Tim Redmond's priorities
The Guardian's Tim Redmond has some wishes for the new year (below in italics):
"I would like to see the new progressives on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors make open government a real priority; I would like to stop having to fight to get even routine information out of City Hall."
If this is so important, why haven't the old progressives on the BOS---Redmond's long-time political allies---made this a priority? Exactly what information, routine or otherwise, does Redmond really need from City Hall? This is an issue that city progs waste a lot of time and energy on---see also Kimo Crossman's piece in this week's Guardian---the notion that city government is systematically hiding crucial information or that meetings and hearings are going unobserved and/or unrecorded, with dire consequences for democracy here in Progressive Land.
City agencies can be bad about providing information, but with all important city meetings now broadcast on SFGTV, is a lack of information really a significant obstacle to intelligent politics or commentary? I don't believe it, since information on the important issues I've been writing about for four years on this blog is readily available online. Has a lack of information prevented Redmond and the Guardian from writing intelligently about the destructive, aggressively pro-development policies endorsed by city progressives? (Rincon Hill, the Market/Octavia Plan, UC's ripoff of the old extension property, etc.) Nope, since the Guardian had only the feeblest objection to Rincon Hill and, in their scant coverage of the M/O Plan and UC's massive housing project on lower Haight Street, they've concluded, contrary to available information, that those two destructive projects get a pass because they are about affordable housing.
Only the recession is slowing down the Planning Department's determination to overdevelop city neighborhoods, which is being pushed through the process by Mayor Newsom with crucial help from progs on the Board of Supervisors, while the political editor of the Guardian worries about a non-issue like open government.
And the preposterous obsession city progs have with screwing up city traffic on behalf of a small minority of cyclists has nothing to do with a lack of information, since all the information detailing exactly what they plan to do----in the recently issued draft environmental impact report on the Bicycle Plan---is available online. Funny but bike guy Redmond and Guardian reporter Steve Jones, also a bike guy, haven't written anything about the DEIR yet. True, neither have I, but I'm working my way through that bloated, poorly-written document and will report on it here soon.
"I would like to see the California Legislature and US Congress raise the gas tax enough to bring the price to about $3 a gallon, making sure SUVs remain unattractive forever."
Right. Even though we don't know where the bottom of the current recession/depression is yet and low gas prices are the only positive thing happening in the economy, let's double the price of gas and punish the few people left that have jobs and cars.
"I would like Anchor Steam to start making a light beer."
If he means "lite" beer, this would qualify as the worst idea of the year if back in January Supervisor Mirkarimi hadn't already proposed doing away with the traffic underpass at Fillmore and Geary. But it's not clear whether Redmond means "lite" or simply a lager. Odd that he thought it important enough to include in his wish list but didn't bother to make that clear.
"I would like the San Francisco police to stop turning immigrants over to the feds."
But isn't SF still a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants? Note that Redmond doesn't say "illegal" immigrants, as if city cops were randomly stopping suspected immigrants on the street and turning them over to immigration. What about illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, like the recently deported crack dealers? Okay with Redmond that they be given a pass, presumably, though some clarification on this issue too is in order.
"I would like some really rich person to die and leave $20 million for a public power campaign so that for once we could match Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s money and have a fair fight."
That is, the only reason city voters have rejected public power eleven (11) times is because that wicked PG and E has outspent the Good Guys every time it was on the ballot, the implication being that city voters are stupid and easily manipulated on the issue. An alternative explanation: city voters don't want to turn over the city's power system to an already bloated city government so that it can create another bureaucracy full of feather-bedding city workers.
In the hope of a 2009 we can all be proud of, here are some things I would like to see other people do
By Tim Redmond
I was going to do New Year's resolutions this week. I got started: turn the cell phone volume down when the kids are in the car and Aaron Peskin is on the line. ("That man sure does like to use the f-word when he talks about PG&E," my nine-year old noted this fall.) Stop shouting "Yo, asshole!" when cars come too close to my bicycle. (I know I can be way more creative and foul-mouthed than that.) Return Gavin Newsom's phone calls. (Hey, the poor guy must be lonely.)
But really, it's not all about me.
So instead, in honor of the end of the Bush Years and in the hope of a 2009 we can all be proud of, here are some things I would like to see other people do:
I would like to see the California Legislature and US Congress raise the gas tax enough to bring the price to about $3 a gallon, making sure SUVs remain unattractive forever.
I would like to see the new progressives on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors make open government a real priority; I would like to stop having to fight to get even routine information out of City Hall. I would like everyone in public office to read Bob Herbert's column in Dec. 27's The New York Times and understand that one reason FDR was successful with the New Deal was that he understood the importance of restoring faith in government; transparency, accountability, and oversight were a central part of the package.
I would like Anchor Steam to start making a light beer.
I would like someone to get Wi-fi installed at City Hall.
I would like Gavin Newsom to stop hiding behind Nathan Ballard.
I would like the right lane of the stretch of I-80 near Lake Tahoe repaved so those of us with small cars don't get bounced up and down like ping pong balls.
I would like the federal drinking age lowered to 18.
I would like everyone to stop talking about the death of newspapers and stop pretending that blogs and citizen journalism can ever replace full-time trained reporters.
I would like the San Francisco police to stop turning immigrants over to the feds.
I would like the executive editor of Village Voice Media to shave his head, move to Tibet, become a monk, and accept the karmic implications of the way he's lived his life.
I would like the state to tax the millionaires instead of the college students.
I would like some really rich person to die and leave $20 million for a public power campaign so that for once we could match Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s money and have a fair fight.
I would like Barack Obama to appoint Arnold Schwarzenegger ambassador to some meaningless country so we can have a new governor.
I would like Newsom to liquidate his personal fortune and use the money to pay rent and grocery bills for the front-line city workers he's laying off.
I would like the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco to quit the gay-hating.
I would like all my fellow dog owners to clean up the poo on the sidewalk.
I would like to be able to ride high-speed rail to Los Angeles before I start collecting Social Security.
Happy New Year.
Wednesday December 31, 2008