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San Francisco’s mayor suggested the district attorney should get seven more positions for the witness protection program run by her office as part of the $5.73 billion citywide budget he proposed Wednesday for the coming fiscal year. That staff increase approaches the 10 positions District Attorney Kamala Harris had been requesting, up until about a month ago. Yet it remains a far cry from the much more ambitious numbers � 14 investigators and three victim advocates � that she urgently requested in early May after the fatal shooting of a program participant. In fact, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s suggested funding wouldn’t even cover the seven investigators Harris said she reassigned to the program from elsewhere in her office just days after the killing of witness Terrell Rollins last month. “The DA is committed to finding ways to sustain the resources that have been dedicated to the program,” said Bilen Mesfin, a spokeswoman for Harris. The office is still reviewing the mayor’s $37 million proposal, she said, but overall it appears to be a “solid step.” The mayor went out of his way during his speech to appear understanding of the district attorney’s situation. Harris had “made a strong case” for more positions and he’d included some, Newsom said, but “it’s never enough. And I appreciate that.” Then he added a comment that seemed directed at a recent column in the San Francisco Chronicle that reported on a “chill” between the mayor and the district attorney. “We are, by the way, working very close together on witness protection,” he said. The city’s fight against crime figured somewhat prominently Wednesday: Newsom held the unveiling at a local police academy with a class of about 40 recruits conspicuously in attendance. And in his 80-minute speech, the mayor noted the prior day’s shooting of an 11-year-old boy nearby. He’s proposing the city hire 250 new police officers next year. Like the district attorney, Public Defender Jeff Adachi would get some, but not all, of what he requested. Though a suggested $21.3 million budget would allow Adachi to create the homicide unit he’s been asking for since last year, before the mayor’s speech the public defender said that accounts for only about one-third of the personnel he wanted this year. But in what might have been a comment on the public defender’s budget savvy, Newsom noted during his speech that he wouldn’t be surprised if Adachi manages to persuade the supervisors to give him one or two more people before they approve the final budget. City Attorney Dennis Herrera expressed satisfaction with the $60.3 million budget suggested for his office. That proposal was in line with what the city attorney requested, spokesman Matt Dorsey said, and in Herrera’s case would more adequately cover current services rather than fund new ones.

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