The right wing of the left in Bologna---and SF
During the Dec. 8 left-liberal bull session at the last HANC (Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council) meeting, Calvin Welch cited Bologna, Italy, as an example San Francisco should follow. Leftist mythology holds that city in high esteem, because it is allegedly ruled by Communists, or at least Marxists. According to a squib in The Week ("Finally, a Leftist Who's Tough on Crime," Jan. 13, 2006), this is an oversimplification of the politics of Bologna:
Bologna is no longer the poster child for leftist government, said Roman Arens in Frankfurt, Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau. Its mayor may still be a socialist---no other party stands a chance in the left-wing university town---but he's tougher on crime and illegal immigration than any neofascist from Forza Italia. Sergio Cofferati, long nicknamed "the Chinaman" because of his narrow eyes, has recently acquired another moniker: the "red sheriff." His law-and-order tactics ape the "zero tolerance" model of Rudy Giuliani's New York. First, the squeegee guys were banned. Then Gypsy camps were dismantled. And now, Cofferati is sending in the cops to boot deadbeat youths out of the graffiti-covered buildings they've been squatting in. His measures are hugely popular with local citizens, even if the other main political parties in town, the Greens and the Communists, are not on board. This willingness to buck politics and enforce the law is rapidly making him into "an Italian icon"---and someone to keep an eye on.
This is what we need in San Francisco: someone who's on the left on economic issues and on the right on law-and-order and quality-of-life issues, like homelessness, the pot clubs, graffiti (the Singapore Solution), guns, Critical Mass, and dealing drugs on the street. Someone, in short, who represents the right-wing of the left, but he/she will be a Democrat, not a Republican like Guliani. I thought Newsom might be that person, but early indications are that he wants to be liked too much to fill the role properly.
San Francisco is still Waiting for Lefty/Righty.
More on the right-wing of the left.
Labels: Right and Left