Monday, January 30, 2012

Cindy Wu and the "female point of view"

David Chiu has appointed Cindy Wu to fill the Planning Commission seat vacated by Christina Olague. Wu is evidently a suitable replacement, since like Olague she shares the delusion about women and people of color: "I'm proud to bring a person of color's point of view and a female point of view and continue that from Christina."

Identity politics is alive and well here in Progressive Land. What does the "female point of view" really mean in politics? When Olague or Wu invoke this nonsense, they probably don't mean Ann Coulter, Margaret Thatcher, or Sarah Palin, but that doesn't make it any less nonsensical. With Olague's appointment as District 5 Supervisor, there are now four female supervisors. 

How has the voting record of the other three women reflected anything like a "female" perspective? Is there a female perspective on Muni or on development and planning? Of course not. In fact---and unfortunately---Olague and other women on the board agree with their male colleagues on all the important issues facing San Francisco. GroupThink as per The Family in San Francisco transcends gender and ethnic categories.

There are now four supervisors of Asian descent on the Board of Supervisors. As "people of color" in Wu's terminology, do they represent an oppressed group or a unique perspective on city issues?

Since Wu comes out of the Chinatown Community Development Center, where she did "outreach"---that is, PR---for the Central Subway boondoggle, does she agree with Rose Pak that Dennis Herrera and Aaron Peskin are racists for opposing the project?  

Olague replacement: The empty seat on the Planning Commission may soon be filled by Cindy Wu, a planner with the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu will nominate Wu to replace Christina Olague, who recently stepped down from her position as commission president to become District Five's supervisor.

Wu is a community planning manager at the increasingly powerful neighborhood organization with ties to Mayor Ed Lee and power-broker Rose Pak. The center has strongly advocated for the Central Subway, which will connect Chinatown with the rest of the city.

Chiu is running for re-election this year in District Three, which includes Chinatown.

Wu has spent more than four years in her job, where she did outreach for the Central Subway and oversaw various Chinatown planning projects.

"I'm proud to bring a person of color's point of view and a female point of view and continue that from Christina," she told The Chronicle.

Wu holds a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in architecture from UC Berkeley.

After the Rules Committee considers Wu's nomination next week, the Board of Supervisors will confirm or deny her.
- Stephanie Lee

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At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's in there to help displace and destroy Chinatown at the hands of developers once the Central Subway is done. Just wait, those developers are licking their chops to get a piece of the pie.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

e.g. "Rob Anderson the sexist", a la why are we rushing to judgement on Mirkarimi, clearly this WOMAN made up the whole story.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why put "Rob Anderson the sexist" in quotes? And what does Mirkarimi have to do with this post?

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Mario said...

They may not vote differently than their male counterparts, but they may be changing the conversation on the board and changing the point at which consensus occurs. I have witnessed that occur at the SFMTA board, which still votes by consensus but has become slightly more progressive since Ramos and Brinkman joined.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Getting a consensus on bad policies and projects, like anti-carism and the Central Subway, is a "progressive" achievement? Yes, I'm afraid you're right. And Ramos is of course a guy.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Mario said...

My point was simply that in bureaucracies (as opposed to elected offices) you rarely get many disagreements during the final vote. But that doesn't mean that a specific appointment doesn't influence the bureaucracy in any way.

Now, I also don't know what a "female perspective" means, but I am sure there are issues where men and women differ in their views. For examples, men are more pro-war than women. If you appoint women to some body, you are more likely to see that body take a more-anti-war stance. I am sure there are some issues in the planning department competency that can be affected by a different viewpoint.

Our elected bodies and bureaucracies should represent the electorate. Different socio-economic groups come with different biases, however slight or non-obvious they may be.

As for the SFMTA, without making any value judgments I define conservative as aversive to change and progressive as open to change.

BTW, the SFMTA board is hardly anti-car, even with Brinkman and Ramos on board. A lot of consideration about private vehicles is given at their board meetings, but I guess it all depends on your judgment for what the right level of consideration is.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Mario, let me make a guess: you're a bike guy, right?

"Female perspective" is bullshit. There's no such thing. Being "anti-war" in itself means nothing except when discussing specific wars.

Although I have to admit one indication of the possible superiority of women is that 3/4 of bike commuters in SF are men, mostly young, with a significant percentage of older guys acting out their mid-life crises via the bike movement. The girls seem to have a keener sense of the dangers involved in being PC in SF.

The offical City Hall traffic policies are in fact anti-car. They make this explicit for anyone who's paying attention, reading their reports and news accounts.

Keep reading this blog, Mario, since D5 Diary is the only consistent source of news, analysis, and criticism of the great, anti-car, bicycle movement.

Here's a previous post that provides some context.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Mario said...

Rob, I see that my comment was wasted on you. I don't want to discuss values. I have different values than yours and that's ok. Arguing about values is like arguing about religion, politics, or even sports.

My comment was simply trying to explain that regardless of what your values are, there may in fact be such a thing as a "female perspective" and that it may in fact have an influence on elected institutions or bureaucracies, regardless whether that effect is obvious (e.g. seen as contrast in votes). Again, I am not saying that it's a good or a bad thing.

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being "anti-war" in itself means nothing except when discussing specific wars.

Translation: Vietnam was a bad war because Rob was eligible to be drafted. All other wars are fine because Rob is not of fighting age.


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Vietnam was a bad war, and I was fortunate in the sense that it was easy to oppose at the time. But then I was also lucky to be living in SF in the early 1960s, with a City Lights Bookstore where I found reading material that made my resistance/rejection of that war possible. I understand the sheer randomness of events and take no credit for any of it.


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