Monday, October 10, 2011

Family problems: Jeff Adachi and City Hall


Chronicle reporter Heather Knight understands how the city's political system works. This morning she provides an account of what City Hall insiders are saying about Jeff Adachi: 

His opponents on the pension measure---just about everybody else in the so-called "city family"---say Adachi would be a disastrous mayor because he's alienated the 26,000 employees who work for the city and everybody else elected to lead it. They say it's easy to be the face of a ballot measure, but harder to actually negotiate labor contracts and build consensus to get things done.

Typical that she couldn't get anyone to quote directly on this bit of back-stabbing. Oh yes, it's so hard for city workers to negotiate contracts that benefit themselves and their friends in City Hall! Obviously, the "consensus" that's been built in City Hall is the problem that got the city into its present fix. (It would be interesting to know exactly who was handling the city's stock portfolio during the bubble leading up to the Great Recession. Like the CEOs on Wall Street, he probably got a big raise afterward.)

"Getting things done"? These people are adept at feathering their own nests, but they have to borrow money to pave our streets!

Wonder why Adachi doesn't particularly care if he's not a member in good standing with the City Family? Knight provides some backstory:

He graduated from UC Hastings College of Law in 1985 and was hired by the Public Defender's Office the next year. Adachi soon became known for his intensity in the courtroom and his masochistic work ethic. He was presumed to be the successor to Public Defender Jeff Brown, but when Brown resigned in 2001, then-Mayor Willie Brown appointed Kimiko Burton-Cruz, the daughter of his good friend, former state Sen. John Burton, as public defender. She promptly fired Adachi, who ran against her the following year and shocked the political establishment by winning. He has been easily elected for two additional terms.

Adachi is exactly what the city needs: someone who understands from personal experience how badly the city has been governed recently. His pension measure will save the city up to $400 million over the next ten years, which could be used to "actually pay for street repairs rather than seeking bond money to do it."

Adachi is also skeptical of the Central Subway project, which the city will pay up to $200 million of its own money to build. (I'm even willing to overlook the fact that he buys the bike bullshit. (Later: after looking at Adachi's website, I'm having second thoughts. Good on the Central Subway and on pensions but not on anything else. I'll probably not vote for mayor at all, since none of the candidates offer much that differs from City Hall. Tony Hall wants to be seen as the outlier, but his take on the issues is too unfocused to take seriously.)

2009/2010 Grand Jury Report: "Pension Tsunami: The Billion Dollar Bubble"

2008/2009 Grand Jury Report: "Pensions: Beyond Our Ability to Pay"

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