Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Book of Jobs


By Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, this article is the best thing I've read about both the current recession and the cause of the Great Depression:

by Joseph Stiglitz
Vanity Fair
January, 2012

Forget monetary policy. Re-examining the cause of the Great Depression—the revolution in agriculture that threw millions out of work—the author argues that the U.S. is now facing and must manage a similar shift in the “real” economy, from industry to service, or risk a tragic replay of 80 years ago.

The Murk's farewell message


I won't have Ross Mirkarimi to kick around any more, although, as he notes in his farewell message below, he's not going far! In todays' Chronicle Rachel Gordon calls him "wonkish." Wikipedia defines a policy wonk as a "person who studies or develops strategies and policies, especially one who has a keen interest in and aptitude for technical details." That's the problem with San Francisco progressivism: Mirkarimi is its idea of a policy wonk. As Gordon also reports, the Murk's real talent is his use of the language, which is why I gave him a Nikita Award a few years back. 

The Murk was also known for his opportunism in abandoning the Green Party, covering up that betrayal with some classic flab-gab. And for his revolutionary rhetoric at the hot-air festival called the Peoples Populist Party convention---whatever happened to that project?---and his support for the martyred Josh Wolf, who, to hear local lefties tell it, was plucked off the streets of San Francisco because he was a national security threat to the Bush Administration.

On every major issue facing District 5 and San Francisco, Mirkarimi supported policies that actually harm the city. Those policies---like surrendering the Extension property on lower Haight Street to a predatory UC, and the Market and Octavia Plan that will overdevelop the middle of the city, including a cluster of high-rises at Market and Van Ness---will continue to damage the city for years to come.

With the Murk's departure, the Bicycle Coalition will have to find a new errand boy on the Board of Supervisors, but David Chiu is eager fill that role.

The Murk leaves us with some new Rossisms in his farewell message: "Our District is one of the most diverse, nonlinear demarcated districts in the city." As opposed to unhip, linear districts, like District One and those districts that have yet to be "demarcated"? Ross looks fondly back on the "centrifugal force of neighborhood activism that caused us to reconcile important competing considerations." And he will doubtless still be "bettering" the city as our sheriff, where he will face different challenges---make that "nuanced" challenges. 

Dear Friends,

This will be my last newsletter as District 5 Supervisor. It’s hard to summon seven years of memories in this brief note, so come celebrate with us at our last holiday City Hall office party on Friday, December 16, 5:00 to 7:30 PM.

I want to take this opportunity to express my immense appreciation to my past and present office staff who blazed the journey with me, remaining focused on the job at hand while performing simultaneous constituent and legislative acts on a daily basis. The greater the challenge, the better they did. A conventional work day was rare. Often, work followed staff home---I’m grateful to the family and friends who supported their efforts while they gave it their all.

Thank you also to the fleet of amazing volunteers and interns who did everything from mundane clerical tasks, to delving into complicated or controversial projects. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing from former interns who parlayed their positive experience with us into a vocation that truly inspires them.

Most importantly, I want to thank the people of San Francisco and District 5. Our District is one of the most diverse, nonlinear demarcated districts in the city. The range of challenges was often nuanced depending on the specific neighborhood, but they all embodied the fusion of big urban demands with village interests. And I loved that because it was the centrifugal force of neighborhood activism that caused us to reconcile important competing considerations, no matter the issue big or small. Thank you to the volunteer-driven dedicated network of neighborhood groups and its leaders for their commitment to bettering one of the most majestic cities in the world.

I will be sworn in as San Francisco’s next Sheriff on January 8th.

Happy Holidays.

Yours truly,
Ross Mirkarimi

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