Mayor and Board of Supervisors
City of San Francisco
September 9, 2016
Resubmitted July 7, 2018
Subject: Homeless in San Francisco. How They Can Become Part of the Solution
I am writing as a long-time resident of SOMA and someone who worked for many decades with several cities and states around the United States improving the lives of residents.
As we all have, I have watched the homeless problem explode in San Francisco with no one having an approach that benefits all residents including the homeless.
If people who are homeless would like the privilege of living on the streets of our city and benefiting from city services why not treat them as part of the solution and not the problem- Here is how:
-The city registers all people identified as homeless and living on the street.
-Registration gives them the privilege of continuing to take advantage of all the benefits our city has to offer.
-In return, the city provides them with –for example brooms- and they are expected to sweep the streets and sidewalks every day where they choose to live, thus improving conditions for all of us.
-If the homeless can’t comply because of physical, drug related, or mental disability then the city should provide the required medical assistance. If they refuse to comply, the city (and police) should take seriously the next step which would be to not allow anyone to sleep or live on the streets of our once beautiful city who refuses to participate in this program.
I think all of us in San Francisco, or at least residents, taxpayers, and visitors would agree that taking these steps would only improve conditions for all of us.
Date: Sept. 3, 2016
Subject: The 5,000 Year Government Debt Problem
Regarding the Op Ed, The 5,000 -Year Government Debt Problem, as a former bond issuer and a current bond portfolio manager I was encouraged to read that the current bond bubble, long overshadowed by its more sexy counterpart – the stock market bubble- is finally raising a few eyebrows.
Yet my concern goes further than the author of this Op Ed. It goes to the heart of the current Presidential election.
The top holders of US debt, $12.9 trillion of $19 trillion are U.S. citizens and American entities, such as state and local governments, pension funds, mutual funds, and the Federal Reserve. If the Federal Reserve raises rates, the U.S. government that is currently paying historically low interest on the debt it holds will have to pay billions more in interest just to service current debt. Every dollar more paid in debt service is a dollar less available to pay for entitlements, government services, and the military. There are only 2 possible outcomes: A reduction in entitlements, services or security and increased taxes or; reduced government waste and regulations currently inhibiting growth in the U.S. economy and compounding our government’s reliance on debt to fund current expenditures.
No wonder the Federal Reserve doesn’t want to increase rates at least until after the November elections. This delay in the inevitable will leave it the next President and Congress to face the consequences of the biggest bond bubble in history. As for the lame duck President and Congress, they will be all too happy to leave this disaster to the next generation of elected officials in Washington. And to the American people who will pay for the consequences.
San Francisco, CA
It is still an unfortunate fact of life that costs but rarely savings are passed on to the public.
The Philadelphia Inquirer expanded coverage to legislative votes.
The Baltimore City School District Budget Now Includes Columns For Actual Revenues and Expenditures
To The Mayor and City Council
City of Baltimore
I read with interest the article by Mike Bowler in today’s Baltimore Sun about the Baltimore City School District budget. I then reviewed the School District’s budget on the Internet. The problem with the budget and budget book is that there is no comparison of prior year(s) actual revenue and expenditures. Year after year, budgets have been based on and compared to prior year budgets that do not reflect the revenue actually received or the expenditures actually made. By doing this, deficits are compounded year after year and the only outcome is disaster.
I recommend that at least 2 columns be added to the recommended School District budget. These columns should include at least 2 prior years actual expenditures and revenues.
Although I am no longer in municipal finance, over the past 30 years I have “saved” many municipalities, counties and utilities around the country from continuing budget deficits, by making this change.
I hope this suggestion will save Baltimore’s schools and it’s children from at least a small amount of future pain.
Cc: Mike Bowler
Although neither the Mayor nor any City Council person responded, Mike Bowler included my suggestion in a follow up article and responded to me personally as follows putting a smile on my face.
From Mike Bowler-
Thanks so much, and it was good to hear from you. And yes, I well remember you. You were a voice of sanity in City Hall.
Goldsmith currently speaks around the country about how the simple exercise of writing your obituary can change your life and the world.
I wrote my obituary over 3 decades ago. Little did I know it would be the start of a journey I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
I was not one of those fortunate students who wrote under their yearbook photo – My ambition is to be a Lawyer, a Doctor, or the First Woman President. As a 17 year old without financial resources or family support, my ambition was limited by the circumstances of my life. That is until I wrote my obituary.
Where my resume recounted my past, my obituary would set the path for my future.
Where my resume listed the jobs I held, my obituary would chronicle the importance of public service, the opportunities opened by being an entrepreneur and the personal satisfaction of philanthropy.
Where my resume was built on effort and courage, my obituary would give my life purpose and direction.
As I begin my last act on this stage, I follow the path set by my obituary more than thirty years ago. That path continues to provide my life with purpose and direction taken for granted by many and absent from the lives of many more – notably today’s youth caught in a hopeless cycle of poverty or the empty entitlements of the millennial generation. The simple exercise of writing their obituary today could change their lives forever. It did mine.
To D. Murphy
I read with interest your article “Murphy: Why can’t Temple Board See True Cost Of New Stadium? Attached is a letter I sent to the Acting President and the Board of Trustees of Temple last week.It is the most recent in a chain of emails I have sent to the Board of Visitors, the Board of Trustees and the President over the past several years. All my concerns were dismissed without merit but eventually proved true.
I am an alumni of Temple and have endowed 2 scholarships and have established a student aid fund at Temple so I admit a bias on behalf of the students. I also held high level positions in public finance for 30 years before moving into private investment management. While in public finance I was hired several times after grand jury investigations to undo “bad bond deals”. I have seen first hand the cost to the taxpayer, the bond holder (and in this case the students). The winners are the consultants, the contractors (and in this case the concession holders).
I applaud your analysis and can only hope someone is listening.
Goldsmith is waiting for a reply from the Acting President and any member of the Board Of Trustees of Temple University.
Letter to Editor
New York Times
I recently resigned from the College of Liberal Arts Board of Visitors at Temple University. My resignation was prompted by (1) The action by the President with regard to eliminating many high profile sports teams (including baseball, gymnastics and rowing) except for the football team; (2)The action of the President with regard to building a $100 million stadium (not including inevitable cost overruns)and insisting this would be less expensive then paying $1million annual rent and (3) The President’s apparent lack of support of the Provost whose focus was on improving the quality of the students and faculty attracted to Temple University. My concerns fell on deaf ears until this week with the firing of the President.
I now read that the deficit Temple University faces may be greater than the $22 million related to the greatly increased number of students eligible for Merit Scholarships ( actually a good thing in the short and long term for any university). The Board of Trustees should do its duty and call for an independent audit of the finances of the University to determine what the true numbers are so that when interviews begin for a new President, the candidates will know what budget problems they will be facing and the Board of Trustees can determine who the best candidate is to solve those problems.
Ronnyjane Goldsmith, BA, MA, PhD (Temple University)
Letter to New York Times
The CFA Asset Manager Code of Professional Conduct outlines the ethical and professional responsibilities of firms that manage assets on behalf of clients.
What is needed today is an individual investor Bill of Rights that puts forth the expectations of the individual investor with regard to the financial advisor responsible for managing in many cases the life savings of that investor.
On April 8, 2016, the United States Department of Labor released a long awaited fiduciary rule, fully effective January 1, 2018 imposing higher standards on financial advisors. The rule forbids the use of certain investments including annuities, managed account programs and other products within retirement accounts.
More important to the individual investor are the conspicuous loopholes in the rule.
The fiduciary rule: Does not address recommendations made in non-retirement accounts and includes a critical exemption that allows the use of products forbidden in retirement accounts if the client signs a best interest contract.
The fiduciary rule is a boon to class action attorneys and retirement plan sponsors desperate to stem the ever increasing tide of employer sponsored retirement accounts being rolled over into IRA accounts as employees retire.
What the fiduciary rule does not do is protect the individual investor from the irreparable harm that comes from unregulated advice given by advisors motivated by lack of knowledge or greed.
It may come as a surprise that the well-known phrase “first do no harm” is not in the Hippocratic Oath taken by the physician responsible for your physical well-being. Neither is it in any oath taken by the person relied upon to protect your financial well-being, your financial advisor.
In a profession where admission is contingent upon passing a multiple choice exam, buyer beware has unfortunately become the individual investors most important protection, DOL rules notwithstanding.
To date, neither Senator Feinstein, The US Congress or the President has taken any action on this issue to protect the American public.
Email to Senator Feinstein
I sent this email to Senator Feinstein after the Senate yesterday voted against prohibiting the sale of guns to people on the no fly list. I respect that decision since the list is not an indictment. But there is another way to use this information.
To Senator Feinstein: “If prohibiting the sale of guns to people on the no fly list is a denial of due process, why don’t we just require gun sellers to notify authorities when some one on the list buys a gun so they are subject to closer scrutiny by law enforcement and Homeland Security.”
If you agree, please email your Senator as well as Senator Feinstein.