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Cynical Creations

Sep
3
2004

It’s the dog days of summer. The Republican National Convention is dominating the news.
Here’s something you don’t want to miss: Two stories about how private companies, interacting with California government agencies, seem to have, uh, cheated.
The first, from the AP courtesy of The Bee talks about Chevron’s influence on the California Performance Review. The second, from the San Francisco Examiner, tries to find out which bone-head in which San Francisco department let the developer – contrary to the plans approved by the city – tear down more of the structure than permitted.


On the surface, it’s just the usual stuff; Chevron trades money for access to a Republican governor, so what else is new? And the San Francisco planning and building inspection process is a mess. No news there either. This it the third time this year that the city has screwed up this way. It’s issued conflicting permits and findings for a skyscraper project near the TransBay terminal. It’s allowed hearings to be held on the Golden Gateway tennis club site before realizing the developers’ plans appropriated some 40 feet of someone else’s property.
So what do all these things have in common? They’re the reason San Franciscans and Californians hold government in abject contempt. This isn’t a namby pamby sentiment; this state is in full-on meltdown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempts at reform are long overdue. But they will be absolutely nothing if the reform is — as Schwarzenegger’s critics have already charged — an attempt to circumvent enforcement of state law. Mayor Gavin Newsom’s also got the right idea. But his efficient government isn’t going to work either if the system put in place doesn’t function; if the law isn’t upheld. Reform – change – is fine and Democrats in San Francisco and California have got to get used to the idea that the patronage system is dead and about to be buried. People who get goverment jobs are gonna have to work for a living. But every time a developer takes advantage of a bureaucrat and gets away with it, every time a corporate party turns into a back-scratching love fest, a political cynic finds one more reason to cheer. And things stay as they are.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 10:46 AM | Permalink

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