Sunday, July 06, 2014

C.W. Nevius's imaginary "far left"

God bless San Francisco's far-left activists. I'm serious. They are vocal, passionate and involved. They don't grant free passes to any person or any proposal. They ensure that there are no unexamined policies at City Hall. At their best, they serve as the conscience of the city. Until they don't know when to stop.

Who is he talking about? There is no such left---"far" or otherwise---in San Francisco. He cites only Supervisor Campos and Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness. They represent the city's "far left"? 

Campos is a mainstream liberal Democrat. And maybe he's forgotten, but Nevius wrote about Friedenbach (If you want to help the homeless, just say yes) back in 2007, when, in an early column about Laura's Law, he correctly labelled her organization as obstructionist on everything the city has done to deal with homelessness:

The San Francisco Homeless Coalition told me last week that they would not consent to any more interviews. I asked them to reconsider, but I knew what their answer would be. They said no.

In a column on Laura's Law a month before that, Nevius encountered what then-Mayor Newsom called "institutional resistance" to Laura's law from City Hall and city departments. Maybe Mayor Newsom was reluctant to take on a new homeless fight then, since he was still struggling to implement Care Not Cash and other programs to deal with homelessness, like supportive housing, Homeward Bound, Project Homeless Connect.

Now that other counties in the state have shown that Laura's Law can work, there's a consensus in the city that we should give it a chance here.

Far from doing any serious examination of the city's homeless programs, what passes for a political left in San Francisco has always been bad on the issue. In fact it was the Chronicle, not the leftist Bay Guardian, that did the best job of describing the city's homeless problem in Kevin Fagan's Shame of the City series back in 2003.

The Bay Guardian pronounced Care Not Cash a failure only a few months after it went into effect, which I wrote about in one of my first posts in 2004. Chris Daly declared Care Not Cash a "war" on the poor before it had a chance to take effect, as did Tim Redmond. The Guardian sniped at Mayor Newsom on the homeless issue, but it never did any in-depth reporting on the programs he put in place to deal with the problem.

Before this Nevius mistakenly gave city progressives credit on the homeless issue when they deserved none.

Nevius compounds his inaccurate description of the city's left with this:

This isn't the first time the activists have let their ideological fervor carry them away. At the hearing to decide whether to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after domestic abuse accusations, zealots who supported the sheriff booed and hissed at representatives from groups standing up for victims of domestic violence. It was ugly and indefensible.

It may have been ugly---I wasn't there---but booing the domestic violence zealots was/is defensible, since they put up billboards against Mirkarimi long before the legal process had done its thing. Besides, the domestic violence community is part of the left.

Not to mention the fact that many of those opposing the political lynch mob hounding Mirkarimi were not left-wing "activists"---they were people like me, for example. I've been Mirkarimi's harshest critic over the years, but I found the attempt to destroy him for what was only an argument with his wife that got out of control shockingly wrong-headed---"ugly and indefensible."

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