Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chris Daly's arrogance

Bruce Petit's interview with Chris Daly on Comcast's City Desk Newshour last night provided more evidence, if more was needed, of the latter's extraordinary arrogance and self-righteousness. He casually insulted Mayor Newsom---who he proudly said he hadn't talked to in 18 months---by calling him "two-faced." He added that, though Newsom isn't a racist, he "isn't as concerned with the poor as he should be." A remarkable judgment, since Newsom was elected mayor mainly because of his bold approach to homelessness in the city. The homeless don't qualify as poor in Daly's fevered mind?

He accused President Bush of being a racist: "George Bush doesn't like black people." No evidence was offered for this outrageous claim. I'm a registered Democrat, but it's just wrong to casually defame one's political opponents, even our widely demonized president. (And the last time I looked, the country had a black Secretary of State.)

Daly dismissed Supervisor Elsbernd as essentially a flunky for the mayor, "moving Newsom's agenda" and "carrying water" for the mayor as a supervisor.

Daly the Righteous summed up his opinion of some of his colleagues on the board: "Not all the supervisors act on convictions, though that's the way I do it." (I wrote "Daly the Righteous" in mockery, of course. But in a piece for BeyondChron, Ken Werner, with no detectable irony, calls the D6 Supervisor the "Defender of the Disenfranchised"! Can we anticipate the day when, God help us, a Mayor Chris Daly is called The Great Helmsman?)

Petit introduced the Rincon Hill issue but was evidently unprepared to ask Daly any hard questions about it. How exactly does extracting $58 million in fees from the developers "mitigate" the reality of 3000 highrise condos for the rich in that part of his district? Petit allowed Daly to speak airily about how it was a "win-win" deal for both "the community and the developers." 

Daly referred to the "stabilization fund," from which the $58 million will presumably be used on "infrastructure" and "eviction prevention" for SoMa residents. Daly said the deal is a victory for "the community," because it avoids the extremes of just saying no to developers or giving them a blank check for whatever they want to do. This is a crude pair of false alternatives. What more could the developers have asked for? 4000 units? 5000? The notion that 3000 highrise condos for the rich in one part of town is actually a compromise is preposterous.

In the city's progressive community, only the SF Bay Guardian has criticized the emerging Rincon Hill catastrophe, timidly suggesting that five highrises were too many and that two would be enough! ("Simply put, five more towers of luxury condos is too many. No matter how lucrative the payoff, when the projects come through for final approval city leaders should reject at least two of these towers." ("Don't Sell SoMa," editorial, SF Bay Guardian, Aug. 3, 2005)

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