Sunday, July 06, 2014

C.W. Nevius's imaginary "far left"



God bless San Francisco's far-left activists. I'm serious. They are vocal, passionate and involved. They don't grant free passes to any person or any proposal. They ensure that there are no unexamined policies at City Hall. At their best, they serve as the conscience of the city. Until they don't know when to stop.

Who is he talking about? There is no such left---"far" or otherwise---in San Francisco. He cites only Supervisor Campos and Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness. They represent the city's "far left"? 

Campos is a mainstream liberal Democrat. And maybe he's forgotten, but Nevius wrote about Friedenbach (If you want to help the homeless, just say yes) back in 2007, when, in an early column about Laura's Law, he correctly labelled her organization as obstructionist on everything the city has done to deal with homelessness:

The San Francisco Homeless Coalition told me last week that they would not consent to any more interviews. I asked them to reconsider, but I knew what their answer would be. They said no.

In a column on Laura's Law a month before that, Nevius encountered what then-Mayor Newsom called "institutional resistance" to Laura's law from City Hall and city departments. Maybe Mayor Newsom was reluctant to take on a new homeless fight then, since he was still struggling to implement Care Not Cash and other programs to deal with homelessness, like supportive housing, Homeward Bound, Project Homeless Connect.

Now that other counties in the state have shown that Laura's Law can work, there's a consensus in the city that we should give it a chance here.

Far from doing any serious examination of the city's homeless programs, what passes for a political left in San Francisco has always been bad on the issue. In fact it was the Chronicle, not the leftist Bay Guardian, that did the best job of describing the city's homeless problem in Kevin Fagan's Shame of the City series back in 2003.

The Bay Guardian pronounced Care Not Cash a failure only a few months after it went into effect, which I wrote about in one of my first posts in 2004. Chris Daly declared Care Not Cash a "war" on the poor before it had a chance to take effect, as did Tim Redmond. The Guardian sniped at Mayor Newsom on the homeless issue, but it never did any in-depth reporting on the programs he put in place to deal with the problem.

Before this Nevius mistakenly gave city progressives credit on the homeless issue when they deserved none.

Nevius compounds his inaccurate description of the city's left with this:

This isn't the first time the activists have let their ideological fervor carry them away. At the hearing to decide whether to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after domestic abuse accusations, zealots who supported the sheriff booed and hissed at representatives from groups standing up for victims of domestic violence. It was ugly and indefensible.

It may have been ugly---I wasn't there---but booing the domestic violence zealots was/is defensible, since they put up billboards against Mirkarimi long before the legal process had done its thing. Besides, the domestic violence community is part of the left.

Not to mention the fact that many of those opposing the political lynch mob hounding Mirkarimi were not left-wing "activists"---they were people like me, for example. I've been Mirkarimi's harshest critic over the years, but I found the attempt to destroy him for what was only an argument with his wife that got out of control shockingly wrong-headed---"ugly and indefensible."

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11 Comments:

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If NIMBYs like you Rob would stop getting in the way of new housing constuction we wouldn't have such a terrible homeless problem.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Where specifically have I been "in the way" of new housing construction? I unsuccessfully opposed the Parkmerced, Treasure Island, Market/Octavia, and UC projects because they are all way to big and will lead to more traffic congestion, since they don't include serious traffic plans to deal with all those new residents.

Besides, it's not really about housing for most of the homeless, most of whom suffer from mental health and/or substance abuse problems.

But you've succinctly parroted the dumb, failed "progressive" line on homelessness---that it's about poor people who can't afford housing in San Francisco.

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I unsuccessfully opposed the Parkmerced, Treasure Island, Market/Octavia, and UC projects because they are all way to big and will lead to more traffic congestion"

how do u think more dense cities get around this problem??

 
At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Rob. I live in Western SOMA and now longer call people "homeless"...they are street people and there by choice. They are heavy into drugs or drinking and those that are not are very very mentally ill. The Street People will never go to a shelter at night because they cannot drink or do drugs there. Rather they roam the streets and where they go so do the drug sellers. Add the violence that sellers bring with their turf battles and street people bring real tangible problems.

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

New housing construction isn't going to do anything to solving the homeless problem. If we make it easy to be homeless in this town we will forever have infinite supply. I'm not sure how to solve the problem when homeless is an unrestricted, unregulated number. If we could stop the number from growing, we could get a handle on how to take care of them. As long as it's growing, it's a fools errand to try to take care of them all. It will never work. Not with soup kitchens, and damn sure not with "affordable housing", that regular people with 40 hour a week jobs will have trouble affording. Giving developers the keys to the city is not the way to address our problems.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"how do u think more dense cities get around this problem??"

By not deliberately making it worse with massive development projects like those I listed above.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By not deliberately making it worse with massive development projects like those I listed above."

so like paris and new york city and london and the other big cities that are more dense shouldnt have built all those buildings??

 
At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so like Paris and New York city and London and the other big cities that are more dense shouldn't have built all those buildings"

^^^Why do some San Franciscans love to ONLY compare S.F. to those cities when we could not be more the opposite. We are part of a large sprawling region with less density than the Los Angeles area, and less public transit too.
I could see comparing us to Boston, but at least Boston does not have fantasies of becoming the next Manhattan or London.

There is nothing European about One Rincon or some of the ugly stucco residential boxes going up on Market.

Why can't more housing be built closer to where the jobs are, which is the Peninsula and South Bay.

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, New York and Paris are horribly congested. No one goes there anymore, they are just too crowded.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

Actually, Haussmann's modernization of Paris dispersed the population, widened and extended the streets and made the city more beautiful. Compare that to San Francisco's plan to become the city of bulb-outs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haussmann%27s_renovation_of_Paris

 
At 7:22 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"There is nothing European about One Rincon or some of the ugly stucco residential boxes going up on Market."

Yes, the We Need Housing movement has morphed into what the Planning Dept. calls "smart growth," "dense development" along "transit corridors." Not surprisingly developers love this trendy theory, since not providing parking spaces for all those new residents makes housing development more profitable.

"Why can't more housing be built closer to where the jobs are, which is the Peninsula and South Bay?"

Good question. Why don't the suburbs start building residential highrises? Because they have the same problems San Francisco has: more housing means more traffic, and public transportation is nowhere near adequate.

Note that the folks in Larkspur just rejected a huge housing development proposed for Larkspur Landing.

We need to be a lot more careful about development in San Francisco, and we need to invest correspondingly in Muni to deal with the traffic impact of these huge developments at Treasure Island, Parkmerced, Market/Octavia, the UC project on lower Haight, etc.

Instead, we're redesigning city streets on behalf of cyclists to make it harder and more expensive to drive in San Francisco, taking away parking and traffic lanes to make bike lanes for a small minority that has an effective lobbying organization.

 

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