Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jennifer Friedenbach now in the city "family"

Photo by Lea Suzuki for the SF Chronicle

If you hang around long enough in San Francisco, the media will eventually legitimize you or your organization. The Chronicle's soft-focus profile of Jennifer Friedenbach and the Coalition on Homelessness is the latest example, and the story was by Kevin Fagan, of all people, who did the fine Shame of the City series on homelessness in San Francisco back in 2003. Fagan's  homeless series was largely descriptive, but C.W. Nevius picked up the issue and wrote about the political and policy implications, much to the anger of the city's left and Friedenbach.

Fagan gives Friedenbach too much credit, since for years she---and Paul Boden before her---and the coalition opposed everything the city has tried to do to deal with the growing squalor on our streets and in our parks:

"The outside world tends to think that we're just a reactionary organization, but we see the coalition as a place where people---and that mostly means homeless people---can come and create change," said Jennifer Friedenbach, the 46-year-old director of the coalition. "And I'd say we've done quite a bit to help create solutions."

Maybe it's different now, but Friedenbach was zealously obstructionist in the past. As Gavin Newsom left office as Mayor of San Francisco, the Chronicle acknowledged how successful his homeless policies had been in moving more than 12,000 homeless people off the streets of the city:

Outgoing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has moved more homeless people into supportive housing in his seven years in office than any other mayor in the city's history---and has one of the best track records of any mayor in the country on that score..."In terms of housing homeless people, he probably has the best record of any mayor in the history of the United States," said Randy Shaw, who runs the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and operates many of Newsom's hotels for formerly homeless people.

Jennifer Friedenbach's estimate of Newsom's achievement? "He's promoted hatred against homeless people."

Friedenbach on Newsom's Community Justice Court, which has been a success in dealing with quality-of-life problems:  "He's made it clear that all along he's been wanting to criminalize homeless people."

And Friedenbach on sit-lie: "It's just this big power grab by the mayor."

Odd, by the way, that Fagan's piece on the Coalition on Homelessness appears the day before a front-page article in the Chronicle on a young woman who's applying on a daily basis the idea behind Newsom's successful Project Homeless Connect program.

City progressives have accepted Friedenbach's extreme views on the city's homeless policies, which have reinforced the left's mythology on homelessness in San Francisco.

Chris Daly consistently had a similarly simplistic view of Newsom and homelessness, here and here.

And Tim Redmond, political editor of the Bay Guardian, maintains the left's delusional perspective on Care Not Cash and the homeless issue.


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