Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why Question Time will continue to flop

With unfortunate timing, Tim Redmond asked these questions a few days ago: No questions for Ed Lee? What has happened to the idea of robust debate?

Redmond is referring to the mandated Question Time that requires the mayor to appear before the Board of Supervisors every month to answer questions:

Mayor Ed Lee appears before the Board of Supes Tuesday/12 for Question Time, but according to the agenda, no supervisor from an even-numbered district had any questions to submit.This has become pretty common. When then-Sup. Chris Daly put Question Time on the ballot, his idea was that the mayor would appear once a month for a free-ranging policy debate with the board... 

Back in 2012, I explained why Question Time has disappointed its supporters:

But the real reason Question Time is devoid of interest as theater, regardless of how it's done: There are few serious policy differences between the mayor and the supervisors. I can't even think of one offhand...Come to think of it, what significant policy differences did Supervisor Daly and Mayor Newsom have? The only one I can remember is on homelessness---about which Daly was completely wrong, by the way.

Nothing has changed since the Daly/Newsom days. San Francisco is still essentially a one-party city-state wherein consensus on important issues is the rule, e.g. highrise development and anti-carism.

Chris Daly wanted a monthly free-for-all like the way its done in British Parliament so he could attack Mayor Newsom.

Redmond lists some issues he wants discussed:

Does he support the striking workers in Oakland (and acknowledge that his pro-tech-growth policies are one of the reasons that the workers can’t live in their own city anymore)? Does he support the repeal of Costa-Hawkins and the extension of rent control to vacant apartments---and what is he doing to help? He wants to house 1,000 homeless people over the holidays---but what about the other 6,000 or so people on the streets? Does he support the ballot measure that would provide a lawyer for everyone facing an eviction? Why has he said nothing to defend Sanctuary City in the wake of the Garcia Zarate verdict?

It's unlikely that Mayor Lee's answers to any of these questions would have satisfied Redmond. But Redmond and city progressives have a very poor record on homelessness, as I've pointed out over the years.

Before the advent of Gavin Newsom, Redmond and the Bay Guardian left had no serious response to the growing homeless emergency in the city. Instead, they endorsed Food Not Bombs and the pie-throwers.

More from Redmond:

I don’t want a press release answer. I want a real discussion. Board President London Breed can change the rules to make Question Time consistent with what the voters wanted. But she doesn’t want to. So: Nobody asks the mayor anything.

London Breed is a dim bulb who was elected under our "progressive" Ranked Choice Voting system that actually discourages the discussion of issues. As acting mayor, she'll keep the city on automatic drive with little opposition from the city's clueless left.

If Redmond really wants "a real discussion," he could start by answering the questions I asked the candidates in 2012, all of whom of course refused to respond.

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