Saturday, October 08, 2005

Supervisor Mirkarimi supports Critical Mass

Ross:

"Gratuitous statements"? One man's gratuitous statement is another's salient point. You'll have to refresh my memory with some specifics. Ditto for the charge that I was "caught modifying" what you said in another message. I don't believe it's true. You did indeed give an answer of sorts to the Critical Mass question last year, but I'm not aware of any statements you've made on Rincon Hill or graffiti/tagging. Anyhow, thanks for the "recap."
 
"Critical Mass gets my support because of the attention they've brought in influencing the City to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly."
 
This is an overly abstract and inadequate account of what Critical Mass really represents. (Hard to believe that the cyclists who have tried to run me out of crosswalks care much about the welfare of pedestrians.) When you support Critical Mass, you support an event that involves deliberately breaking the city's traffic laws on the last Friday of every month. And of course Critical Mass is scheduled during rush hour on Friday afternoons to cause maximum disruption for working people trying to get home after a long week of work. How exactly does this make the city "more bicycle and pedestrian friendly"? What Critical Mass really represents is a recruiting tool for the Bicycle Coalition, which gave you its sole endorsement last year during the campaign. It would be interesting to know, too, what fiscal impact Critical Mass has on the city's budget: How much overtime does the city pay the police to patrol the event?
 
"The Rincon Hill deal was mayoral-driven---Supervisor Daly leveraged the deal to negotiate benefits back into his district---it seemed like a fine deal considering the evidence of the project's adverse impacts to the neighborhood and to the lower income and working class residents."
 
"A fine deal"? The question is, why not avoid massive "adverse impacts" by opposing such grotesquely large projects in the first place? "Mayoral driven"? You mean it's all Mayor Newsom's fault? Daly could/should have opposed these huge projects in the beginning. Instead, he seems to think he was pretty slick getting $58 million in development fees for selling out his district to allow more than 3000 highrise condos for the rich. You should have voted against it, too. Development fees notwithstanding, allowing a huge luxury housing development seems like a rather indirect way to help "lower income and working class residents."
 
"Regarding graffiti, the city isn't doing enough and I am not a big fan of the law that requires private property owners to eradicate the graffiti since arrests of taggers are few, but, since this is the current reality, one of the best ways to remedy graffiti, is to address it through community---I've helped catalyze two new neighborhood groups where we have community clean-ups scheduled."
 
Organizing clean-up groups---worthwhile as that may be---is locking the barn door after the horses are gone. And I bet the law requiring property owners to do the clean-up is rarely enforced. It's just a small stick to prod property owners in the right direction. But you're right: In principle it punishes the victims and not the perps. The city is now paying $5 million a year to clean up city property for the damage caused by these punks. If, as you say, the city is not "doing enough," do you support beefing up the city's anti-tagging effort, arresting more taggers, and raising the penalty for those convicted? Part of the problem is that a segment of the progressive community---including your predecessor, Matt Gonzalez---thinks that tagging is art, an enabling attitude that encourages vandals to continue defacing city property.

We need to send a clear message to "the spray-can community": If we catch you vandalizing San Francisco, we will prosecute you and max out the penalty after we convict you.

Rob,

Regarding your note, I've answered your questions both in person and by email and in front of audiences where you were present. On a number of occasions I have replied to your emails where we've had some constructive exchanges, and then on other occasions you've sent emails making gratuitous statements. And then there is another occasion where you were caught modifying my reply to someone else. I'll briefly recap: Critical Mass gets my support because of the attention they've brought in influencing the City to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The Rincon Hill deal was mayoral-driven---Supervisor Daly leveraged the deal to negotiate benefits back into his district---it seemed like a fine deal considering the evidence of the project's adverse impacts to the neighborhood and to the lower income and working class residents. Regarding graffiti, the city isn't doing enough and I am not a big fan of the law that requires private property owners to eradicate the graffiti since arrests of taggers are few, but, since this is the current reality, one of the best ways to remedy graffiti, is to address it through community---I've helped catalyze two new neighborhood groups where we have community clean-ups scheduled.
Why don't you join us tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:00 AM at the 500 Block of Haight.

Best,
Ross Mirkarimi
 
Subject: Concern for the Neighborhood
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005

Dear Ms. Murray,
 
I take great pride in attending to constituent needs and I do so in person or by direct contact. In your note, you mention another Supervisor for sending out an email regarding the Fillmore Ski event, but you failed to mention that it was an automated email message---Since I require myself and my office to respond in kind to direct emails or calls, I haven't resorted to automated email messaging; many politicians routinely reply with generic answers, I don't. This is a course of action that I'd prefer as a last resort. Since I retain constituent emails, I checked to see what emails were sent to me by you and to see if any went unanswered---they were all answered. In fact, my email exchange with you, Joan Downey, Tys Sniffen, and Martin Macintyre, resulted in a meeting in my office nearly two months ago concerning the Recreation and Parks Department event and sound policies in Golden Gate Park and at Sharon Meadows. Subsequent of our meeting I indicated how I am attempting to amend City code reflective of our discussion and more, including sanctions against scofflaw event sponsors---this is a legislative work in progress. It is my objective to effectuate a thoughtful and swift remedy or action when a constituent calls, no matter the subject---I am open to suggestions in how to improve our response system. Please don't hesitate to contact me or my staff for anything.

Best,
Ross Mirkarimi

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