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A new kind of war

Fling Viagra
into their water supply:
see how long those
chadors last.


Hundreds of Starbucks
open via CIA conduits.
Hookahs are given up
for Frappachinos:
jittery armies
can’t shoot straight.


Generator operated TVs
showing only shows
from the new season:
Taliban suicide.


Universal health care
run by American HMOs:
they all die
before they can be seen.


Commandoes in burqua
parachute from helicopters:
falling blue snow flakes
evoke wonder
in wicked old men.


Air drop free cigarettes:


Air strikes
with Basho bombs:
water-splash sound.


Monica Lewinsky
services their leaders:
drooling old men forget
to conspire.


Give them Jerry Falwell:
watch them run out of ammo
blasting teletubbies.


McTaliban burgers
given with plastic
toy action figures called:
“Osama Been Hidin.”


Send them the moon,
the stars,
and a real good chardonnay.


Hector Q. Mooney



Acting locally

It isn’t easy, living in the aftermath.

Or for the inhabitants of the Bay Area, the aftermaths. Not only did we wake up to the same 911 call that alerted the nation a month ago, but we were already reeling from the economic shocks of the dot.com boom/bust.

During the past few weeks, as we’ve picked up the pieces on both the national and the local front, some people have looked for better ways to put the puzzle together. The prevailing logic seems to be that, when old approaches let you down, it’s time to look for new ones.

Among the best lookers on the planet are those hardy souls down at City Hall, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, whose efforts have been much in evidence over the past year, as the Voter Information Pamphlet for the election on November 6 makes clear. Except for the community college bond issue (Proposition A), every proposition on the ballot was initiated by one or more supe.

And it’s a feisty slate of propositions. One (D) seeks to give the public a say in the expansion of San Francisco Airport at the expense of San Francisco Bay. Three (C, E, and G) want to change the way we elect our officials. And four (B, F, H, and I) invite the people to participate in the preservation and production of electrical power.

Not a bad beginning.

But last Monday several supervisors requested hearings or information on a variety of subjects which suggest that more fun is on the way.

Some of these merry pranksters have long been on Ken Garcia’s list of troublemakers. Jake McGoldrick, for example, requested a budget hearing to reevaluate which city services are essential and to reexamine how revenue projections are made. Aaron Peskin called for his own budget hearing to determine how better to bring John and Jane Q. Public into the conversation. Matt Gonzalez asked for information about the role of municipal banks in other American cities.

But some of the most pointed questions were raised by supes who are usually not associated with rocking the boat: Gavin Newsom and Tony Hall. Without donning party hats and waving streamers, the two managed to imply that they were simply presenting a pleasant pastime to the targets of their inquiries. “This shouldn’t be too difficult,” said Hall about one set of figures, “since Supervisor Daly already asked you to research it.”

Together Hall and Newsom put together quite a package, although sharp-eyed observers might notice its lack of pretty ribbons. (See below.) For the recipients — the directors of the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Public Works — the queries should have the effect of a ticking parcel on a baggage carousel.

The two supervisors have thrown out a challenge to our mayor: You inherited a city where homeless is a way of life for many residents. What have you done about it?

Just the facts, ma’am.

But it’s from nitty-gritty facts like these that legislation grows, and an aftermath to the aftermath.

Betsey Culp

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From the roll call for introductions, Board of Supervisors, October 1, 2001


From: Supervisors Hall, Newsom
To: Director, Mayor’s Office of Housing
Requesting/Inquiring: 1996 Proposition A — Affordable Housing Funds
1. How many units of housing were created with the Prop A funds?
2. What was the average cost per square foot / cost per unit?
3. What was the racial, ethnic, age, and income level breakdown of the individuals who received this housing?
4. What non-profit organizations received funding to construct the affordable housing, and how much was given to each non-profit organization?
5. What properties were purchased with the funds, and/or what properties were refinanced with the funds (by location)?
6. Who is the current titleholder for each property developed?
7. Please provide a copy of the original bond covenant.


From: Supervisor Hall
To: Director, Mayor’s Office of Homelessness
To: Director, Department of Human Services
Requesting/Inquiring: That the directors of the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness and the Department of Human Services report on spending on homeless services, specifically:
1. During fiscal year 2000/01, the Department of Human Services received approximately $35 million in funding for homeless services. To which non-profit organizations was this money given, and how much was given to each non-profit?
2. What services did the non-profit organizations agree to perform in exchange for receiving the funds?


From: Supervisor Newsom
To: Director, Department of Public works
Requesting/Inquiring: To report on the feasibility of implementing a city-administered homeless rehabilitation and/or occupational program in order to provide educational, health, counseling, housing, and employment training services for homeless persons within the City and County of San Francisco. This inquiry shall include information regarding the current efforts of DPW in providing current programs similar to those being proposed, the availability of funds, and the successes of said programs.
Supervisor Newsom requests a response to this inquiry effective after 90 days of the receipt of this letter of inquiry.