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Not a Minute Too Soon

Jan
7
2004

It’s something of a “holy shit” news day out there, isn’t it?
First off, Phil Matier and Andy Ross come back to The Chron newsroom from their holiday vacation and do some fine reporting. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration but the boys got someone over at Newsom transition HQ to tell them about a very smart and long overdue plan to drag the city’s Building Department into the modern age. It’s a good story and amazingly, The Chron packaged it with a smart sidebar about the ridiculousness that passes for business as usual in City Hall.
The Chron left out the political implications of Newsom’s decision to appoint a special inspector to the department – one who would be encouraged to report abuses to the state attorney general – so scroll down and look at al the back and froth over the “workforce” housing measure. That ballot initiative can’t work unless there’s an honest inspection process. There can’t be an honest inspection process until “expeditors” are kicked out.
But there’s more! Check out Residential Builder Association President Joe O’Donoghue’s comments on The Sentinel site.
O’Donoghue issues what’s called a “non-denial, denial.” What’s that? Remember grammer school? Two negatives equal a positive? A non-denial denial is how smart pols tell some one they’re right, without actually doing so. But it can also be a way to redirect a question, to talk around an issue by expanding the argument. It’s a way to change the subject. That’s what O’Donoghue does.
Here’s what the great man said:
“There’s never been one complaint, not one single item of evidence, that our members have been kicked to the top of the line,’’ O’Donoghue said. “The Department of Building Inspections processes 55,000 applications a year,” noted O’Donoghue, “and our members submit about 300 a year.”
It gets better: “You think that if we were being taken out of line that not one person out of 55,000 would have noticed?,” O’Donoghue asked the Sentinel. “Not one person out of 55,000 would have complained?”
They noticed, Joe. We’ve all noticed. And we’ve complained. But finally, it seems — oh, it’s too much to hope, isn’t it? — someone is listening.

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