Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fringe left takes over SF's Democratic Party

I laughed out loud when I read this by Tim Redmond on the SF Bay Guardian's blog:

John Burton asked me once why I didn't call him a progressive, and I told him that the difference between a liberal and a progressive these days is that progressives don't trust real-estate developers. That's just a small example, but it makes the point. The progressives in San Francisco stand for both social and economic justice. (The ultra-liberal city)

Who does Redmond think is building the Rincon Hill highrise condos for the rich, the SF chapter of the ACLU? After he made that deal with developers, Supervisor Daly crowed that it was a great triumph for progressive housing policy in SF.

And what about Supervisor Mirkarimi's Market/Octavia Plan, which rezones more than 4000 properties in the heart of the city---including four 40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness---to encourage developers and population density in that part of town? And Mirkarimi again running interference for the UC/Evans plan to build a massive housing development---450 units on six acres---on lower Haight Street? Developers aren't developers when they make deals with progressives?

Redmond is complaining about Heather Knight's story in the Chronicle in the wake of the recent progressive coup on the Democratic County Central Committee. He didn't like her opening paragraph, which is the simple truth about another dubious victory for the city's left:

The San Francisco Democratic Party has veered dramatically to the left, telling voters that on Nov. 4 they should elect a raft of ultra-liberal supervisorial candidates, decriminalize prostitution, boot JROTC from public schools, embrace public power and reject Mayor Gavin Newsom's special court in the Tenderloin.

Redmond quibbles about the term "ultra-liberal," while conceding the essential point:

Yes, the progressives ran an aggressive campaign and picked up some seats this spring, but most of the votes were pretty close to unanimous; public power, for example, had support from across the spectrum. Same with most of the supervisors races.

Note that Redmond doesn't mention JROTC, decriminalizing prostitution---aka, the Pimp Protection Act of 2008---or the mayor's special court for the Tenderloin, on all of which he probably suspects city voters won't go the "progressive" way.

Redmond's interpretation of what he thinks "is going on":

The Newsom camp is angry about the use of the term "progressive" to describe Newsom's critics, because it implies that Newsom somehow isn't progressive. (Honestly, by any meaning of the word, he's not. Care Not Cash was the opposite of a progressive program. His budget is the opposite of a progressive budget. On economic issues, he's very much a centrist.)

This earns another chuckle. (Why put the last three sentences in parentheses if you're already talking about Newsom's political identity?) Since Redmond is supposedly discussing Heather Knight's article, is he really saying that she discussed the use/misuse of the term "progressive" with "the Newsom camp"?

Yes, we know Care Not Cash was opposed by all right-thinking SF progressives, including Redmond. Fortunately, they were in a minority in 2002 when it was passed by the city's voters. SF progressives were oblivious to the fact that many city voters clearly wanted something done about homelessness and the associated squalor on our streets. What approach did city progressives, including the Bay Guardian, support in dealing with homelessness before Care Not Cash? Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers! They were rebuffed by city voters in 2002 and then again in 2003, when they elected Newsom Mayor of San Francisco. Redmond and city progs have been sullen, resentful, and in complete denial on the homeless issue ever since.

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