Monday, June 04, 2007

Matt Smith: SF Progressive

Like Tim Redmond of the SF Bay Guardian, you can count on the SF Weekly's Matt Smith to be wrong---or, at best, half-right---on everything. Smith has nothing but scorn for city progressives in his latest rant, but in truth he too is merely another city prog, running with the lemmings he claims to despise on both housing and the anti-car bicycle fantasy.

Smith knocks city progs on their opposition to new housing in the city, which is simply incorrect, as his riff on Supervisor Chris Daly makes clear. As Smith points out, developers love Daly for his support for the residential highrises on Rincon Hill, which means thousands of luxury condos in a city that desperately needs affordable housing. Smith applauds "the hundreds[sic] of desperately needed market-rate apartments Daly's dealing has helped create." Which means that Smith must redefine what being a progressive means in SF: "In other words, Daly's not a San Francisco progressive."

Smith arrives at this conclusion because he too supports residential highrises as a solution to the city's housing crunch. He sneers at Mayor Newsom but doesn't mention that the mayor also supported the Rincon Hill projects. Daly wins points from Smith for Rincon Hill, but the mayor doesn't?

Besides, as I've pointed out many times on this blog, city progressives do in fact mindlessly support any and all new housing development in the city, because We Need Housing. They support Rincon Hill---notwithstanding the Guardian's tepid opposition---and they support the awful Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan, which, interestingly, Smith has never written about. 

This Plan encourages 6,000 new housing units and 10,000 new residents in the already densely-populated heart of the city, along with an undetermined number of highrises in the Market/Van Ness area. Supervisor Mirkarimi may "murmur" his opposition to highrises, but he's shown little inclination to oppose the M/O Plan. And he seems to be ready to roll over on the equally unwise UC proposal to pack 450 new housing units into the old Extension site on lower Haight St.

Smith doesn't bother to list any of the other issues that characterize city progressives---their bitter opposition to Care Not Cash, Critical Mass, the bicycle fantasy and the anti-car jihad in general, Josh Wolf and anti-Americanism, the pot clubs, etc. 

Smith can't seriously discuss the bicycle fantasy, since he's a bike nut himself. He cites opposition to the Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as a progressive political sin, but the interesting thing about that movement is that it's not "progressive" at all. It's based in the small business community in the avenues. Those folks oppose the Geary BRT, because they understand that it will mean digging up Geary Blvd. for months---perhaps years---to achieve at best marginal gains in transit efficiency, not simply because it will take away parking spaces in front of businesses.

In any event, there's nothing wrong with transit on Geary to justify a project that could cost $200 million. Muni's #38 Geary line runs often and quickly between Van Ness and the avenues. It's the part of the line between Van Ness and Market that moves slowly, which isn't surprising, since it runs through one of the most densely-populated parts of the city.

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Poll on traffic laws and cyclists

The San Francisco Business Times has a poll about enforcing traffic laws on cyclists in SF. You can vote by going to this site.

The results of the poll: 78% to 22% say traffic laws should be enforced on cyclists.