Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Chronicle endorses Thea Selby

Unlike Rizzo, Thea Selby has never been elected to anything, though she ran an unsuccessful happy-talk campaign for the Board of Supervisors two years ago.

Earlier this year, Selby clambered aboard the Train to Nowhere when she was appointed to the board of directors of the High Speed Rail boondoggle.

Selby has now been endorsed by the Chronicle for a seat on the City College's board of trustees:

Selby, a small-business owner, has won backing from moderate groups that signal she will be an independent. She’s a quick study, expanding her expertise from transit issues and service on the state’s high-speed rail board.

Selby's only "expertise" is in self-promotion, though so far she's only been appointed to positions, including to the "executive board" of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, an anti-car front group set up by Tom Radulovich. From SFTRU's website: "We are a fiscally-sponsored project of Livable City, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization."

Aside from endorsing whatever the Bicycle Coalition wants to do to our streets, there's no evidence that Selby has any expertise on transportation issues. She made this dumb proposal in her Bicycle Coalition questionnaire two years ago:

Recreational and commuter cyclists have different needs and pose different considerations on roads. I’d encourage mandatory education for tourists visiting the city and biking around.

The first sentence is simply untrue. Whether you're commuting on a bike or riding for fun, cyclists all have the same "needs" and face the same dangers on city streets. The idea of imposing some kind of bike "education" on tourists---and making them pay for it!---is just dumb, a complete non-starter on every level.

Selby provided this bit of wisdom among other truisms in a remarkably empty response to a Chronicle questionnaire two years ago: "The expansion of parking meters makes sense, as they provide much needed revenue for the City." This will qualify Selby for her next appointment---to the MTA's board of directors.

One way to promote yourself is to start an organization that you can use to that end:

As founder and President of the Lower Haight Merchant and Neighbor Association I worked hard to “activate” the previously abandoned UC Extension site at 55 Laguna St. This meant bringing together various members of the community, including Upper Playground and local artists. We transformed the blighted building into a spectacular canvas for public art. 55 Laguna is now under development and outside the official lines of District 5, but I’ll continue to grow the relationships that were built during the process of the mural in order to ensure that the needs of our neighborhood are met.

To hear Selby tell it, allowing UC to rip off the old extension property on lower Haight Street is all about the garish "art" that was on the property's wall at Laguna and Haight. Never mind that the property had been zoned for "public use" for 150 years before the city allowed UC to stop providing college courses for working people and instead turn the property into a housing development to fatten its bottom line. Still waiting for Selby to explain how allowing UC to cash in on property it had tax-free for fifty years and adding 1,000 new residents to an already densely-populated neighborhood "ensures the needs" of the neighborhood.

From Selby's website:

Last Friday, Superior Court Judge Karnow rejected ACCJC's request to reject City Attorney Dennis Herrera's lawsuit against ACCJC. The finding was not an easy one to follow, but it boils down to this: Judge Karnow is holding the door open to the possibility that the ACCJC acted in a biased, politically-motivated way to unfairly and without proper process shut down City College. He wants to review the evidence in a trial October 27th, and, if he finds merit, he could overrule the revocation of accreditation.

Well, did the commission act in a "biased, politically-motivated way"? Selby doesn't mention it, but there's plenty of evidence of mismanagement at City College. The Chronicle apparently wants to put another "clueless" trustee on the board.

Selby not only played a role in helping to install the garish "art" at Laguna and Haight, she led the effort to make the "silly bunny" eyesore permanent, raising money to make a ten-foot bronze version to be installed in District 5. Voters in the district should get a chance to vote on and reject the idea of this permanent public eyesore.

Before it went belly-up, the Bay Guardian showed why it won't be missed by echoing the Chronicle's endorsement of Selby:

Thea Selby is a neighborhood and small business advocate. While she's not as leftist as we'd like, she was a solid candidate when she ran for District 5 supervisor in 2012, and she's a solid candidate now. She chairs the San Francisco Transit Riders union, which has taken many progressive stances on transportation, and backed them up by going toe to toe with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors. With her business background comes endorsements from many moderates, including DCCC Chair Mary Jung, which worries us. But she has the experience necessary to navigate that difficult political landscape, earning our endorsement.

Selby wasn't "solid" in 2012, and nothing she has said or done since makes her a serious candidate for anything important.

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At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether you're commuting on a bike or riding for fun, cyclists all have the same "needs"

For fun - I need a hill.
For commuting - I need a flat road.


At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

A pink bunny with a death mask coming out of its mouth is actually a fitting symbol for the PC agenda: light and fluffy on the outside, pernicious on the inside. As a ten-foot idol, it would be the perfect New Age update of Moloch.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, good point. But they should mount it on a bike and stick a burrito in its mouth.

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Typical of these types, looks like they scammed this image from Renee French's 'Plan 9' bunny: Glenda

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union is one of those fake SFBC organizations, just like Livable City made up of people who don't even ride SF transit; the big SFTRU honcho Mario Tanev "transits" on a Google bus daily down to Mountain View so has no idea what San Francisco transit riders endure, he's forty miles away. And once back for the few hours he's actually in his suburban bedroom community he rides a bike instead of a Muni bus.

He's like most of these kind (obviously including Thea Shelby), they love the diversity of San Francisco, they just don't want to sit next to any of them on a bus.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Mario said...


When Rob critiques someone, at least I can see a thought process that inputs facts and transforms them into an unrecognizable monster. For example, even though Rob ran for supervisor without any qualifications, he now critiques Thea for the same. It's a very easy critique to make to any beginning politician.

Your critique is mostly just wrong information.

1. I am no SFTRU honcho. My only SFTRU achievement is leading the all-door boarding campaign, which was something that motivated me in my personal experience in riding Muni. SFTRU has an executive board and some very active members (to which Rob alluded to) that actually work hard to advocate for riders.
2. I ride Muni significantly more often than I ride a bike.
3. I am indeed an off-peak Muni rider (evenings/weekends), and while I am spared the heaviest overcrowding, I endure the worst headway issues (exacerbated by missed runs and untimely transfers). A lot of riders ride off-peak and I think I represent their experience well.
4. I mostly stand on Muni because there is someone more deserving of a seat than me. I sit/stand next to anyone on the bus.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

When I first ran for District 5 Supervisor, I tried---and failed---to get the other "progressive" candidates---including Matt Gonzalez, who won that year---interested in doing something about homelessness, at the time the most important issue in the city, about which city progs were essentially doing nothing, except for political theater, with Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers.

A few years later, then-Supervisor Newsom, got Care Not Cash on the ballot and was elected mayor the next year in an election primarily about the homeless issue. Apparently my interest in homelessness was premature.

When I ran against Mirkarimi in 2008, it was again an issue-based campaign, as you can see from this transcription of the political contents of the doorhanger I used that year.

There's nothing comparable about Selby's issue-lite campaign. When she ran for supervisor two years ago, she either explicitly or implicitly supported every important City Hall policy on traffic and development.

There's no such thing as being "qualified" to run for office, but at the very least you need to have some serious ideas about city policies. Selby is raising money and waging an energetic campaign for the City College board, but it has no serious political or policy substance. It's as if she's still in high school running for class president. Like a lot of candidates for public office, she's ambitious without having any serious ideas about public policy.

Selby seems to think there's been some great injustice about how the accrediting commission has treated City College, but the reality is that City College, like the MTA and other city institutions, has been functioning more as a jobs program, a gravy train for those fortunate to get a job there. That's what the commission found, and that's the reality that Judge Karnow has to deal with the hearing is held a week from today.


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