Monday, April 06, 2015

Aaron Peskin and the Central Subway

The Chronicle rewrote city history the other day (Peskin vs. City Hall: What’s different since 2000?):

Peskin, for the record, fought the subway and development of the Pagoda site while Christensen supported them. Her campaign is expected to portray her as a Builder and Peskin as a Preventer of Getting Things Done.

Aaron Peskin in fact supported the Central Subway until 2011, long after city voters approved Proposition K in 2003 (see page 143 in the Voter Information Pamphlet), which then-supervisor Peskin and the other supervisors voted unanimously to put on the ballot. 

Peskin's opposition was announced by Matt Smith---who gets credit as the earliest media critic of the poorly-designed boondoggle---in the SF Weekly. The price tag was a mere $700 million in 2003, but Peskin still supported it in 2007, when the cost had ballooned to $1.3 billion (New subway route heads to MTA).

More rewriting from the Chronicle:

The economics of today are much the same, but the makeup of City Hall is very different. Peskin and his progressive “Class of 2000” cohorts (including the memorable Chris Daly and Matt Gonzalez) won because voters were dissatisfied with Brown...

As a candidate for District 5 Supervisor in 2000, I tried in vain to get the other candidates interested in the homeless issue. But the important thing to remember about the 2000 campaign: It was the first year the city returned to district elections, which is why Chris Daly and Matt Gonzalez and other progressives were elected. It's unclear that they would have been in a citywide election. 

District elections have skewed San Francisco to the left every since, with the "progressive" supervisors endorsing policies---like dense, highrise development and the Bicycle Plan---that a majority of city voters were unlikely to support.

Still more from the Chronicle: 

She[Supervisor Christensen] added that it’s ironic that Peskin is blaming City Hall for the affordability crisis that he helped create through his regular fights against housing development projects...“We are currently living in a city that evolved because of decisions that were made 10 and 15 years ago,” she said...

Yes, we are always living with past policy decisions---we'll be living with the dumb Treasure Island, which Peskin opposed, and Parkmerced projects for years---but there's no evidence that Peskin dissented from city housing development policies while he was a supervisor, except for the Washington Street tower. In fact he was a big supporter of highrise housing development as long as it wasn't anywhere near North Beach. 

Peskin also supported the massive Market and Octavia Plan and allowing UC to rip off the old Extension site on lower Haight Street. 

If Peskin had "regular fights" against housing projects in San Francisco, it should be easy for Christensen to provide us with some actual examples, which the Chronicle didn't bother to ask her to do.

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At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "class of 2000" accomplished very little, in my opinion. If anything they continually threw up roadblocks to solving the city's many problems. Even when Care not Cash was proposed prior to this class, most of the progressives immediately attached it but rarely provided any alternatives of their own.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, city progs like Chris Daly attacked Care Not Cash as a war on the poor. Their alternative: Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers, which were covered approvingly in the Bay Guardian.

The tacit assumption was that the homeless living in city parks and on our streets was just something we had to get used to because of our wicked capitalist system.

There was an odd passivity in City Hall about the issue, until then-Supervisor Gavin Newsom swept in and used the issue to get Care Not Cash passed by city voters and himself elected mayor.

Newsom ate their lunch on the issue, and city progs have never really recovered politically.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peskin's era of City Supervisors were a nightmare of seizing power as if they role is to play Parliament and battle the Mayor.

The city has truly never recovered from what they did with redistricting, and zoning. Lucky for Peskin, a healthy amount of voters aren't going to make a connection and hold him responsible. The city underwent drastic character changes under Peskin's watch, and I don't blame him for feeling left out of the back room opportunities this time around. He was regarded as one of the dirtier, vendetta filled players we've had in SF politics over the last 50 years.

The Pagoda Theater is shameful. What Peskin did there and other locations, resulted in nothing positive.


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