ACTION ITEM - Write the Board of Supervisors and tell them to say NO to more aides

The group SFSOS is asking their members to tell their Supes to oppose the Charter Amendment proposed by Matt Gonzalez to increase the number of aides allowed to each Supervisor. I couldn't agree with them more. Here is the letter I sent via their site (mostly their language, with a few additions of my own). Send your own by visiting Spread the word!

Yours in liberty,
          <<< Starchild >>>

Dear Supervisor %%leg_lastname%%:

Please read this letter carefully, as I have made some additions to the pre-written language and it is not just a form letter.

I am writing this letter to strongly urge you to reject Matt Gonzalez’s Charter Amendment lifting the current cap on the number of legislative aides allowed per Supervisor.

The current limit of two aides per Supervisor was determined during the 2000 district elections, when voters were assured that Supervisors would need less staff in order to represent their individual districts, rather than the whole city. By disposing of the two aide cap, the Board will be essentially going back on its word to limit the staffing resources needed for each Supervisor.

With this Charter Amendment, the number of aides per Supervisor could rise without limit, giving the Board free hand in deciding the amount of money necessary for each Supervisor’s staff.

Given the city’s current budget crisis, the last thing we need is an even increasing number of legislative staff, along with an ever growing staffing budget. Kind of like the way the Supervisors' salaries leaped to over $100,000 a year after they were freed from caps. Voters never would have approved such a prodigous raise, but they made the mistake of thinking that a committee of political appointees would handle it appropriately, and that the Supervisors would just get a modest boost in salary. Right.

Please consider the best interests of your constituency and the City of San Francisco and reject this unnecessary and harmful legislation.

I would like to say, "Go ahead and add the extra aides if you cut an equivalent number of staff positions elsewhere in city government, paying an equal or greater amount," but unfortunately I don't trust the process enough to give politicians that kind of leeway.

Any positions cut from the mayor's office, or some other department with lots of employees, could easily be snuck back in later or re-added in some other form without people noticing. The great thing about the Board of Supervisors is that everybody knows that Supervisors only have two aides each. That makes it really hard to do the Big Government Creep without people noticing.

On the other hand, I *would* be willing to see extra aides hired if they were legally restricted to working on specific tasks designed to produce lower city spending or greater public accountability. For example, conducting rigorous audits of budget and overtime requests from city departments, monitoring sunshine law compliance, doing studies on whether money could be saved by privatizing city services, or exposing cushy union contracts, and writing op-eds about the results.

Now that's the kind of work that every single member of the Board of Supervisers could use some help with.