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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 18    <>  MONDAY, MAY 7, 2001

cityhall_WAVY.jpg (26124 bytes)


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 mayor:

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.

quarry1bw.jpg (103755 bytes)Goodbye, Sunol

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.

Photo: Save our Sunol
Your parks and harbors and piers are all for sale by Willie Brown. Your very air is for sale if you’re black and live on Potrero Hill or in Hunters Point. His scavengers must have helio’d all the way along the city’s waterline right-of-way from Yosemite’s Hetch-Hetchy. I can imagine the conversation: “Boy, that’s a pretty piece of land,” says the developer as he passes a thick envelope to Da Mayor. The mayor takes the envelope, smiles, and speaks: “When we get back to town, just go see Controller Ed Harrington and the city attorney. Consider it yours.” How far off do you think I am?

The new board has had its moments but City Hall is still the Willie Brown show. Look for the petitions to Recall Willie Brown and sign on the dotted line. It’s the right thing to do.

Threats to h. brown