Saturday, September 17, 2005

Another elephant in the room

Bill Barnes has a letter in this week's SF Weekly that shows how determined the city's progressives are to avoid discussing the wisdom of Chris Daly's Rincon Hill projects. Defending Daly and attacking Roger Gordon, Barnes is upset that Matt Smith used Gordon as a source in his hit-piece on his former boss. Nowhere in his letter does Barnes discuss whether the Rincon Hill projects---highrise condos for the rich---are good housing policy. Other progressives are more concerned about how to divide up the $58 million in loot Daly extracted from developers. Jim Meko, a SoMa activist, seems to think that the main thing is stopping Supervisor McGoldrick from taking any of the development fees away from SoMa.

Thus there's a new political elephant on the SF stage, as Rincon Hill (3675 new housing units, according to Meko) joins homelessness as another major issue to be carefully ignored by progressives. Getting a new bathroom for the Panhandle is getting more attention and analysis from the city's left than the significance of Rincon Hill.

BeyondChron's Randy Shaw, in his recent articles defending Chris Daly and analyzing Gavin Newsom's effect on SF politics ("Newsom's Double Standard," Aug. 23 and "How Newsom is Realigning San Francisco Politics," Sept. 6), is doing his part. Nowhere in his two pieces on Mayor Newsom and city politics is homelessness or Care Not Cash even mentioned. It must have been a challenge for Shaw: How can I write about Gavin Newsom's political career without mentioning homelessness in San Francisco, the issue that got him elected mayor? And how can I write about Rincon Hill without discussing whether encouraging highrise condos for the wealthy is good for the city? It was a challenge Shaw successfully met.

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