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City Budget Watchdog

Supervisors urge shift of $82 million from cops and fire to health

Michael Pistorio and Kevin Stark, The Public Press — Jun 11 2009 - 8:19pm

In a day of protest inside and outside City Hall, the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee shoved a wrench in Mayor Gavin Newsom's interim budget Wednesday, while nearly 1,000 rallied outside for more equitable cuts to save health services.

SF budget cuts target behavioral health

Kevin Stark and Lizzy Tomei, The Public Press — Jun 11 2009 - 7:00pm

Hundreds of San Francisco's most vulnerable people -- the mentally ill, homeless, and seniors among them -- will be pushed out of the social services safety net and even further into the margins if proposed cuts to the Department of Public Health go through.

Perfect storm of bad economic news led to San Francisco's budget scramble

kristina shevory, The Public Press — Jun 8 2009 - 6:16pm

Until last summer, the recession was something that happened somewhere else. The credit crunch was slow in reaching San Francisco because it was insulated from the subprime crisis unfolding across the country.

But now the recession has hammered the city’s budget and led to the largest shortfall in more than two decades. With a $438 million deficit, the city is scrambling to make up the difference -- slashing 1,600 jobs, auctioning taxi medallions, slapping smokers with taxes to clean up cigarette butts.

The San Francisco budget: a user's guide

Christopher D. Cook, The Public Press — Jun 8 2009 - 3:35pm

Welcome to San Francisco’s lean and mean 2009 budget season. It’s going to be a brawl.

As Mayor Gavin Newsom seeks to eliminate a $438 million deficit, mainly through cuts to city staff and services, the board of supervisors and numerous opposition groups will be haggling over the brutal details through July 1.

While much of the current debate centers on how to spread the pain, some groups and supervisors are calling for new revenue measures to avoid decimating city services.

Homeless counseling group first on Health Dept. chopping block

Kevin Stark, The Public Press — Jun 2 2009 - 12:09pm

Caduceus Outreach Services could close its doors as early as July 1 due to the crippling budget deficit facing the San Francisco of Department of Public Health.

Caduceus, a 13-year-old SOMA-based nonprofit organization, could lose two-thirds of its budget as a result of the Health Department’s efforts to cope with an unprecedented $163 million deficit. Caduceus, which provides psychiatric counseling to about 100 homeless people, is just one of 104 city-based community program agencies facing the budget ax this summer, as the city tries to deal with a total deficit of $438.1 million.

Supes approve Muni budget after Chiu yields

Jim Welte, The Public Press — May 12 2009 - 11:49pm

While giant financial service institutions in the nation are shirking under the iron hand of the economy, microcredit organizations are seeing an opposite trend — the number of lenders has been steadily increasing.

Kiva, a Web-based microcredit non-profit in San Francisco, had a record month in February as its total monthly lending soared past $3.8 million.

Cabbies steamed over proposed taxi overhaul

Jim Welte, The Public Press — May 11 2009 - 11:17pm

Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a resolution to reject the proposed budget of the San Francisco Municipal Railway because of steep fare hikes, deep service cuts and millions of dollars in questionable reimbursements to other city departments. But the proposal that has drawn the most ire at public hearings is Mayor Newsom's plan to overhaul the city's taxi industry by changing the system for awarding the coveted driver permits known as medallions. Newsom and Muni's parent, the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), say the scheme would generate $15 million a year in new revenue for the cash-strapped transit system.

Fuse is burning in Muni budget showdown

Jim Welte, The Public Press — May 7 2009 - 10:42pm

Transit chief Nathaniel Ford and Muni are on the clock. The Board of Supervisors' budget committee ended a seven- hour meeting Wednesday by telling the Municipal Transit Agency (MTA) to revise its budget to satisfy complaints from supervisors and the public or risk having the full board reject it Tuesday — an unprecedented action.

The Board of Supervisors' budget committee ended a seven- hour meeting Wednesday by telling the Municipal Transit Agency (MTA) to revise its budget to satisfy complaints from supervisors and the public or risk having the full board reject it Tuesday — an unprecedented action.

Facing a $129 million budget shortfall, the San Francisco Municipal Railway has proposed record fare hikes and service cuts, sparking public outcry and a showdown between Mayor Gavin Newsom and the board. While several supervisors have acknowledged that some level of fare hikes and service cuts may be inevitable given the MTA's dire financial situation, the major sticking point is the issue of "work orders" — reimbursements sent to Muni by other city departments to the tune of nearly $66 million.

SF budget cuts test city's liberal image

Christopher D. Cook, The Christian Science Monitor — Apr 15 2009 - 11:43am

Famously liberal in its politics and its spending, San Francisco is steering a new spendthrift path amid the federal Keynesian revival — cutting antipoverty and social-service programs that helped build the city's reputation as a haven for the poor.

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