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Quick-to-fight Nevin picks wrong target

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  • 6/28 SF Chronicle
    Published Friday, June 28, 2002, in the San Francisco Chronicle Quick-to-fight Nevin picks wrong target By Mark Simon For the past several years, San Mateo
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2002
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      Published Friday, June 28, 2002, in the San Francisco Chronicle

      Quick-to-fight Nevin picks wrong target

      By Mark Simon

      For the past several years, San Mateo County officials have been
      agonizingly reluctant to respond to San Francisco affronts --
      territorial, political or economic.

      So, there was some measure of satisfaction in observing a news
      conference last week led by Supervisor Mike Nevin calling San
      Francisco on the carpet for cutting $5 million out of the budget of
      the bureau that has been lobbying for new runways at San Francisco
      International Airport.

      San Francisco Supervisors on Monday approved Aaron Peskin's proposal
      to set aside the $5 million from the budget of the Airfield
      Development Bureau, which has been "working" on the runways for
      months. The bureau can ask again for the money, but it has to prove it
      will be used for a legitimate, scientific purpose.

      Nevin, joined by Millbrae Mayor Marc Hershman, Burlingame Mayor Joe
      Galligan, South San Francisco Mayor Gene Mullin and San Bruno Mayor
      Larry Franzella, railed against the budget cuts, saying that they
      spelled the end to the meetings between Airfield Bureau officials and
      community "stakeholders" -- those interests who have a stake in
      whether the runways are developed.

      An aggressive Nevin said it was an example of San Mateo County's
      interests being held hostage to political infighting in San Francisco.

      San Mateo County has a determining vote on whether the runways will be
      approved, and Nevin said the proposal by Peskin would in effect keep
      Peninsula officials in the dark.

      "They're ignoring us and they're making a big mistake, because without
      us they won't be successful," said Galligan.

      Unfortunately, as much as Nevin's rush to the barricades should be
      encouraged, it appears he's picking a fight with the wrong enemy.

      First of all, Peskin's cuts won't take effect until next year.

      Second, it was Airfield Bureau officials who used the $5 million cut
      as an excuse to cancel the stakeholder meetings.

      That's no guarantee they needed to make the cuts. How much does it
      cost to hold a meeting, for goodness sake?

      The point is that it's the Airfield Bureau who's shutting down the
      stakeholders process, not San Francisco supervisors. Bureau officials
      are simply using Peskin's budget cut as an excuse to take their
      pro-runway efforts underground and out of public scrutiny.

      They want to stop a closed process, without discussion or dissent,
      which is the same approach they've been taking to winning approval of
      the runways.

      And that ought to be the target of Nevin's remarks.

      He should be growing increasingly suspicious of the Airfield Bureau
      officials -- suspicious enough to start formulating a strategy for
      stopping the runway expansion.


      Mark Simon can be reached at (650) 299-8071, by fax at (650) 299-9208,
      or e-mail at msimon@.... Write him c/o The Chronicle,
      Press Room, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063.
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