[Hpn] SF Supervisors OK Daly's alternative to Prop. N

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Wed, 09 Jul 2003 08:30:46 -0700

Supervisors OK Daly's alternative to Prop. N

Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
©2003 San Francisco Chronicle

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/09/BA301209.DTL

A divided San Francisco Board of Supervisors did an end-run around
Supervisor Gavin Newsom's Care Not Cash legislation by giving initial
approval Tuesday to an alternative welfare reform proposal that would make
it harder to take cash aid away from homeless people.

On a 6-4 vote, the board approved Supervisor Chris Daly's proposal to cut a
person's city welfare aid only if "real" housing -- not just a shelter bed
-- is available. The Care Not Cash proposal relied heavily on the use of
homeless shelters as a trigger for cutting aid.

Daly noted that, at least initially, far fewer people would have their aid
cut under his proposal because residential hotel rooms and other forms of
low- cost housing are not readily available.

"We're not going to see quick action, but we're going to see thoughtful
action," said Daly.

He predicted 300 or so people would be affected by his measure at the onset.

There are now about 2,400 homeless people in the city's welfare program.

Newsom, a candidate for mayor who has few solid allies on the board, was
vacationing this week in Mexico. His Care Not Cash proposal, which also was
scheduled for a vote Tuesday, was put over for a week at the request of
Newsom's staff. 

The Care Not Cash measure would slash city welfare payments from as much as
$395 a month for many of the city's homeless to $59 and also offer them
shelter, food and other city services. Daly's would reduce the cash grant by
the same amount, but not if the housing is merely a shelter bed.

A final vote on Daly's version is scheduled for next week, but the drama
could continue to unfold if Mayor Willie Brown vetoes the bill -- a
possibility his staff left open Tuesday. If that happens, Daly would have to
sway at least two more supervisors in order to override the veto.

San Francisco voters approved the Care Not Cash measure last fall with
almost 60 percent support. A Superior Court judge, however, struck down key
components of the measure, saying that only the supervisors -- not the
electorate -- could set welfare standards. City Attorney Dennis Herrera
appealed the decision, keeping Care Not Cash alive. Meanwhile, Newsom,
following the judge's edict, submitted the plan to the board. Right now, he
can count on just five favorable votes -- one shy of what's needed.

Homeless advocates fought vigorously against Care Not Cash and also decried
Daly's version on the grounds that they don't think homeless people should
lose their monetary benefits regardless of what services they receive. But
Daly, a vocal Care Not Cash critic, and others on the board who backed
Daly's alternative said voters had made clear that they wanted to revamp the
welfare system. 

"Before you is a chance to uphold the will of the voters and to do the right
thing," Daly told his colleagues before the vote.

Daly's alternative, said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, put the "true care" into
Care Not Cash. 

Voting with Daly and Maxwell in favor of the bill were Supervisors Fiona Ma,

Aaron Peskin, Gerardo Sandoval and Tom Ammiano. Opposed were Supervisors
Bevan Dufty, Matt Gonzalez, Tony Hall and Jake McGoldrick.

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

©2003 San Francisco Chronicle

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chance martin, Project Coordinator
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