Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If Gonzalez had been elected in 2003...

Photo by Molly Riley

Randy Shaw has an airy hypothetical in BeyondChron speculating about the 2003 mayoral election: what if Matt Gonzalez had been elected instead of Newsom?

We know that Gonzalez wouldn't have been interested in stopping graffiti vandalism. Before he left office as District 5 Supervisor, he even hired a so-called artist to deface his office walls with juvenile scrawls typical of the genre.

And he didn't seem particularly interested in doing anything about homelessness in San Francisco, which is the main reason he lost to Newsom, who used Care Not Cash and the promise of a more aggressive approach to homelessness to win the election. Under a Gonzalez administration, homelessness would have continued to fester until the public demanded action to deal with the growing squalor on our streets and in our parks. Instead of considering policy changes, Gonzalez preferred indulging in pseudo-Marxist twaddle about the "root causes" of homelessness.

Shaw suggests that Gonzalez would have been better for developers than Newsom, but the latter has been aggressively pro-development. Newsom supports the luxury highrise condos on Rincon Hill, as did uber-progs Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi. Newsom supports the awful Market/Octavia project, as does Mirkarimi and other city progs. Newsom supports UC's ripoff of the old extension property on lower Haight Street, as does Mirkarimi and other city progs. Is there a single progressive leader in SF that opposes these massively grotesque projects? I don't know of a single one. Like other city progs, Gonzalez would have probably bought into the half-baked Planning Dept. "transit corridors" theory that says we can overdevelop our neighborhoods---including residential highrises!---along our primary traffic arteries.

And of course the bicycle fantasy would have been a top priority for a Gonzalez administration just as it has been for the Newsom administration. Gonzalez, like Newsom, would have pushed the Bicycle Plan illegally through the process only to be rebuked by Judge Busch. Before Supervisor Mirkarimi became the errand boy for the Bicycle Coalition, Gonzalez performed that function.

Gonzalez probably would have made the gay marriage initiative, but he might have timed it better than Newsom, whose early 2004 move helped re-elect George W. Bush in November of that year.

The only important policy differences between Newsom and Gonzalez: homelessness and graffiti/tagging vandalism. The quality of life in SF would have continued to degenerate under Gonzalez, whereas Newsom has had some success in dealing with homelessness and is waging a serious fight against graffiti vandalism.

Shaw's current piece is fact-free, much like his empty riff on the marijuana clubs several years ago wherein, in support of Chris Daly, he relied on suspiciously anonymous "progressive" sources to oppose regulating the pot clubs.

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At 10:30 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Maybe we wouldn't be losing the 49ers. Maybe we would, but Gavin has truly f'd that one up.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...


At 11:44 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...


Have you been asleep?

Let me Google that for you.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That links us to a Chronicle article from last June on Santa Clara's vote to spend taxpayers' money to subsidize a new stadium for the Niners. Newsom was quite right to reject the notion that city taxpayers should help billionaires build a stadium in SF. If that's what you mean by his "losing" the 49ers, he did the right thing.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous kwk said...

There was a faction of the SF Republican party that wanted to support Gonzalez, the assumption being that he would turn the city into such a disaster the real residents of SF would finally be so disgusted they might actually begin to vote intelligently:
Cavanaugh Article
Sort of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged theory.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger missiondweller said...

Good post Rob. It is interesting to make the hypothetical comparisons although to my way of thinking its contrasting one dysfunctional leader with another. I do, however, also give Newsom credit for Care Not Cash although I think its one of his few accomplishments.

I often think I sense a backlash to the progressives. Yesterdays veto over ride of the Campos bill on shielding felony illegal aliens provoked strong reactions on SFGate comments. It does make me wonder if Gonzalez had really screwed things up maybe SF would be open to at least a Guilliani type republican.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

In spite of all the publicity surrounding Newsom, except for the homeless issue, he's been an uninspired leader. He buys into all the prog bullshit---the bike fantasy and anti-carism in general, the transit corridors falsehood, the desirability of highrises, and all the fluffy green initiatives. But Newsom got the biggest issue, homelessness, right, and the left got it completely wrong, which is why they hate him so much. And it wasn't just Care Not Cash; it was/is the subsequent initiatives, too, like Project Homeless Connect and Homeward Bound. These programs will continue for years to help the city deal with homelessness.

SF progressives are lucky Gonzalez wasn't elected, since his administration would have showed conclusively how clueless the city's left was and continues to be.


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