Friday, December 29, 2006

District 5 Diary's Year End Award for 2006

Jim Meko: Passive-Aggressive of the Year
After vicious personal attacks on Rob Black and his supporters in the campaign against Supervisor Chris Daly in D6, Meko wrote: "When this election is over, we're gonna need a lot of help to heal this community." Let the healing begin!

Deep Thinker of the Year: Tim Redmond
For his Good Guy/Bad Guy theory of American history:
"If I were a Bad Guy and I saw the baby boomers with all their energy and idealism and potential and I wanted to be sure that they never became a threat to the total dominance of private capital in America, I would have killed a president, covered it up, gone to war for no good reason, spied on them or their friends---and given an entire generation every reason to see that government was the enemy. And it would have worked."
Guess who the Good Guys are?

Second Year in a Row, Rhetorical Excess of the Year: Ross Mirkarimi
When Ross speaks to his comrades on the left, he likes to use revolutionary rhetoric. Last year he won the Rhetorical Excess Award with his "beginning of a revolution" speech to the Peoples Populist Party convention. This year he continued in the same vein, showing that that speech was not a fluke ("Maybe it's time for a new revolution?")

Nikita Award: Ross Mirkarimi
Herb Caen used to bestow his Nikita Award on English sentences that read like they were translated from Ukrainian. Surely he would have wanted this year's award to go to Ross Mirkarimi for this mind-boggler: "In setting aside the kind of percentages and making sure that we are entertaining and deliberating on land use and planning for involving transit that we want to make sure that that's planning in percentages taking into account the modalities that we seem to always be thinking about as an afterthought."
MIA City Politician, Second Year in a Row: Bevan Dufty
Even though the UC proposal for the old Extension property on lower Haight Street---which is in District 8---has been on the table for more than two years, Supervisor Dufty still hasn't taken a position on whether greedy UC, which has had the property tax-free since 1958, should be allowed to rezone it from Public Use to cash in with a massive housing development. Until now Supervisor Mirkarimi has done all the heavy lifting on the issue. Dufty's reelection bid last November would have been a good time to pin him down on the issue, but his main opponent, progressive Alix Rosenthal, seemed more concerned about preserving "fun" in the city than she was in an issue that's going to have a serious impact on that whole part of the city.

Bay Guardian: Old Wine in a Drab New Bottle
For the new, unimproved look of the SF Bay Guardian, which now looks like the East Bay Express, owned by the Guardian's competitors. But the big, ongoing problem the Guardian has is its content, which is strictly knee-jerk progressive. Every political issue has to be trimmed to fit the cartoon leftist political specifications of Tim Redmond and Bruce Brugmann.

Profile in Lameness: The City's Alternative Media
In an attempt to intimidate the media, fanatical Moslems rioted all over the world to protest the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper. To some extent, they succeeded, especially in San Francisco, where, in the mainstream media, only the SF Chronicle editorialized against the crackpots. The so-called alternative media---the SF Bay Guardian, the SF Weekly, BeyondChron, Left in SF, and the Sentinel---were silent, except for bloggers H. Brown and D5 Diary. Accepting the Lamey---a statue of a nude male with his dick in one hand and sucking the thumb of the other---on behalf of all the lame lefties in SF is Bruce Brugmann, publisher of the Guardian.

Marketing Strategy Disguised as "Cultural Significance": Japantown
Even though only 10% of the Japantown neighborhood is ethnically Japanese, Supervisor Mirkarimi and Mayor Newsom were enlisted to "preserve" the ethnic identity of the neighborhood.

Tantrum of the Year by an Interest Group: The SF Bicycle Coalition
When Mayor Newsom vetoed the Healthy Saturdays ordinance, the bike lobby freaked out, showering the mayor with contempt and insults. Accepting the award for the bike people are Leah Shahum and the SF Bay Guardian's Steve Jones.
Second Year in a Row, Love-is-Blind Award: John King
Months after Octavia Blvd. opened and 45,000 cars a day were coming through the heart of Hayes Valley, King had this to say: "You can also see progress on Octavia Boulevard, where a freeway was replaced by a path with separate lanes for commuter and local traffic and a small park. [Allan] Jacobs and Elizabeth MacDonald did the design; Jacobs admits there are flaws, but it's a wonderfully urbane step above what existed before."

Self-Righteous Political Analysis of the Year: Tim Redmond
"My original thought was that Pelosi has never been held accountable for her actions, and a good solid challenge from the left would force her to come back and actually campaign...We could see who really has political courage in this town...Pelosi is a terrible politician. She's venal, driven by campaign money, and has no real agenda except power. She's the one who privatized the Presidio, potentially paving the way for the privatization of millions of acres of national parkland." I don't recall Pelosi losing a single election, so how can she be a "terrible politician"? Seems like she's more in tune with the electorate than Redmond. And flanking Pelosi on the left takes "political courage" in SF? Bullshit.

Bike-to-Work-While-Screwing-Small-Business Award
A group Lamey goes to Mayor Newsom, Supervisors Mirkarimi, Ma, and Dufty. The three supervisors constituted the BOS committee at an April meeting, during which DPT announced that the city was taking away street parking in front of small businesses on Market St. DPT's Dustin White and Jack Fleck informed the supervisors that, at the request of the mayor's office, the project had to be rushed through the system in time for Bike to Work Day. None of the three supervisors had any problem with that.

Ad Hominem Political Attack of the Year: Matt Smith
Instead of talking to me and/or informing himself about the Bicycle Plan and our CEQA litigation against the city, the SF Weekly's Matt Smith launched an extended ad hominem attack on me and the lawyer who worked on the suit:
I'm tempted to name the callous anti-bike zealot whose petty lawsuit hit pay dirt earlier this month by halting all San Francisco bike lane construction. But I won't, because San Francisco is the kind of town where nastiness and notoriety combine to bolster dreams of political grandeur.In that spirit, this guy is a busy attention-seeker. He ran in 2004 to represent District 5 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Nobody seemed to want what he was selling, however: He placed 18th. Since then he has maintained a blog inveighing against perceived enemies, with bicycle commuters residing near the top. Judging from the number of people commenting on his extended blog posts—mostly zero—he's one of those lonely yet harmless people who pass their time muttering about personal antipathies without actually hurting anyone.The bike-hater changed that, however, with a recent lawsuit filed on the grounds that a citywide plan to connect various segments of bike lanes violated the California Environmental Quality Act.

Worst New Name for a Public Space: Patricia Walkup Memorial Green
I received this communication---which I agree with, though I'm not convinced that the late Walkup "did a lot of good"---from a Hayes Valley resident as the name-change campaign was being launched:

There is a major movement afoot to rename Hayes Green after Patricia Walkup. Robin Levitt is personally handing his clipboard w/petition to people and standing there and waiting until they sign. Of course most do sign rather than offend. So he has a stack of these now and is schlepping them around City Hall. Don't be surprised if Mirkarimi sponsors legislation soon. My bet is that Robin, an HVNA board member, and Paul Olsen, current president of HVNA, will falsely claim that the HVNA supports changing the name. I don't think they always check with the membership before proceeding with claims about what the members do or do not support. Patricia, who moved from Texas to San Francisco in the 70s, did a lot of good and since she didn't have a job she had a lot of time to follow up with pushing her agenda. At the same time she was a bully who could wrestle with the best of them. She not only had the resources(Southern charm, lots of free time, political skills and connections) to steamroll her agenda but she was also skilled enough to block anyonewho dared oppose her. She wasn't exactly well liked. Naming Hayes Green after Patricia Walkup is a bad idea. 'Hayes Green' is a great and well liked name. Thought you'd like to know. Thanks for all your hard work.

Know-Nothing Public Performance by City Activists: David Tornheim, Andrew Sullivan, and Isabel Wade
Without knowing anything about either the Bicycle Plan or our CEQA litigation against the city, these three activists publicly chastised me after Judge Warren's injunction against the city's Bicycle Plan.