The Vision Thing
H. Brown is a good guy and a jolly drinking companion, in spite of his clinical paranoia---Warren Hellman is out to get him, you know---and his party line progressivism. H. honed an amusing, stand-up persona last year as one of the 22 candidates running to succeed Matt Gonzalez as D5 Supervisor. Reading his latest blog entry (http://www.sfbulldog.com/), you can see that he was in hog-heaven at the party marking the opening of Matt Gonzalez's law office. "What a fucking crowd," as he eloquently put it: Tony Hall, Warren Hinckle and his dog, Alex Clemens, Jerry Brown, Aaron Peskin, Terry Hallinan, Clint and Janet Reilly, Jeff Adachi, Eric Mar, and Dude in Chief himself, Matt Gonzalez. More importantly, free food and drink!
H. makes an unsurprising admission: "I don't actually go to City Hall all that much. Like most political hack writers, I'm mostly drawn to issues that revolve around or promise lots of sex or drugs or violence or greed. The pot club issue had it all." Suspicions confirmed: like most SF progressives, H. cares more about pot than, say, homelessness, now that his own homeless problem has been solved via class enemy Gavin Newsom's Care Not Cash, which he used to knock.
God knows what H. was smoking when he wrote the following, but it must have been laced with a powerful hallucinogen:
Ross Mirkarimi has taken up where Matt Gonzalez left off and is beating Gavin Newsom like a drum. Newsom has no original ideas. He's late to medicinal pot just as he was late to the issue of Gay Marriage. He steals and rewrites. He reacts. All that saves him from looking any more like an utter fool is the fact that the major dailies refuse to credit the orignal sources of all these ideas.
Newsom was late to the gay marriage issue? If anything, he was too far ahead of the curve politically, since the gay marriage issue obviously hurt Democrats in 2004. True, Newsom only showed any concern about the pot clubs when he learned that one was going to open up in a Care Not Cash hotel for ex-addicts and the homeless. The mayor has allowed the clubs to flourish without intervening until now, which has meant lower prices for both patients and potheads in general. So what's the problem? Imagine the howl from H. and the Bay Guardian left if the mayor had shown any interest in regulating the pot clubs before Mirkarimi's initiative!
H. doesn't mention the most important city issue of the last 20 years---homelessness. Newsom has been eating the left's lunch on that issue for several years. It's why he beat the clueless Gonzalez in the race for mayor. One of Matt's ideas that Newsom is unlikely to "steal": that graffiti/tagging is an art form, since the city spent $5 million last year to deal with this "progressive" form of vandalism. The idea that the Greens are political visionaries is laughable. Check out their SF website (http://www.sfgreenparty.org/), and you still find a contribution from cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Not much for the mayor to steal there.
There are also old articles about early court victories for the anti-garage-in-Golden-Gate-park folks but no story about Judge Warren's decision last summer that trashed all the anti-garage arguments, except for the inside-the-park entrance issue. Hallucinogens aside, the truth of the matter is that the city's left is deficient in what old man Bush called "The Vision Thing."
What's the progressive vision for San Francisco? If the Greens and the progressives were completely in charge of the city, there would still be no chain stores in the neighborhoods, but there would be a lot more bike lanes painted and the bike zealots would be even more obnoxious (the board of supervisors is already getting ready to make the Bicycle Plan part of the General Plan), graffiti/tagging would cover our buildings and buses, skateboarders would have the right to share sidewalks with pedestrians---that would be in the General Plan, too---residential highrises would line every major "transit corridor" (like Chris Daly's Rincon Towers), our neighborhoods would be overpopulated/"vibrant" (because We Need Housing), and homeless people would have permanent encampments in Golden Gate Park, because, like, the homeless have rights, too, dudes. I'll take the Democratic Party, thank you very much, over the city's left, which is not anywhere near ready for prime time.
And the assumption that Mayor Newsom is somehow an enemy of the city's left calls for a Freudian---not a political---analysis.