San Francisco supervisors will hash out the remaining details of the city’s $6.6 billion budget over the next week, postponing a vote at today’s board meeting until next Tuesday.
A deal reached earlier this month between supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom included $43.7 million in changes to Newsom’s budget, which some supervisors felt unfairly cut the budgets of health and human services departments in favor of the police, fire and sheriff’s departments.
Supervisor John Avalos, the Budget and Finance Committee chair, touted today an “unprecedented amount” of savings to health and human services, recreation and park services, and homeless programs, as well as the prevention of privatization of custodial and security services.
“Having said that, this budget is by no means perfect,” he said, adding that it was unable to prevent hundreds of other layoffs, and that recreation and park services were “still decimated.”
Avalos further warned of possible state budget cuts.
“We are still in the eye of the storm,” he said. “The crisis at the state level is going to rain down on our heads.”
Avalos said there would be an effort in the next week to “close up some of the gaps that remain” in the budget.
One of those gaps includes a $1.6 million budget shortfall to the city’s Office of the Public Defender, tasked with representing some 29,000 people each year who cannot afford their own attorney, according to Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who took his cause to City Hall today.
Adachi said the cuts could force him to lay off seven of his attorneys and turn over cases to private attorneys. He said the board’s recent restoration of $300,000 to his office is not enough, and he’s hoping for another $1.2 million.
Adachi may have support this week from Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who indicated today the budget could “possibly” be amended in the coming days to provide more funding for the public defender.
“If you’re asking me if I think the public defender’s budget should be enhanced, the answer is yes,” Mirkarimi said.