"ChinaSF project creates 100 jobs in first year"

Hi Katie,

  I posted the following on the Examiner's website (http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/under-the-dome/ChinaSF-project-creates-100-jobs-in-first-year-91129864.html). Would be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Sigh... Where to begin with this story? I'm not blaming Katie Worth, whose use of the term "boasting" and ironic citing of unemployment figures suggests a fair amount of skepticism. But it's frustrating that the typical "news hole" (space and time alloted for a story) does not allow more fact-checking and explicit skepticism to be brought to bear. At what point is publishing these "boasts" without such rigorous analysis doing readers a disservice rather than a favor?

For instance, I'd like to know these alleged 100 new employees are. Their names and positions and the name of the companies that hired them. Some hard data to make sure we're not just being fed the kind of imaginary good news that totalitarian regimes like China's under Mao, or Orwell's fictional Big Brother in "1984", feed to the populations they control. Do these 100 or so individuals agree that they would not have been hired if it weren't for this ChinaSF program of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, or would they, if asked, laugh and tell you that such a claim is absolute nonsense? If it is nonsense, shouldn't we care that there are people in local government making very nice salaries paid for by money stolen from us, to feed us bull----?

In short, were these companies going to expand here anyway? And if they weren't, what did some San Francisco government official say to the Chinese business owners to get them to change their minds? If SF officials painted a rosy picture of the climate for doing business in San Francisco that is not borne out by the reality of a multitude of taxes, fees, regulations, permits, hearings, environmental impact reports, shadow studies, ad nauseum, will these Chinese businesses down the road have an actionable legal claim against the city government for fraud?

If they didn't paint an unrealistically rosy picture, what *did* they say that was so persuasive? Do they just bake a real mean batch of cookies and have charming personalities? Somehow I doubt that businesses looking to invest in a new market are going to be so easily satisfied. Did the officials make any promises or cut any deals that they shouldn't have? Or are the businesses simply allowing OEWD bureaucrats to take credit for decisions they actually had little or no influence upon, as a way to curry favor with local authorities? Inquiring minds want to know.

Perhaps an Examiner reporter might consider this question: Does San Francisco really need an Office of Economic and Workforce Development? How many people work in this office, and how much money do they make? What do they actually do, on a day-to-day basis? Can anyone supply a detailed, plain English answer to this question?

Perhaps OEWD employees help businesses navigate the myriad regulations and government agencies in the city. That is certainly a useful service -- but it rather begs the question, why not just save the money by making the regulations less numerous and less complicated in the first place? Then government wouldn't need to take our money to pay people to hold the hands of business owners to walk them through the processes, lest they simply throw up their hands and walk away if left to handle on their own all the bureaucracy and government-imposed costs of doing business.

Would the money used to pay these OEWD bureaucrats to do whatever it is they do, be better spent on routine maintenance and upkeep of streets, water pipes, schools, parks, libraries, etc.? You know, all the things that politicians ask us every year or two to authorize them to borrow money to fund, in the form of bonds, because they spent all our money on stuff like the OEWD and didn't set any aside for the basic, unsexy task of keeping the infrastructure they own and control in good working condition?

-Starchild, Candidate for SF Board of Supervisors (District 8)

ChinaSF project creates 100 jobs in first year
By: Katie Worth
Examiner Staff Writer
04/17/10 12:25 PM PDT
One hundred jobs down, 46,900 to go.
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is boasting that its ChinaSF project has brought in about 100 jobs to The City in its first year.
The program has facilitated the expansion of nine Chinese companies in San Francisco, and has established dozens of relationships with other companies that may bear economic fruit in the future.
ChinaSF was established to strengthen the ties between San Francisco and Chinese companies and encourage Chinese companies to look to San Francisco when they consider opening North American branches. It has targeted companies in the clean tech, biotech and digital media industries, which San Francisco and the Bay Area are strong in.