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Five supervisors have signed onto a Youth Commission-backed effort to repeal Section 484(r) of the Higher Education Act. That 1998 addition to the law restricts federal financial aid to students with drug convictions. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Judiciary Committee is taking up a reauthorization bill for the Office of National Drug Control Policy that includes a rewrite of the financial aid ban,limiting it to students with convictions while enrolled in school. The supes vote on Tuesday whether to ask Feinstein for a full repeal of the law and its punitive approach to “youthful indiscretions.” …

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The Elections Department confirms that Terry Baum will qualify for the November ballot.

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It looks like Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will get a bit of a challenge after all. Terry Baum,a member of the Green Party,now expects to join young Republican Jennifer DePalma,as a contender against Pelosi in November. Baum’s role in the race comes via a write-in campaign,the success of which she plans to announce Tuesday morning at City Hall. Baum,should the Elections Department indeed certify her victory,would be the first third-party write-in since a Black Panther slate did it in 1968,according to Baum’s campaign. Baum,a lesbian,recently challenged Pelosi to officiate a gay marriage,with no response from the congresswoman.

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As Matt Gonzalez’s chain store legislation –including a ban in Hayes Valley –goes forward,the Chamber of Commerce has released a David Binder poll on voter attitude towards chains:

City Voters More Concerned About Jobs than Number of Chain Stores in SF

Results of a San Francisco voter survey,conducted March 6-9,2004,by David Binder Research,show that San Francisco voters strongly feel that the city needs more jobs for its residents and that the local government should do everything possible to encourage new businesses to locate in San Francisco and help improve the tax base. A majority of voters disagree that there are too many chain stores in San Francisco.

The Need for Jobs

San Francisco voters strongly agree that the city needs more jobs for its residents.

“San Francisco needs more jobs for its residents.”

Agree 91%

Disagree 6%

No Opinion3%

Voters were asked if their opinion was strong,and 73% stated they strongly agreed that San Francisco needs more jobs. There were no significant differences by party or demographic group –Democrats,Republicans and Greens alike agree on this issue.

Encouraging New Business

By a margin nearly as strong,voters also agree that local government should do everything possible to encourage new businesses to locate in San Francisco and help improve the tax base.

“Local government should do everything possible to encourage new businesses to locate in San Francisco and help improve the tax base.”

Agree 84%

Disagree 12%

No Opinion4%

Sixty percent of city voters strongly agree with this statement. Opinion does not differ by political party,although Republicans and Democrats agree by a stronger margin than independents and minor party voters (91% of Republicans agree,as do 85% of Democrats,73% of Green and other minor party voters,and 79% of independents.)

Chain Stores

A majority of San Francisco voters disagree that there are too many chain stores in the city.

“There are too many chain stores in San Francisco.”

Agree 40%

Disagree 51%

No Opinion9%

By an average margin of 54% to 35%,a majority of independents,Democrats and Republicans disagree that there are too many chain stores. However,Green Party and other minor party voters agree that there are too many chain stores (63% agree,30% disagree.)

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Rachel Gordon,the Chronicle’s top City Hall reporter assigned to the Mayor Newsom beat,is barred from covering the same-sex marriage issue after marrying her partner,Liz Mangelsdorf,a Chronicle photographer. Read Chron Executive Editor Phil Bronstein’s staff memo here at Stanford’s “Grade the News”.

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Today’s column:“Mary”is still angry,and November fundraising starts early.

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In Friday’s column:BOS Committee assignments,Bill Jones and the Triple-I luncheon.

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COURT:STOP AND SHOW CAUSE

California Supreme Court Takes Action in Same-Sex Marriage Cases (court press release)

San Francisco-At a conference today,the California Supreme Court took action in two pending cases that challenge the continuing issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the City and County of San Francisco. (Lockyer v. City &County of S.F.,S122923,and Lewis v. Alfaro,S122865.)

By a unanimous vote,the seven-justice court issued an “order to show cause”in each case that directs San Francisco officials to demonstrate why they have not exceeded their authority by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the basis of their own view that the existing marriage statutes are unconstitutional,before any court has issued a judicial determination on that issue.

The order to show cause is specifically limited to this legal question,and does not include the substantive constitutional challenge to the California marriage statutes themselves. The court indicated that that constitutional issue may be litigated separately in another case that may be filed in superior court.

California’s top court will decide the legal issue involving the authority of local officials after further briefing and oral argument,which will be held during one of the court’s regularly scheduled calendar sessions in either late May or June 2004. The court’s late May calendar will be held during the week of Monday,May 24,in San Francisco,and the June calendar will held June 1-2 in Los Angeles.

California Chief Justice Ronald M. George signed the order,along with Associate Justices Joyce L. Kennard,Marvin R. Baxter,Kathryn M. Werdegar,Ming W. Chin,Janice R. Brown,and Carlos R. Moreno.

The court’s order also provides the following:

§ Interim stay of same-sex marriages:The order directs San Francisco officials,while the cases are pending before the Supreme Court,to enforce the current marriage statutes without regard to the officials’personal view of the constitutionality of such provisions and to refrain from issuing marriage licenses or certificates not authorized by such provisions. Essentially,this is an interim stay of same-sex marriages,directing the city not to perform such marriages while the cases are pending before the court.

§ Stay of proceedings in pending cases:The order stays all proceedings in the two related cases (now consolidated) that are currently pending before the Superior Court of San Francisco.

§ Constitutional challenge:At the same time,the order expressly states that “[t]his stay does not preclude the filing of a separate action in superior court raising a substantive constitutional challenge to the current marriage statutes.”

§ Deadline for return brief:In an original writ proceeding,once the court issues an order to show cause,the next step is for the respondents in the case to file a “return”brief. Today’s order directs San Francisco officials to file the return on or before Thursday,March 18,2004.

§ Legal question to be addressed in return brief:The order specifies that the return should be limited to the legal question of whether San Francisco officials are exceeding or acting outside the scope of their authority in refusing to enforce the existing statutory limitations in the marriage statutes in the absence of a judicial determination that such provisions are unconstitutional. The order also states that in addressing this issue,the officials should discuss not only article III,section 3.5 of the California Constitution (the main authority relied upon by the Attorney General in Lockyer and by the petitioners in Lewis) “but any other constitutional or statutory provision or doctrine that may be relevant to the resolution of the foregoing issue.”

§ Deadline for reply brief:After the return brief is filed by the City and County of San Francisco,the petitioners (represented in the separate cases by the Attorney General’s Office and the Alliance Defense Fund) are directed to file a “reply”brief. The order states that a reply is to be filed on or before Thursday,March 25,2004.

§ Amicus briefs:The order states that anyone who wants to submit an amicus curiae brief (a “friend-of-the-court”brief) may apply to file such a brief,accompanied by the proposed brief,on or before Thursday,March 25,2004.

§ Replies to amicus briefs:Finally,the order provides that any reply to an amicus curiae brief may be filed on or before Monday,March 29,2004.

§ Filing of opinion:California’s Constitution requires the court to file its written opinion deciding the cases within 90 days after they are taken under submission following the oral arguments that will take place during the last week of May or the first week of June.

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Newsom’s homeless 10-year plan council:

Anne Kronenberg,Local Homeless Coordinating Board

Anne Marks,Writer

Arthur Jackson,Jackson Employment Agency

Bobby Jones,Business Leader

Bok Pon,Cathay Post #384,American Legion

Brian Cahill,Catholic Charities

Carol Lamont,San Francisco Foundation

Cassandra Benjamin,Schwab Foundation

Chip Connelly,Founder,Joie de Vivre Hospitality

Chris Cunnie,Walden House

Chris Daly,Member,Board of Supervisors

Daryl Higashi,Director,Mayor’s Office of Housing

David Heller,President,Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants

Ed Jew,Chinese Community Leader

Dr. Francis Brinkin,Founder,Raphael House

Fred Martin,Professor,University of California,Berkeley

Gayle Orr-Smith,former Deputy Mayor of Public Safety

George Wesolek,Director,Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns

Father John Hardin,Executive Director,St. Anthony Foundation

John Hutar,Hotel Council Representative

Lauren Hall,Corporation for Supportive Housing

Leon Winston,Local Homeless Coordinating Board

Mel Beetle,Homeless Advocate

Mike De Nunzio,Member,Aging and Adult Services Commission

Dr. Pablo Stewart,Chief of Psychiatry,Haight Ashbury Free Clinics,Inc.

Pamela Berman,Small Business Owner

Ramon Romero,President,San Francisco Redevelopment Commission

Dr. Richard Kunin,Nutrition-Physician

Dr. Robert Okin,Chair,Psychiatry Department,San Francisco General Hospital

Paul Boden,Coalition on Homelessness

Ruth Dewson,Small Business Owner

Steve Fields,Progress Foundation

Suzanne Giraudo,PhD,Children’s Therapy

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Late Monday,Mayor Gavin Newsom was putting finishing touches on a slate of new high-profile commission appointments.

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