Monday, October 22, 2007

HANC's monthly bulletin from Progressive Land

The "progressive" party line by Calvin Welch on the SF Chronicle's recent coverage of homelessness by in the October Haight-Ashbury Voice, the monthly newsletter of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC):

First used against Art Agnos by Frank Jordan in 1995, these stories have usually been used against incumbents. Willie Brown was covered using the same issue against Frank Jordan in the 1999 election and then the Chronicle turned both barrels of its patented "homeless hellfire" on Matt Gonzalez in the 2003 election when it did story after story by Kevin Fagin[sic] (and where is he now?) on how Care Not Cash would end homelessness as we know it, if only Gavin Newsom was elected.

Typical that Welch can't even get Fagan's name right. Interesting to note too that the stories by C.W. Nevius on homelessness in Golden Gate Park could be interpreted as being "against" incumbent Newsom. After all, he's the mayor and has been for four years; any failure on homeless policy in SF reflects on his administration, not on anyone else. 

In fact, if you enter "Kevin Fagan and homelessness" in the search engine on the Chronicle's online site, you see that Fagan's articles on homelessness in SF continued long after Newsom's election in 2003 with periodic updates on the city's progress in dealing with the issue. If Fagan's series on homelessness was politically motivated to harm Gonzalez, wouldn't the stories have stopped after Newsom's election? (Fagan is still writing for the Chronicle, though he's evidently no longer on the homeless beat.)

And of course no one---not even Newsom---ever claimed that Care Not Cash "would end homelessness as we know it" in San Francisco. It was only a first---and necessary---step discontinuing the city's practice of handing out lump sums of General Assistance money---up to $400 a month---to those still living on the streets, a practice that in effect helped people to remain homeless. Nor did Fagan take anything like a political position in his stories, which were descriptive of what was going on on our streets---who the homeless were, how and where they lived, how many there were, etc.

Welch's distortion of our recent history and his inability to take an objective view of homelessness is typical of SF progressives, who are still sulking about how Gavin Newsom used the homeless issue to become mayor. It still galls them to think about how Newsom demonstrated what a bunch of windbags and phoneys they were/are on the issue. How was it possible that city progressives---the good people, the smart people, the cool people!---were so clueless as to not see how upset city voters were about the growing squalor on our streets?

Welch is also implying that Care Not Cash is Mayor Newsom's only initiative on homelessness, even though he has also instituted Homeward Bound (bus tickets out of town for 2,360 of the homeless since 2004), supportive housing (2,062 homeless moved into housing), and Project Homeless Connect, which has been copied by cities across the country.

Clearly many city progressives have learned nothing from the experience of the past four years. Mayor Newsom is a lucky man in many respects, but he's been most fortunate in the dismal quality of his political opposition.

The current HANC newsletter includes the minutes of their Sept. 27 meeting with this note on UC's land-grab at the old extension property on lower Haight St:

UCSF Development: Board Member Tes Welborn is keeping HANC abreast of the development at the old UCSF campus parcel at the base of Waller Street in lower Haight. Seems 100-200 employee housing units may go up for students, staff and faculty on the west parking lot. Stay tuned.

It's not surprising that Welborn is keeping a close eye on UC's rip-off of the property zoned "public use" for 150 years, since she owns property right across the street.

And housing for "students, staff and faculty" of what school? UC has already abandoned its education "mission"---which is why it has had the property tax-free from the city for the last 50 years---and is planning to turn the property into a massive housing development to fatten its bottom line.

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