Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tim Redmond: "Trust me..."

It's as if Tim Redmond was trying this week to provide evidence for my recent post on how clueless city progs have been on the homeless issue:

Back in 2003, the race was the progressives against downtown; Tom Ammiano, Matt Gonzalez, and Angela Alioto were competing for the progressive vote, and Newsom was downtown's darling, running on a platform of taking welfare money away from homeless people. The Newsom-Gonzalez runoff was about as clear and stark a choice over political vision as the city could ask for.

Little over a week ago I wrote:

It's telling that [Steve]Jones makes only a fleeting reference to the homeless issue in his long piece, since that is the issue that got Newsom elected mayor. Nor does he mention Care Not Cash, the successful measure Newsom put on the ballot in 2002. The city's progressives---including, of course, the Bay Guardian---so completely botched the homeless issue they rarely even mention it anymore, which is understandable, since homelessness is the only important city issue on which Newsom has had some real success. Better to shut up about it than remind everyone of your failure on the issue.

City progressives botched the homeless issue by operating under the apparent assumption that the homeless were just poor people who couldn't afford housing in San Francisco. After all we live under a wicked capitalist system, so we might as well get used to homelessness. Thus, the "right" of the homeless to live on our streets and in our parks had to be defended against a heartless Newsom, whose Care Not Cash measure in 2002 was passed by city voters clearly fed up with the growing squalor on city streets and in city parks. (for those who weren't around then, see the BeyondChron story that refers to a David Binder January, 2004, poll showing that 61% of city voters thought homelessness was the main issue facing the city. The second issue of great concern to city voters, the schools, polled only 21%.)

A year later, in a campaign during which homelessness was the main issue, Newsom was elected mayor over uber-prog Matt Gonzalez, who blathered about how Care Not Cash doesn't address the "root causes" of homelessness. As it turned out, Care Not Cash was a good beginning in dealing with homelessness, since it ended the self-defeating policy of handing out lump sums to the homeless, in effect helping them remain homeless. Unlike Gavin Newsom, City progs were oblivious to the reality that city voters wanted something done about homelessness.

Angela Alioto, one of Newsom's opponents in 2003, understood how important homelessness was to city voters, and she later joined Newsom by chairing the Ten Year Planning Council, which in 2004 issued a realistic assessment of homelessness in the city, which city progs still consider an act of betrayal by Alioto!

Here's a link for the Controller's report on Care Not Cash.

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