with a lower rate of voter participation. At any rate, any supervisor who relies on this argument had better be prepared to support putting ranked-choice voting up for a vote on the November 2012 ballot.

If it is truly a superior system to a runoff, it will prevail. But telling us to shut up because ranked-choice voting is good for us is unacceptable. Now is the time to contact our supervisors and tell them that we expect to have our say on ranked-choice voting in June and if they deprive us of that right, we will most certainly be heard in November when several of our benevolent overlords are up for re-election.


Sheriff could return by trial if suspended now

Sheriff Ross “The Tyrant” Mirkarimi will face charges of domestic abuse, child endangerment and intimidating a witness Feb. 24. That is 29 days from today.

Per our City Charter, Lee could suspend Mirkarimi for roughly 35 days. Folks are starting to accept Mirkarimi’s intransigence and blame Lee for not taking action to at least remove the sheriff until the trial is over.

Here is how it would work:

Lee would inform Mirkarimi that he is suspended indefinitely. Then Lee would have to “immediately” deliver a written statement to the Ethics Commission outlining the “official misconduct” for which Mirkarimi was being removed.

The commission would then meet within five days to hold a hearing on the charges. Mirkarimi could defend himself at the hearing.

The commission would then issue a recommendation (it’s not binding) and send it along with the transcript of the hearing to the Board of Supervisors. This starts a 30-day clock.

It takes nine votes from the Board of Supervisors to approve Mirkarimi’s suspension. If there are not enough votes to do that or if the board does nothing, on the 30th day after the board has received the Ethics Commission recommendation, Mirkarimi is reinstated. Just in time for his trial.

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Melissa Griffin

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