Monday, March 21, 2011

The progressive "brand" in San Francisco

Randy Shaw of Beyond Chron has another hand-wringing piece about what he calls the "progressive brand" in San Francisco (Why San Francisco Progressives are Losing Public Support). The strangest thing about Shaw's piece is that in a discussion of recent city history referring to Art Agnos, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, and Matt Gonzalez, he doesn't mention Care Not Cash and the homeless issue. It's doubly odd because it's an issue that Shaw knows something about through his Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

Yet homelessness was the issue Gavin Newsom used to get himself elected Mayor of San Francisco in 2003, and the issue on which progressives, including Matt Gonzalez, failed to provide a plausible response after Care Not Cash was passed by city voters in 2002. City voters wanted something done about the growing squalor on city streets, and they voted for the candidate that was clearly ready to do it. Even Beyond Chron was telling its readers how important the homeless issue was to city voters.

Before Newsom took ownership of the issue, instead of creating the kind of political coalition Shaw now advocates with Republicans and independents to deal with homelessness, progressives were supporting Food Not Bombs and the pie-throwers in the Biotic Baking Brigade, substituting cutesy, exhibitionist demonstrations for a thoughtful policy alternative.

Shaw rightly deplores factionalism by city progressives, but he fails to discuss the biggest problem the city's left faces: crackpotism. The main reason there's been no certified progressive with name-recognition---like Peskin, Mirkarimi, or Daly---entering the campaign for mayor is that they all are burdened with fringe-left baggage on a lot of issues: the failure on homelessness, public power, legalizing prostitution, dumping JROTC from city schools, opposition to the sit-lie measure, support for cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, support for Josh Wolf, support for Critical Mass, to mention some issues that a majority of city voters might be skeptical about.

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At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will generalize from my observation and interactions with people who call themselves "Progressives" they truly believe that they, and they alone, have divine knowledge and can both define and solve problems. They tend not to listen to others' views or move one centimeter from their own world view. When I was a kid growing up in The City, my Jewish mom would call people like that "big Macher". I just call them self absorbed. You know, there is something to be said for Jewish mothers!!

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they truly believe that they, and they alone, have divine knowledge and can both define and solve problems."

Sounds like Rob.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

The homeless support Critical Mass, ergo I support the Homeless.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I thought you had passed the dumb comment baton to Mike Sonn, Murph. This failed attempt at cleverness is so cryptic it's incomprehensible. But homelessness and Critical Mass are two policy fiascos that any "progressive" candidate campaigning for mayor needs to explain.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

The dumb are only those stupid enough to disagree with your highness.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No discussion of all the "progressive" policies already rejected by city voters? JROTC, public power, sit-lie, legalizing prostitution, Care Not Cash. If Critical Mass and the Bicycle Plan ever get on the ballot, I could add a couple more.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about instead of giving the homeless cash, we make it legal for them to be prostitutes, but only if they do it lying down on the sidewalk. Problem solved.

Also we should keep JROTC, and every member of JROTC has to take a field trip to Kabul for 3 months of active duty. That should pretty much solve that problem too.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So like former Supervisor Sandoval you don't think we need a military? Next time we get attacked by the Islamic fanatics I guess we should call the DCCC. The only mistake Obama has made on Afghanistan is his promise to begin withdrawing troops this summer. The Taliban knew it was bullshit, and all it did is rattle the Afghan government and our allies in Pakistan: The Americans are going to abandon us again!

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just sayin those kids who join JROTC in HS around here are just a bunch of pussies who want extra curricular on their resumes. Tell them "Joining the military means gettin shot at" and they will run like your basic 60's draft dodger.

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Next time we get attacked by the Islamic fanatics I guess we should call the DCCC."

If only we'd had a military to prevent the last attack.


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