Friday, June 04, 2010

The return of C.W. Nevius

San Francisco Appeal suggested the other day that the return of the prodigal C.W. Nevius from the despised suburbs to Progressive Land would be eased if he became a bike guy, thus ingratiating himself with local progressives. It turns out, however, that Nevius is already something of a cyclist, though probably not the sort that participates in Critical Mass.

But the best thing about C.W. Nevius is that he's never seemed particularly interested in ingratiating himself with anyone, least of all the city's lefties. His offense in the eyes of his critics has been his relentless reporting on homelessness and quality-of-life issues in San Francisco that reveal city progressives as the clueless political tendency that they are. He even went so far as to express some mild skepticism about the city's plans to redesign city streets on behalf of cyclists. Nevius joins yours truly in a special purgatory we share with other critics of the "progressive" left in SF, Ken Garcia of the Examiner and Nevius's Chronicle colleague, Debra Saunders.

Some of Nevius's antagonists greeted his announced return to the City with graceless scorn. "Big twit[back] in big city," groaned Curbed, the real estate blog. Maybe the real estate folks figure his criticism of San Francisco is bad for business. If so they are wrong. Nevius's columns on homelessness have made the city a better place, especially Golden Gate Park.

Jim Herd of Citizen lamented his return by claiming that Nevius's "SF Gate column is a veritable fallacy factory." Herd doesn't offer any specifics for the charge, but the cheap shot is his specialty, not political analysis, and of course he's a bike guy.

Tim Redmond
over at the Guardian sniffs that "Chuck's got some work to do before he starts to understand San Francisco values." But Nevius seems to understand Redmond's "values" very well, and he's appropriately skeptical, especially on homelessness. (Redmond's political values: graffiti as art, the homeless as victims of society, True City Living, and a political approach that sees our politics as the Good Guys versus the Bad Guys.)

Nevius performed another huge public service with yesterday's column on the Democratic County Central Committee, which lately has been an insider game dominated by city progressives. Instead of the usual prog suspects, Nevius proposes some moderate candidates for the Committee that we non-progressives can vote for. In District 12: Bill Fazio, Matthew Tuchow, Mike Sullivan, Arlo Smith, John Shanley, Meagan Levitan, Alex Volberding, Mary Jung, Dan Dunnigan, Ron Dudum, Andrew Clark and Tom Hsieh. In District 13: Keith Baraka, Catherine Stefani, Stuart Smith, Scott Wiener, Calvin Louie, Joe Alioto Veronese, Owen O'Donnell, Linda Richardson, Leslie Katz, Chuck Hornbrook.

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A how-to-screw-up-Masonic Meeting

Citizen's Jim Herd is sounding the alarm over the city's latest move to screw up Masonic Ave.---a neighborhood meeting on June 15. Actually, Herd's concern is that the same people who designed the awful Octavia Blvd. are working on plans for Masonic. It's probably unfair to blame those folks for the perpetual traffic jam that is now Octavia Blvd. Once city voters chose to not replace the earthquake-damaged Central Freeway overpass, something like Octavia Blvd. was probably inevitable. Once the overpass was gone, a lot of the traffic that used to go over Hayes Valley would inevitably end up on the surface streets of the neighborhood.

But what's ominous about the latest move on changing Masonic is the talk about "calming"---that is, slowing down---traffic on Masonic between Geary Blvd. and Fell Street. The traffic-calmers are of course led by the city's bike people, whose goal is always to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in the city.

The Bicycle Coalition tags the June 15 Masonic meeting on their online calendar with the same weasely disclaimer they used to put on their Critical Mass listing: "Events not officially sponsored or organized by the SFBC are marked with an asterisk. We post events that might be of interest to our SF area members; we do not necessarily endorse any particular group or perspective you may find represented here. Contact us with questions."

Of course the SFBC has long wanted to screw up Masonic on behalf of the city's bike people. The problem is---on Masonic and other city streets they want to "calm"---if you slow down traffic on Masonic, you are going to slow down Muni, which on Masonic means slowing down the popular #43 Muni line that now moves well between Haight Street and Geary Blvd.

But the bike people aren't concerned about Muni. They just hate any busy street---a k a, "traffic sewers"---in the city where motor traffic moves well.

And all their talk about the dangers and accidents on Masonic is simply untrue, as the city's own accident numbers show.

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