Monday, July 10, 2006

Tim Redmond: Crackpot

In this week's SF Bay Guardian, Executive Editor Tim Redmond tells us what we already know: "Just about everybody in the 'respectable' news media is going to call Sup. Chris Daly's latest charter amendment a crackpot idea, so I might as well join the crackpots right now. I think it's wonderful."

Of course you do, Tim. We expected nothing more. But you joined the crackpot faction of SF politics a long time ago, when you endorsed graffiti/tagging, which the city spends millions of dollars trying to deal with: "I've always liked graffiti...I've never seen much point in the city using its scarce resources to try to crack down on this sort of 'vandalism': this is a big city, and unauthorized public art is part of big city life, and at its best, it gives the city a nice flavor."

Whenever a small business or someone's house is tagged, the city should send you around to explain why the vandalism is all for the best and gives their property a "nice flavor."

Another fringe lefty, Marc Salomon, likes the idea, too (in italics below), as he explains in a letter responding to Garcia's column last week mocking Daly and urging him to run for mayor. True, Garcia pinned some derogatory labels on Supervisor Daly, calling him a "manchild, who is given to temper tantrums, gamesmanship and legislative flights of fancy." That's just an accurate description of Daly's performace thus far as a supervisor.

But Garcia raises the central question about the dilemma that confronts city progressives in next year's mayoral election: Who can they possibly run against Mayor Newsom? The only half-way plausible candidate rumored so far is Board President Aaron Peskin, but he falls way short of meeting leftist standards for ideological purity: "The so-called progressives need to find somebody to run against Newsom, particularly someone who isn't afraid to come out swinging...Daly would be dynamite in so many ways. So forget the chat group. This is his chance to shout from the biggest bully-pulpit in town."

Garcia---and every other political writer in town---would love to see Daly run; it would give everyone a lot of material! Still, the question-and-answer idea is a bad one, especially coming from a supervisor who has bragged about not talking to the mayor. It would be nothing more than a dog-and-pony show, which is the last thing we need from our political leadership.

Talking to the mayor (Letter to SF Examiner, July 10, 2006)

If Ken Garcia didn’t have Chris Daly to kick around, he’d have to invent him (“Daly needs bigger forum than Q and A for issues with Newsom,” July 6). Parroting the Newsom line word for word, Garcia dismisses Daly’s charter amendment with ad hominem attacks.

The proposed formal policy discussion would be between the holder of the office of the mayor and sitting supervisors, not between Daly and Newsom, and would be televised.

While any supervisor can walk down the hall and meet privately with the mayor, average citizens cannot. We elect supervisors to oversee the executive branch. When the executive balks at explaining himself publicly, the public’s right to know evaporates.

I would like to hear Mayor Newsom explain his administration’s delivery of services, such as health care, street cleanliness, police protection, transportation and education to San Franciscans. Perhaps if such matters were raised formally, publicly and on television, we might see government function more for our needs than for Newsom’s corporate base.

Marc Salomon

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