Thursday, June 14, 2018

RoboProg makes good

Leno and Mandelman (SFBC photo)

Way back in 2010
, when Rafael Mandelman was running for District 8 Supervisor, I dubbed him The new RoboProg for his slavish adherence to whatever the city's progressive agenda was at the time (He lost that election to Scott Wiener).

But I haven't blogged about him since (The Bicycle Coalition, Debra Walker, and Rafael Mandelman: A love story).

Not surprising that Mandelman got the Bicycle Coalition's endorsement over District 8 incumbent Jeff Sheehy after the latter was rumored to have doubts about the upper Market Street bike project. Nothing but slavish acceptance of whatever the Bicycle Coalition supports is permitted!

According to Heather Knight in the SF Chronicle, Mandelman is interested in the homeless issue:

He’s determined to make real change in the lives of all those sad, sad characters we see on our sidewalks — the people who remind him of his mother. “I heard from people throughout the district and throughout the city about their incredible anguish and consternation about the mentally ill and drug-addicted folks in our public spaces,” said Mandelman...“I think it’s a colossal municipal shame.” Also a colossal municipal shame? That in a city with a new budget of $11 billion, our leaders have lamented the problem for years without doing much about it (emphasis added).

San Francisco hasn't been "doing much about" homelessness in the last 16 years? A puzzling comment from a reporter who's done good work on the issue, even reporting why the city hasn't been able to solve its homeless problem:

None of this is easy or cheap, of course. Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness, said his team gets an average of 50 people off the streets every week. But every week, 150 people take their place. Let that sink in. For every one person who gets help, three more join the homeless ranks.

From a recent Knight story on Angela Alioto:

Shortly after taking office, Newsom appointed Alioto to head a council charged with crafting the city’s Ten Year Plan to Abolish Chronic Homelessness...Ten years later, the city had housed 11,362 homeless single adults and sent an additional 8,086 home to receptive friends or family members through the Homeward Bound program.

Seems like city leaders have been doing something about homelessness for years.

Knight apparently likes Mandelman. She seems to think he---only one of eleven supervisors on the board---can make a difference because he's a "doer":

San Francisco’s political labels — progressive and moderate — aren’t particularly useful anymore. Instead, we now have two camps: the talkers and the doers. And they don’t break down along political lines. Unfortunately, the doer camp is smaller, but it seems about to grow by one. “I really want to do something, and if it takes someone who has a little bit of credibility with the progressive community to try to make the case for this, I’m happy to be the person who does that,” Mandelman said.

Mandelman---and Knight---are talking like no one has ever "made the case" for tackling the city's homeless problem. Not surprising coming from Mandelman, who seems to be reinventing himself after years as a doctrinaire San Francisco progressive. 

The question is, What was Mandelman the "doer" doing/saying when Gavin Newsom was getting Care Not Cash passed by city voters and getting elected mayor after a campaign featuring the homeless issue against prog hero Matt Gonzalez?

After Newsom beat Gonzalez in 2003, city progressives retreated into a sullen silence on the issue, as Mayor Newsom began "doing something" by implementing programs to deal with homelessness: Care Not Cash, Homeward Bound, Project Homeless Connect, and supportive housing. 

Before the advent of Gavin Newsom, the city left's approach on homelessness? Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers! (See Redmond and Newsom: Ideology and pragmatism and Tim Redmond: "Trust me..."

More tomorrow.

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