Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will Peskin's campaign help the people of Polk Street?

San Francisco magazine

Aaron Peskin has an undeserved reputation as a maverick, unless you think opposing a wall of highrises on the waterfront---59% of city voters agreed---qualifies him as some kind of a rebel. To his credit, he opposed the Treasure Island project, though he lost in court trying to stop that remarkably dumb project.

Peskin kicked off his campaign with a pledge to do something about the disastrous rise in housing prices, the most important issue facing the city. 

But in his first two terms Peskin supported highrise development, though not, you understand, anywhere near his North Beach. Those projects were all about market-rate, not affordable housing.

And like the rest of the progressive class of 2000 supervisors, Peskin voted to make the 500-page Bicycle Plan part of the General Plan without any environmental review, which was obviously illegal, as Judge Busch ruled a year later.

For Peskin's political comeback to be meaningful, he should show that he's done some rethinking on city issues since his first two terms as District 3 Supervisor, when he rolled with the other "progressive" lemmings on the board on development and transportation issues.

For a start, he could support the embattled Polk Street small businesses and residents that are being steamrolled by City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition with a bike project that will eliminate 100 parking spaces on Polk for a separated bike lane based on a lie about how dangerous Polk Street is.

Not a single supervisor has dissented on how City Hall has been methodically redesigning city streets on behalf of this small, obnoxious minority against the interests of more than 90% of those who now use city streets.

Julie Christensen is unlikely to stand up for the people who live and work in Polk Gulch based on her fatuous talk about "unity." Since she was appointed by Mayor Lee, by definition she's now on the City Hall team and will support all of its policies.

Peskin at least had the intellectual integrity to understand belatedly that his original support for the Central Subway project was a mistake.

He would get a lot of votes if he also did some rethinking on the bicycle fantasy and, while he's at it, about how City Hall preys on everyone who has to drive in San Francisco.

The people of Polk Gulch continue to resist the destructive bike project, but not a single elected official has supported their attempt to save scarce street parking for residents and businesses in the area.

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