Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another lame London Breed interview


Another uninformative interview with our new District 5 Supervisor in the North Panhandle News. Unlike the bloated, 10,000-word online Haighteration interview, NOPNA and Breed had to keep it short because of space limitations in the hard copy of the news.
 
The interviewer starts off with a big, fat softball: "What are your major priorities when you assume office?" Breed's response:

My first priorities are to ensure that our district is safe and to expand job opportunities. I plan to ask Police Chief Greg Suhr to increase staffing in the district based on the needs of citizens most affected by violence, and will push for the creation of a one-stop job center in the Western Addition that should be fully staffed and ready to go within the first 90 days after I take office. During that period, I also plan to hold a District 5 summit meeting, where Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) will be formed to guide me and my staff on the issues our district faces. The purpose of these CACs will be to help me understand the complexities of the issues and find solutions that will have a lasting impact.

She's been running for this office for the better part a year, and she still doesn't know what the issues are? The CAC idea is in effect a cop-out and a punt: Tell me what you want, and I'll do it!
 
The police "staffing" idea is pretty vague. More patrols? How exactly will that help "citizens most affected by violence"? In her response to another question, she claims that "crime is a direct result of lack of opportunity." Well, maybe. To deal with crime, Breed repeats the idea of a job center in the Western Addition. The interviewer doesn't follow up on this. How much will it cost? How many people will staff it? Does she have support from the mayor and other supervisors for that project? Which city department will it be in?
 
"What are your plans regarding the Harding Theater?" (When you have a sentence with "regarding," you need to rewrite it.)
 
Divisadero will not reach its true potential until the Harding Theater is a productive community resource. I’m open to suggestions for how to make that site productive and no longer a blight on the neighborhood. Moreover, whatever development takes place needs to benefit the majority of people in the community.
 
This is campaign blather. There's nothing Breed---or anyone else---can do about the Harding right now. It's private property, and the owners have taken it off the market. Unfortunately, Supervisor Mirkarimi and Christina Olague, when she was on the Planning Commission, prevented the owners from turning the property into housing and commercial space way back in 2005. That wouldn't necessarily have benefited "the majority of people in the community," but it would have removed a neighborhood eyesore.
 
The people in the district who convinced Supervisor Mirkarimi to "save" the Harding never had a realistic plan to do anything with the property, and they never had the money to buy it. They made it impossible for the owners to either develop it or to sell it. It was mindless preservation at its worst, guaranteeing only that the property would continue to blight the middle of Divisadero.
 
The interviewer was careful not to ask Breed about the Fell/Oak bike lane project or the Masonic Avenue bike project, even though NOPNA supports the latter. These are important projects that will remove 270 parking spaces in the neighborhood. Breed supported both projects during the campaign, and it would have been helpful for her to justify removing all that parking in a district that struggles with a chronic shortage of street parking.
 
And why not ask Breed about her predecessor? Would she have voted to allow Mirkarimi to remain as sheriff?
 
The interviewer could have chosen any one of the questions I submitted to the candidates, which of course they all ignored. Instead this interview is nothing but a big smooch on Breed's ass.
 
London Breed is beginning to seem like a windbag. Maybe now that she's actually on the job, she'll cut down on the blather as she deals with the specifics of issues.
 

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