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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 27    <>  MONDAY, JULY 9, 2001

this & that

Keeping San Francisco a no-newspaper town. There’s a term in newspaper parlance to describe the space set aside among the ads for news: the news hole. Does the Chronicle’s seem to be growing? Or — look again — is it that the surrounding ads are shrinking? Each day the paper arrives looking more gaunt, nearly a twin anorexic sister to the upstart Ex-paper. A sign of an ailing economy, or an ailing paper?

Ted Fang’s Follies might wish that the news hole was smaller in the Ex-paper, because the “news” is an embarrassment. Take the item that ran on Friday, June 29, headlined “Home Depot moving in after family spat.” To read the piece, you’d think that Home Depot was on the verge of opening shop at the site of good old Goodmans Lumber — until the fine print at the very very end, which reads, “The chain store has yet to get the approval of the city’s planning commission. It hopes to get the go-ahead by the end of this year.” In other words, the plans are still in the planning stage. Good thing, too, because if Examiner Staff member Angela Privin had talked to the location’s neighbors, a practice that the much-derided Board of Supervisors strongly urges these days, she would have discovered that skepticism was rife. The influential Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center is working on a comprehensive development plan for the whole Bayshore Corridor, which may or may nor include a hardware behemoth.

And who on earth was minding the Ex-store when the schedule for the Fourth of July was compiled? Dubya, maybe. One item read, “San Francisco Mime Troupe. Delores Park at 1600 Transylvania Ave., South San Francisco.”

reid.jpg (61076 bytes)Wheels within wheels, tempests within tempests. Last Monday, indefatigable mayor-recaller Jim Reid sent out the following press release: “Homeless Army assembles at City Hall, Tues., July 3rd at noon, taking to the streets to begin the campaign to defeat Mayor Brown with pen and petition.” The idea was to launch a contingent of disaffected homeless people seeking signatures for Reid’s petition to recall the mayor.

Chance Martin, of the Coalition on Homelessness, responded immediately and angrily: “Jim Reid isn't the first person to exploit homeless people for his own crackpot agenda, and he's doubtlessly not the last.” Martin added later, when pressed for clarification, that most of the homeless folks he’s talked to “roll their eyes heavenward” at the thought of paying to live in the little units Reid proposes to sponsor, which many call “doghouses.”

Back to Reid: “I am the only person that I know of who is talking about building housing for homeless people and have built a prototype rather than just TALK about it. If that is exploiting the homeless and if asking homeless people to help gather signatures to recall a mayor who has criminalized them is exploiting them, then in the eyes of the COH, I am exploiting the homeless. When I ran for mayor, I met with Paul Bowden of the COH and he told me that they DID NOT want shelters, they wanted housing. I proposed and built housing and invited the COH to come and look at it but they were too busy. BUT every time that the press said anything good about my idea, they contacted the COH and they were not too busy to put down the idea even though they never had the courtesy to look at the cubicle. I guess my comment is that the Coalition on Homelessness is part of the problem AND if we ever elect a mayor who will come up with common-sense solutions to the homeless problem, the people at COH will be without jobs AND they do not want that to happen.”

Reid adds, “I will be [at Civic Center Plaza] with the sign and the flag again next Monday and every Monday until the deadline for turning in the petitions passes at the end of September.”

Collapsing collegiality. In yet another sign that organized labor wields little clout these days, Lillian Taiz sends this message on behalf of the California Faculty Association (AAUP/SEIU 1983), the union that represents 20,000 instructional faculty members, as well as the librarians and counselors, of the 23 California State University campuses:

For the last three years, the union has been in a serious struggle with the system administration and Chancellor Charles Reed (who came here from Florida) over the future of comprehensive public higher education in California. Reed would like to run the university according to a corporate model, complete with the casualization of faculty, the weakening of tenure, the build up of an expensive administrative superstructure, increases in class sizes, and other provisions that endanger the quality of education we can offer our students. Our student are by and large working-class and people of color who are often the first in the families to attend college. ....

In the last two rounds of bargaining no agreement was possible and — as state law allows — Chancellor Reed simply imposed terms and conditions upon the faculty. We will not let that happen again this year. At the moment the union and the system administration are at impasse and it is very likely that faculty will start the fall working without a contract. ... For more information on this important struggle, visit www.calfac.org.

lester.jpg (30274 bytes)Going to the dogs. Chris Lester, whose photographs have appeared in several issues of the Call, has moved on to bigger venues, with a show of his doggies at Cafe International, Haight @ Fillmore. It runs through July.