Supervisor Jake McGoldrick: Update on citywide issues

You may have heard about the City's looming budget deficit this year. I am serving as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee in a year that has a projected deficit of $338 million.

My fellow budget committee members and I will be looking for creative solutions (and good old- fashioned number crunching) to help balance this complex budget problem. In case you would like to follow along with the budget process, the City's Web site ( is a great resource. We will be updating that site as we move through the budget process.

Employee Suggestion Program
In 2003, I passed legislation to establish the Employee Suggestion Program. The program was launched to give all city employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on shearing expenses and inefficiencies in city government. The rank and file employees are most intimately involved with the City, so by giving them a chance to share their creative ideas on how to improve city operations, increase revenue and reduce expenditures, we are tapping into a wealth of knowledge.

The Office of the Legislative Analyst is charged with operating the program. If a suggestion is determined to create a significant amount of savings it will be reported to the Budget and Finance Committee for consideration.

This is a helpful program because employees know their departments better than anyone. My office often receives information from city employees, through phone calls and e-mails, who share their experiences in order to run their departments better. With this important information, the board can improve the way this City operates.

From 2003 to the present, the program has received more than 1,200 suggestions from city employees. One particular example stands out. Rohan Lane, a valued employee in Building Management Services, suggested that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) place forward-facing cameras on Muni vehicles to catch and ticket violators who illegally park in transit-only lanes. After being vetted with the committee, the wheels were set in motion when Assemblywoman Fiona Ma passed enabling legislation in Sacramento. Soon after, Mayor Gavin Newsom and SFMTA announced a 3-month pilot project in San Francisco.

If you are a city employee with suggestions on creating revenues or improving inefficiencies in your department or citywide, please contact Gabriel Cabrera at [email protected] or (415) 554-7787. You may also submit suggestions at the following Web site:

Light Brown Apple Moth
Many San Franciscans have recently become aware of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's plan to eradicate the light brown apple moth. These insects were first discovered in northern California in February 2007 and are thought to attack more than 2,000 different types of plants, many of which have significant economic or ecological value to the region. Since its discovery, nine different counties surrounding the Bay Area have been identified as areas with moth infestations. Plans had been made to eradicate the moths to prevent them from spreading to other counties and states. The primary plan was to aerial spray a mating disruption pheromone.

Many people have expressed concern over the aerial spraying, scheduled to last for five years. In response to public concern, Newsom sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requesting further review of the health impact of the spraying before any action takes place. The mayor's letter requested that the governor sign new legislation into law immediately, which would postpone aerial spraying among other things.

There will be more news to come on this issue. In the mean-time, if you have any questions, please call the Department of Food and Agriculture at (916) 654-0321.

Landmark Tree Ordinance
The Urban Forestry Council says: "The Landmark Tree Ordinance is the City's primary regulatory tool to provide for orderly protection of specified trees that, because of their stature, age or quality (including species or variety distinction), contribute in an extraordinary way to the majesty and distinction of our urban Forest."

The SF Board of Supervisors established the Landmark Tree Ordinance in January 2006, creating a process to protect and preserve old growth, native species and exotic trees to benefit the environment and beautify San Francisco. To date, we have successfully preserved 10 trees citywide.

In March 2008, our office successfully passed amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance. These amendments clarified the process for designating trees, streamlined the deliberative process and clarified the notification process. The amendments will clarify the designation and protection process for landmark trees. This enables our City to continue to protect and preserve some of our oldest "citizens" of San Francisco, our trees. For more information on the criteria for designating a landmark tree, please go to

Jake McGoldrick is a San Francisco supervisor representing District 1.