Commentary

Privatization? No. Grocery bag tax? Smoking ban? Now youíre talking.

“Heavy-hitter” business leaders have had it with how San Francisco operates. They’ve suggested a bunch of reforms, including competitive contracting for government services:

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said Thursday that there are some ideas he could support, such as revamping comp time and lifetime health benefits rules, but he shook his head at others. “Privatizing city services,” he said, “that’s not going to happen.”

So the politicos don’t like privatization. What do they like?

— Becoming the first city to slap a tax on grocery bags.
— Passing the nation’s most stringent outdoor smoking ban.

So we have the for-your-own-good nanny statism that’s embedded in any smoking ban, but in this case we get an extra strong dose of junk science, and the oh-so-common “for the children” reference:

“Secondhand smoke outdoors is just as dangerous (as indoors),” said Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who said she drafted the law out of concern for the environment and children.

Seems to run in the family:

She is following in the footsteps of her aunt, former Supervisor Angela Alioto, who in 1993 wrote the ordinance prohibiting smoking in workplaces, restaurants and public arenas in San Francisco.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.