Supe’s push against “phantom budget” doomed; Chief: It’s Pointless Anyway

Those blessed with good memories may recall that before Christmas — yes, way back in 2009 — police Chief George Gascn weighed in on legislation that would have required the San Francisco Police Department to disclose exactly how much it spends on providing bodyguard services for city elected officials, and which would have made said officials pay the city back for any money spent bodyguarding when campaigning out of state (we taxpayers would still foot the bill to send cops to, say, weddings in Montana or conferences in Davos).

Gascn’s take: it stinks, it’s dangerous, and perhaps worst of all, it would make dignitaries think twice before either traveling out of state or taking radical policy stances. What’s more, it was unnecessary: Gascn’s new SFPD is happy to tell you how much it spends on bodyguard services — $2.1 million over the last fiscal year. Details beyond that are scant, meaning it’s still a “ghost budget — a phantom bugdet,” according to the legislation’s author, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

On Tuesday, the legislation was effectively killed and the ghost, uh, resurrected. The full Board of Supervisors voted 7-3 to approve the legislation, but eight votes are needed to override the inevitable Mayoral veto. (Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, a staunch mayoral ally and ironclad “no” vote, was absent Tuesday).

Good riddance anyway, Gascn said.

“It’s bad legislation,” Gascn said after exiting the meeting. “I agree that the issue of disclosure was there (under police Chief Heather Fong’s tenure), but it’s not there now.

I know folks who would have been traveling without security (under the new law), just because they didn’t want the controversy.”

The Appeal isn’t sure to whom Gascn is referring, and the Chief didn’t offer a clarification before disappearing into the City Hall elevator. We do know that at least one local candidate — Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose push for mayor in 2011 is underway — voted against the legislation.

We’ll check in with him and update once we get a spare moment in this meeting.

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