Supes on: the budget -- Mar advocates ‘a people’s budget’

The Public Press
 — Sep 10 2009 - 2:40pm
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Although San Francisco’s city budget was passed in July, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar says he believes taking a more fundamental process to passing it is in order.

He advocates having "a people's budget," in which the process would solicit more grassroots involvement at "the early levels as opposed to where you have people rallying and begging at the last minute ... when they can't have as much of an impact on the budget."

The supervisor calls the current budget process "dehumanizing," in pitting mental health clients, nonprofit organizations and city staff fighting over funds "when we should be working together to increase revenue so we can adequately staff the safety net and important staff and other programs in the city."

Mar also says the Department of Public Health and human service agencies were "gutted" by budget cuts and said it would be "hard to restore" important programs in those agencies, many of which have been built up over generations. The city of San Francisco had to close a $438.1 deficit in this summer's budget deliberations.

During a recent interview with the Public Press’s Patricia Decker, Mar spoke about his priorities in the city budget, praised the work of Supervisor John Avalos and Board President David Chiu and talked about a variety of solutions to raise much-needed revenue.

Mar says that Avalos and Chiu played major roles in getting the add-backs. Now, he said, it was up to the office of Mayor Newsom to appropriate the money, which he adds, hasn't been the case in the past.