Commentary: Quentin L. Kopp

“Spend and Spend and Spend”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) proclaimed in September 1938: “We are going to spend and spend and spend, and tax and tax and tax, and elect and elect and elect.”  

That characterizes the alluring federal policies of the Biden administration before the 2022 Congressional elections and California’s executive and legislative branch campaigns.  (The latter were lessened considerably in theatrics by the governor’s meticulous rebuff of a proposed recall last month.) Suddenly, however, anti-populist politicians, academics and journalistic savants have decided Article II, sections 13, 14 and 15 of the California Constitution, approved by forebearers in 1914, must be drastically changed to stop recalls of feckless public officials. I would call it “mendaciously neutered.”

While our country’s debt limit allegedly must be increased precedentially to more than $22 trillion to preclude closure of federal departments, Board of Supervisors members find new ways and new objects of government gifts. City Hall established another “feel good” program, dubbed Risk, Intervention, Support, and Enforcement, a.k.a. RISE. While even the left-wing San Francisco Examiner reported increased San Francisco gun violence. City government will bestow residents with proclivity for using guns in criminal activity up to $500 per month to participate in some ridiculous program, beginning with 10 recipients this month and adding 30 shortly thereafter, assertedly to dissuade recipients from using their guns for crime.  

The Human Rights Commission director, Sheryl Davis, has the nerve to state publicly that “$500 in San Francisco is not a significant amount of money,” although perhaps it’ll encourage criminals to secure guns in return for $6,000 of taxpayer money per year. A grant from the California Violence Intervention Program will supposedly subsidize some of the giveaways. We’re told other cities have offered cash to cut gun crimes, such as that paragon of peace, Oakland, and Richmond. The Board of Supervisors president openly proclaims a policy of diversion of law enforcement funding to African American San Franciscans.  By July, approximately twice as many people had been gun violence victims in San Francisco than in either 2019 or 2020. There used to be a pithy saying:  “Commit the crime, do the time.” Now, it will be: “Violate the law and put money in your paw.”

That’s not all at City Hall. Another product of the Carlton B. Goodlett Place standard bearers establishes a new city department to spend $2 million for monthly $1,000 payments to San Francisco’s transgender occupants. The supervisor representing the Tenderloin and Transgender District claims “direct cash assistance can be a very effective program especially for vulnerable groups and … a critical tool in helping us end poverty in San Francisco.”

While our City Hall heroes lavish abundance on chosen recipients, Ohio in July decreased its income tax in the face of the American Rescue Plan enacted by the Congress and President Biden last March and containing $350 billion in state aid, but with a bar to using such money to “either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the (state’s) net tax revenue.”  A federal judge ruled that the provision was unconstitutional as violative of states’ rights and “sovereign powers.” Fourteen other states filed suits in March challenging the tax-cut restrictions. California is spending the aptly named “windfall” (Wall Street Journal). When will we receive a state income tax cut?

Wonder why San Francisco’s Police Department can’t fill its ranks with incoming recruits, and why cops retire, resign or transfer to other cities?  As a July 13 article in City Journal reports, police officers believe they lack public support, elected officials side with protestors, and cops are never protected by public officials and feel punished. Why would anyone want to be a police officer in SF when you’re discriminated against by the Board of Supervisors, Police Commission, Police Accountability Department and Human Rights Department?  Our City Family has themselves to blame, while our homeless population approximates 18,000 and the annual San Francisco budget approaches $14 billion.  Yet, panicked mayors of Portland and Seattle now seek restoration of $15 million and $7.5 million, respectively, to police budgets they slashed last year!  

The recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin will be certified this month for the ballot in early 2022. Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón seeks shorter sentences to further “public safety,” asserting social science support for lessening sentences. It’s almost as if progressive prosecutors seek to make us believe cops and prosecutors represent a larger problem than criminality, according to Jason Riley in the May 19 Wall Street Journal.

Finally, I note California’s attorney general has not prosecuted the woman who assaulted a female signature gatherer on West Portal Avenue one Saturday (June 26) after Boudin referred the charges to the attorney general on grounds of conflict of interest. Crime obviously does pay in San Francisco although maybe we can eliminate one criminal sympathizer after recall signatures are counted later this month. We’ll also have a chance to replace three Board of Education members in a school district which now enrolls for the first time in 90 years fewer than 50,000 pupils.

It’s been said: “Political differences are wholesome. It’s political indifference that hurts.”

Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, member of the SF Ethics Commission and retired judge. Find an archive of Quentin L. Kopp’s columns at

2 replies »

  1. Mr. Kopp, why do you source your information from sources that are known to have a history of bias?

    Ever once think the reason why police officers are difficult to hire has to do with the high cost of living in our city of San Francisco? Because that’s what’s police chief Bill Scott said himself and is what is also cited by the officer’s themselves.

    So my question is: why are you narrowlu framing the situation and completely ignoring the other part of the reason? The other part being equally viable and legitimate if you truly wanted to fairly represent the situation.

    Why are you so narrow-minded and unwilling to consider the big picture, Mr. Kopp? Is your neglect deliberate, or due to an ideological blind-spot? Since you are gifted a forum for your writings, I think you owe an explanation to the citizens who don’t get the same privilege of a public forum why you consistently ignore the other sides of truth and instead focus only on your chosen red herring arguments.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    ““It’s a tough job, and for many officers it’s also long commute to and from work,” Scott said in a recent interview. “If there are opportunities closer to home, people are going to take them.”

    Interviews with officers who have left, or are planning to leave, suggest a combination of reasons are at play. But many cited the frustration of working under Proposition 47, a statewide criminal justice reform measure approved by voters in 2014 that reduced many nonviolent felonies, such as hard drug possession and theft of less than $950, to misdemeanors that can be cited with little or no jail time.

    The high costs of housing, raising a family and taxes in the Bay Area are also big reasons for the exits.

    “I was getting a great paycheck, but 20% went to taxes,” said one former San Francisco officer now working at a police department in Texas who asked not to be named for privacy concerns. “Here I got a bigger house, a more affordable lifestyle and a commute that went from two hours each way to 15 minutes.”

    Peace out.

    ~Gino Napoli


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