Wednesday, October 03, 2012

SFGovTV Airs
Entertainment Meetings, Not Homeless Board

The many forms of entertainment this fantastic city has to offer are big drivers of the local economy, and thousands of people are employed in this industry. We are wise to have a panel overseeing it.

Everything from parking and alcohol permits at clubs to private security and law enforcement come before the Entertainment Commission,which meets at City Hall at a convenient hour and their proceedings are broadcast on SFGovTV.
I laud the commission for its commitment to transparency especially via SFGovTV, because if you can't attend a meeting you can watch dozens of them at your convenience here.

This form of public engagement gives every citizen the ability to keep tabs on the commission and lots of concerns for both the entertainment industry and neighbors near clubs and other venues. That engagement goes far in keeping tensions low when controversies about noise or gunfire associated with clubs flare up.

Why is it City Hall for years has mandated the Entertainment Commission meet under the dome and that their hearings are broadcast on and archived at SFGovTV, but the Local Homeless Coordinating Board escapes such transparency?

We all see the hundreds of homeless folks hanging out or living on the streets, know that millions of dollars are spent on sheltering and feeding the homeless and transients, and wonder what are we getting for all the money spent. Answers should be coming from the LHCB. The board must do more to provide everyone with answers about city programs and dollars, using the city's broadcasting and streaming platforms.

The head of Mayor Ed Lee's two-person homeless office, Bevan Dufty, sent this response addressing my transparency concerns with the board and his office:

I will report back on what I learn from SFGovTV and broadcasting LHCB and HOPE [mayor's homeless office] over the next few days. I will also identify the timetable, near-term, for a public forum along the lines you discussed at LHCB.

My suggestion was that Dufty, who's been on the city's payroll as homeless czar since February, has had plenty of time to being holding regular public forums of his own. He's been around City Hall since he served as Mayor Willie Brown's director of neighborhood services, and he's not known during that job nor as supervisor for eight years for hosting public forums.

That needs to change and pronto, too, if he's going to be a serious leader on helping the homeless and taxpayers figure out effective solutions to the growing homeless population in San Francisco.

The same transparency standard that puts Entertainment Commission meetings on SFGovTV is the same standard that must immediately be met by the homeless board. 

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