Supervisor Jake McGoldrick: New Equipment Helps City

In 2006, I introduced legislation to help enforce regulation of parking station owners by setting forth requirements for parking "revenue control equipment" (RCE), equipment that aids in the issuance and tracking of parking receipts.

While most parking operators had RCE, there were no procedures in place for the treasurer (the city's tax collector) to ensure compliance with the law. There were also many parking lot operators who charged consumers without proper receipts, leading to possible discrepancies in what was paid to the City.

My concern was two-fold. I wanted to make sure that San Francisco's drivers were protected when they parked in the City, and paying what they should be paying. I also wanted to make sure the City was collecting the correct amount of tax owed.

With a great team from the office of Treasurer Jose Cisneros and other city departments, and a dedicated volunteer from my office, Lani Batiste, we put together legislation that specified the type of equipment needed for each type of parking lot, created a proper procedure to assist with consumer protection, revenue tracking and collection, and addressed the need to survey the City for current information on the number of parking facilities. The ordinance became effective in October 2006, and has been collecting revenue since.

All parking lot operators who had not previously reported or paid tax on San Francisco parking operations were invited to participate in an amnesty program in order to pay taxes owed without legal reprisal. The program, which lasted between November 2006 and May 2007, yielded $1.13 million from 18 parking operators.

Further amnesty payments are projected to be more than a quarter-million dollars and we are now sure these operators are "on the books."

The survey of parking lots was completed by April 2007, as a committee from the treasurer's office surveyed a total of 508 active commercial parking facilities in San Francisco. The team found 19 active facilities that had not previously registered with the treasurer's office and updated information that will help the City keep tabs on enforcement.

The ordinance also requires each lot to post notification for consumers regarding the receipt requirements at every vehicle entrance and payment location. The signs direct consumers to a hotline for concerns about an operator's compliance with the ordinance. The calls from consumers in 2007 alone helped the treasurer's team issue notices of violation in more than 116 cases.

I am so pleased that this legislation has helped the City collect what was owed, while simultaneously protecting consumers from possible scams.

Hearing on Report on Mayor's Staff Changes
You may have heard about the report I asked the SF Board of Supervisors' budget analyst to prepare regarding the budgetary impact of the mayor's staff changes.

The Board of Supervisors depends upon the budget analyst for independent numbers and analysis, in order to make well-informed decisions on policy. The information had previously been available in scattered bits and pieces, and I asked for the report in order to have the whole picture.

I was concerned with some of Budget Analyst Harvey Rose's findings, which detailed questionable sources of funds for the mayor's senior staff positions. I hope for clarity on this matter and subsequent transparency in the budgeting process. I want to engage in an earnest discussion of the policy implications of charging different city departments for mayor's staff, especially in light of the mayor's recent call for budget cuts in other department budgets.

I have called for a hearing on the findings of the report, which will be held on Thursday, February 28, 1 p.m., at the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee.

Save the Date for the Richmond Health Festival
You are invited to the fourth annual Richmond Community Health Festival along with hosts California State Sen. Leland Y. Yee and myself.

The purpose of the free health festival is to encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide access to resources that help meet the health needs of our diverse community. This year's event will be at the Richmond Recreation Center, on Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees will find a variety of health screenings and access to various community-based health-care organizations.

In addition, there will be workshops, entertainment, fun and games for children, raffles and more. Call our office for more information or if you want to get involved.

Jake McGoldrick is a San Francisco supervisor representing District 1.