Saturday, March 25, 2006

Open letter to Matt Drake

Matt:

Somebody needs to make a serious run against Chris Daly in District 6 this year, but, based on the material on your web site, you are not the one to do it. Your whole approach is out of focus, starting with the picture of the city on your issues page taken from Alamo Square, which is in District 5.

* Housing: If you have nothing new or interesting to say on a subject, it's better to say nothing at all. What you've said here is worse than saying nothing at all. Yes, we all know we have a shortage of affordable housing. Most of us also know, however, that there is no easy solution to the problem, since the demand has outstripped the supply for years, which makes even market-rate housing too expensive for everybody except the well-off. The least you can say about housing in SF is that there is no shortage of luxury units for the well-off, which is what your opponent facilitated in the Rincon Hill area---more than 3000 luxury condos in residential highrises. What the Rincon Hill projects are going to do to the city is accelerate gentrification, blight the skyline, and actually prevent a genuine neighborhood from ever evolving in that part of town. This is what you should be talking about, not citing Matt Smith's article in the SF Weekly quibbling about how to spend the fees Daly extracted from the developers to mitigate the unmitigatable. Whether these fees go into the general fund or are spent South of Market St. is beside the point. The damage has already been done by permitting this development in the first place. Smith also supports residential highrises in San Francisco, which is not the sort of housing idea that is going to get you elected in District 6. Besides, Daly already has a lock on the pro-highrise vote.

* The marijuana clubs: This is an issue that you could use to differentiate yourself from Daly, who has allowed 19 marijuana clubs to open up in District 6, an appalling fact that you don't even mention.

* The Power Plants in the southeastern part of the city: This is another safe issue that won't help you get elected. Everyone agrees on this. In fact, it is already happening.

* Trees and solar power: Another non-issue. Everyone agrees on this kind of thing in SF. This is motherhood and apple pie territory. Forget it.

* Treasure Island: Yes, the island is going to be developed. The trick is going to be to not allow it to be overdeveloped, which includes again confronting the residential highrise menace, a bad idea whose time, alas, has evidently come for the city.

* The homeless issue: Again, you have nothing new or interesting to say. To beat Daly, you need to line up clearly with Mayor Newsom on this issue, especially since he is actually doing an excellent job on it. It got him elected mayor in the first place. Daly hates the mayor for that very reason, among others.

You don't even mention Daly anywhere on your website. That's not the way you are going to beat him. Daly's volatile, bullying personal demeanor and his ultra-left rhetorical bullshit have to be confronted directly, along with his stands on specific issues. If you can't do that, you won't have a chance of beating him. He won't hesitate to hammer you personally and politically.

Regards,
Rob Anderson

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