Commentary: Quentin L. Kopp

Good Riddance 2021

By Quentin Kopp

In this new year, many Americans are no longer celebrate the arrival of it – they are celebrate survival of the old year! 

San Franciscans have much to forget about 2021, with the advent of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, further federal court criminal actions for City Hall corruption by a superb, enlightened United States Attorney, recall plagues for the Board of Education members and a strident, dystopian district attorney. Speaking of “fighting” District Attorney Chesa Boudin, voters can confront and recall him on June 7, 2022.  

I confess an error in last month’s column: I stated supervisors were paid by taxpayers $140,000 annually. I overlooked their obtaining $160,000 annually as of this month, plus fees for attending meetings of various Bay Area multi-county governmental districts, like Air Quality Maintenance District.

These are the people who encourage illegal aliens indirectly by enacting an ordinance which allows supposedly legal immigrants to vote in the school district recall election Feb. 15, 2022. Evidently, they want to emulate New York’s City Council and its fatuous departed mayor, Bill de Blasio, who approved a bill to enable about 800,000 non-citizens to vote in New York City elections, in face of the state constitution guaranteeing only citizens the right to vote, “provided that such citizen is 18 years of age” and a New York City resident for 30 days.  As a protesting city councilman warned, that enabled “a transient,” who’s “coming in for the duration of [a] job or … project and going back to their home country,” to vote. Those who argue that legal immigrants pay taxes disregard the fact that second home-owners in Sonoma County and international students also pay taxes but can’t vote.  

Another New York councilman, also a Democrat, observed that non-citizens can’t hold public office, meaning “they’re good enough to vote for mayor but not be the mayor.” Granting non-citizens voting franchise sounds like our supervisors. (Our Board of Education members confronting recall must figure aliens can vote for them but don’t have a chance to run against them.)

I discovered last month another heuristic Charter amendment (2008) which requires appointees to the 129 city commissions “to reflect the diversity of San Francisco in ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and types of disability.” The Commission on the Status of Women must conduct an analysis of all appointments “in the second and fourth year of each mayoral term” to enforce such law. Fortunately, the law only requires “voluntary disclosures” of ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and any other relevant “demographic qualities.” Appointed last summer to a commission, I refused to engage in identity politics, consistent with the teachings of an immigrant father who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France (1917-1918) and later on the American Mission to Armenia (1919) investigating genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Gone, apparently is the “melting pot.” Capability certainly isn’t the controlling factor.

Despite City Hall corruption, our Board of Supervisors ignores the civic need to end Recology’s garbage monopoly, enshrined by a 1932 ordinance approved by voters as part of Charter revision. Approximately a year has passed with a minor refund of rate overcharges by Recology caught by the most competent and most trustworthy City Hall officeholder, our Controller Ben Rosenfield who rendered on April 14, 2021, a report highlighting the monopoly’s highest rates in California. A study committee was created initially by Supervisor Aaron Peskin to secure “expert opinion” on future trash collection or “best practices,” the current lexicon (whenever politicians want to avoid action, they create “study” committees). Last fall, to its credit The Examiner published two pieces, including an editorial which understandably pronounced an “urgent need for reform” of garbage disposal. The Chronicle couldn’t care less. Recology continues to be the only private business empowered by a Board of Supervisors ordinance which can place liens on a homeowner or business property for nonpayment or even late payment of charges. A genuinely dedicated Board of Supervisors would place on the June, 2022 ballot a measure to repeal the 1932 monopoly ordinance and compel competitive bidding, which is why all San Mateo County cities pay less than our property owners for garbage collection, even half thereof in some cities. 

Finally, I’m delighted to report that on Jan. 3, founders of the Common Sense Party, a new California political party of which I’m a co-founder, has submitted to the California Secretary of State more than 60,000 voter registrations.  Certification by the secretary of state requires 56,000 registrations.  She has until Jan. 24 to certify the new party for participation in the June 7, 2022 primary elections statewide and locally. After certification, of which I’m confident, I’ll summarize next month the party’s principles of fiscal discipline and social liberalism.

No wonder Ralph Waldo Emerson declared in 1929: “Of all debts, men are least willing to pay their taxes.”  Next month we may get our money’s worth with three new Board of Education members! 

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

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