SF Supes Act Like United Nations

Proclamations on foreign policy are not off-limits to local politicans.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Is this San Francisco's business -- commenting and making declarations about international incidents?

    Most local politicians may devote their waking hours to filling potholes -- but then again, most local politicians are not the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

    From genocide in Darfur to the human-rights record of China, from Northern Ireland to southern Sudan and Iraq, Afghanistan and in between, the local body politic finds time to sound off on a host of national and international issues, the San Francisco Examiner observes.

    The Board makes its feelings known via nonbinding resolutions, which are typically nothing more than a summation of facts and a statement urging change. These take little time to craft and little time to "pass" at Board -- usually a brief discussion and brief vote during meetings that can last half a day -- but nonetheless rankle some observers who feel the Board's time is better spent elsewhere. As in anywhere elsewhere.

    On Tuesday, for example, the Board passed a resolution authored by Sup. John Avalos, the mayoral runner-up to Ed Lee. Avalos asked the federal government to cut military spending and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resolution passed the Board by an 8-3 vote.

    Sup. Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina, said it's time wasted. Avalos pointed out that federal cash has been slashed from local transportation, health care and other budgets only to be spent overseas on soldiering.

    But even some critics of the Board's tendency to opine large admit that it can have an impact. Remember apartheid? American firms stopped investing in South Africa due to its racist policies after public pressure was applied, "and San Francisco was a leader in that," pointed out political consultant Jim Ross.