Watching City Hall
This column is a rewrite of a rewrite. The
original versions had it all. They had sex and violence. They
tackled the hard questions of anti-Semitism and racism and
homophobia from all sides. I ran the drafts by my friends and family
and neighbors. Some left. Some spoke forcefully regarding my sanity.
There was talk of legal action and physical restraints.
I carefully considered the objections and
considering the fact that most of the people involved are sometimes
alone in the kitchen with my food supplies, I judged it prudent to
moderate my tone. Being a fanatic is not as stress-free as you might
imagine. Here’s the sanitized version.
Willie’s gotta go
It’s him or us. In a few weeks or months members
of a group of nine people will vote 6-3 for a gerrymandered
redistricting map designed to dump Board of Supervisor members Chris
Daly, Sophie Maxwell, Matt Gonzalez, Jake McGoldrick, and Aaron
Peskin. We know this because Willie’s appointees get to pick six
of the nine members of this august group. The only way to de-fang
this beast is to recall the mayor in the coming November election.
Following are a few other reasons the voters should remove the
The Rec & Park giveaways
Willie Brown is trying to give away as much as
possible of the city’s most valued Rec & Park holdings to his
rich supporters by way of decades-long leases which his city
attorney will defend till the end. Just ask the board’s Committee
on Rec & Parks, which listened to just such a scheme on April 1st.
It followed the familiar pattern. An acting director (Elizabeth
Goldstein) on the job less than a year shows up with a deal in which
the Harding Golf Course would end up in the hands of a group
associated with the PGA (Professional Golfer’s Association).
Years of calculated under-funding and
mismanagement have left the course in bad shape & the mayor’s
buddies after having created the problem are using it as an excuse
to close the course, refurb it with a public bond issue & turn
the management over to a private firm. This, despite the fact that
the course has turned about 2 million in profits in each of the past
five years. The longtime head of the city’s courses said he
thought putting just half of the profits back into the course for
two or three years would get the course back up to snuff. Willie
would rather see a private group take over the course and raise the
fees through the roof.
The same acting director (Goldstein) worked with
Supervisor Gavin (tool-of-the-mega-rich) Newsom to move forward a
plan a couple of months ago that laid the ground for turning the
public marina between his buddies’ yacht clubs over to the clubs.
Same routine. The marina was making money but the mayor sucked it up
and let the place crumble. On purpose!
Treasure Island scam
The last board, mostly hand-picked by the mayor,
shuffled leases good for decades until his chosen John Stewart
Realty held the best parcels on Yerba Buena Island. They traded
landfill property even up for the best pieces of the island. To use
that land in the public interest, you’d have to break those leases
and you know how the city attorney’s office feels about breaking
sweetheart leases with rich corporate donors to Willie’s bank
account. It goes on. And on.
The people of Sunol, California will breathe dust
and diesel fumes for the next 40 years because of another Willie
deal. The city attorney says it would cost us 150 million dollars to
get out of that deal.