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Monday, November 20, 2006

hit it

The violence at SF High comes right after our cover story last week about the growing violent crime in SF. That story, written by Dan Frosch, was hatched after Dan and I looked through the published and unpublished police reports and saw what looked like a trend. I have lived in SF for nearly two decades, and all this bashing and stabbing of people seems out of the norm, which apparently it is. I think our next story should be looking to see if there are more traffic accidents lately than usual. Because every morning, it seems, I pass some horrific 15-police car situation. Like this morning, on Agua Fria. Still haven't figured out what happened, because I've been a little buried getting this week's paper off the queue.
Meanwhile, looks like another city manager is on her way out. Feels like old times, the council bickering, meeting behind closed doors, trying to get the city manager out. I'm a little surprised Coss is joining the anti-Kepler bandwagon. I was kind of under the impression that she was doing what he wanted her to be doing, and that the fallout on the council was a reflection of that body's dysfunction, but perhaps things are other than what they seem. Here's our interview with Kepler a few weeks ago and last week's story about the audits Kepler has ordered. And here, if you haven't seen it, is Mayor Coss' complete letter asking for Kepler's resignation:

A city that works for all of us will be accomplished through collaboration, cooperation and respect. It will not be achieved by divisiveness, confrontation and turmoil in City Hall.
By this standard, Asenath Kepler is out of step and a bad fit, and for this reason I decided to ask her for her resignation.
I have tried to work with Ms. Kepler through repeated conflicts with councilors and community groups in the hope that things would change, but I will no longer tolerate this behavior and approach in city government.
There is a growing list of employees who have been forced out, councilors she can’t work with, instances of undercutting managers, hastily made decisions without consultation, and conflict at City Hall and in the community.
Our system of city government requires a strong working relationship between the Mayor and City Council. The Mayor can provide effective leadership only if he or she has a city manager who is committed to working collaboratively with the Council, city staff and the community. This relationship has been repeatedly damaged by the actions of Ms. Kepler.
Her approach is sadly exemplified by her refusal to honor my request for her resignation. What began as her desire to serve the city has turned into an increasingly personal crusade that has created unnecessary division and conflict.
It was difficult reaching this decision, but I will not let this city continue toward a path of chaos, confrontation and divisiveness.
Some will say my decision is in reaction to the events of last week – rather last week’s events confirmed my decision. Although not every issue can be resolved without conflict, few issues are so black and white as to warrant the kind of conflict that we’ve seen over these last months.
While the councilors and I do not always agree, we do share substantially the same vision for the city. It is this vision that should guide this city, not the unilateral decisions of an appointed official.
I believe that Ms. Kepler’s approach to management stands in the way of a functioning city government. We cannot do the public’s work under these conditions.