Watching City Hall
by h. brown
|malt does more than Milton can …
|to justify God’s ways to man.
|— A.E. Housman
The window five feet behind me exploded and shards of glass
sprayed across the room. The blinds saved my ass. It was
Saturday night in the Tenderloin.
A gang of yellow youths beat feet up the street. While my
roommate phoned 911, I followed the pack. There were around 20
“It was a big black guy and he went up the street!” called
“It was a little Mexican guy and he went DOWN the street!!”
trumped a second reveler.
They were gathering around the bus stop at Geary & they
were mocking me.
Three guys came out of the Arab liquor store on the corner.
I’ve known them for almost 6 years. We take each other’s back.
They took mine now. The biggest of the three is a Jordanian
wrestler who once beat André the Giant.
The kids shut up. One was swinging a huge boom box. I’d bet
that’s what broke the low window.
A cop approached, coming up Leavenworth. I ran to wave him
down. Fast response. I was impressed.
Turned out there were two officers. The one driving had a
cup of coffee in one hand. They turned on their yellow
blinkers, changed lanes & made a left in the opposite
It would be 30 minutes before another cop car showed up. By
that time, I had the glass cleared and the window boarded up
tightly with a piece of plasterboard.
The male cop who showed up was aggressive & told me the
window was “no big deal.”
A few days later I watched as a guy bleeding at the nose
and wearing protective headgear associated with heavy brain
trauma clawed his way up the street in a steady rain. He
pulled himself from gate to gate & hugged the walls in
No way he should be out there alone. He needed help. I
thought of phoning 911 and decided against it. I figured by
the time they got there he’d be gone.
The bldg. manager next door jogged across the street to
talk to the guy. I gave him a “thumbs up” sign through the
glass & went out to talk to him. He asked me to call 911. I
asked that he do it because I’d called them too many times.
The wounded man (turned out he’d had a piece of his skull
removed) made his way to the corner, grabbed hold of a parked
car, and would have swung himself in front of a bus were it
not for the Asian guy who caught him, then helped him across
the street. A couple of guys came out of the bar on the corner
from whence they’d watched the guy approaching.
I watched from my window and timed the 911 response. The
bar patrons kept the guy on a stool outside but out of the
rain and took turns watching him. After fifteen minutes, in an
unattended moment, the guy got off the stool and started
making his way westward, hugging the buildings as he went.
Five minutes later cops, firemen & ambulance all arrived at
the same time.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The 911
response time in this city has slowed since they installed
their new system.
I was a firefighter in St. Louis County for five years. I
was an emergency medical tech. I can tell you that insurance
rates are tied to response times. Not only are lives
threatened by the lengthened delays but property owners could
also end up having to pay higher insurance rates.
There’s a problem here. This is an area where increased
delay in reaching an operator is not tolerable.
I want to thank San Francisco Tomorrow
for proving that San Francisco Yesterday
is the proper course for San Francisco Today.
— Chair Jake McGoldrick,
Housing, Transportation & Land Use
Ever the absent-minded professor, McGoldrick was late to
his own committee meeting & Vice Chair Chris Daly & member
Supe Aaron Peskin began without him. This left an empty seat
between Peskin and Daly. Daly introduced Supervisor Peskin
with a wave & a point, indicating that he was “far to my left
over here.” Quick-witted Peskin replied in droll wonder:
“That’s the first time anyone ever described me as ‘far to
Enough kidding. Issues. Let’s do some issues.
Count Leno — Segregationist
I’ve described Supervisor Mark Leno as a cross between
Abraham Lincoln & Count Dracula. The impeccable manners and
gentle demeanor belie his demographic danger as a board leader
in the gentrification war. Take this case as an example:
Last Monday during Roll Call for Introductions Leno
presented a piece of legislation to smooth the way for the
construction of “inclusionary housing” on the grounds of
churches in the black community.
Leno raved on and on about what a great deal this was
because the developers were willing to build the inclusionary
housing BEFORE they built the market rate housing!
I saw a hearing with the preachers last year and it was a
disgrace. What Leno’s developers and the black preachers are
doing is making certain that no poor people live next door to
their rich clients, even though the law says that part of the
housing in these large projects must be set aside for
Ya got an idea what that really means? Since the low-income
population that takes advantage of these programs is
overwhelmingly black and brown, it means that Leno’s developer
buddies will be constructing communities that are segregated
not only economically but also racially. A loophole big enough
for George Wallace & Amos Brown to jump through together
holding hands! The board should immediately move to close the
loophole by requiring that all inclusionary housing be
You leave a loophole like that and some character cloaked
in dark robes with a hood will steal down the back stairs of
the castle in the dead of night and open the door for the
barbarian racists. That person will be Mark Leno. The figures
helping him are black preachers. For betraying their people,
the preachers will get small bags of gold. Leno will get
campaign contributions from the developers.
Newsom & Hall vote for pollution
Supervisor Chris Daly introduced a measure mirroring
legislation enacted in other communities around the Bay Area
to help clean up the air. It seems the old wood-burning
fireplaces cause more pollution each than 50 cars, or
something like that.
Now, no fool would try to get rid of all the wood-burning
fireplaces in Pacific Heights … or Atherton … or anywhere
else. Even street people appreciate a good open fire. Warms
the body & the soul. Primordial … that kind of thing.
But the legislation only applied to new construction; it
even allowed new fireplaces to be built but required that they
have filters. All old fireplaces were “grand fathered”
(appropriate phrase) in.
Still, Newsom & Hall voted against any controls whatever.
Conflicts of Interest
Chris Daly took his final shot at blocking the monolithic,
penthouse-capped St. Mark’s Towers next to St. Mary’s
Cathedral on Cathedral Hill.
It seems there just aren’t enough Lutherans. Now, how did
that happen? Not to be any more base than usual, that is the
problem there. While the Unitarians have maintained &
increased their flock over the decades, the Lutherans have
lost favor. Too much competition from us pagans I’d surmise.
Anyway, the dwindling Lutheran population could not come up
with the cash to execute a city-mandated retrofit & had to
resort to becoming a selfish neighbor in order to survive.
They sold a lot they owned & commissioned a tower of babble
favored by a rich developer (those high units do sell well!)
to dominate playground & pray ground.
They refused compromise. They were offered more units in a
two-building concept, but the developer demanded the
penthouses. Planning director Gerald Green thought that was
just so cool. His buddies on the board — Sophie Maxwell (she
voted to destroy a butterfly garden in her district to replace
it with another monster house for the rich) & Jake McGoldrick
(for he only knows what reasons) — fended off Daly’s last
charge & the penthouses moved one step further down the colon
of housing for the gentry. Hey Willie, how’s about crapping
out a few SRO’s so’s we can clear the streets?
Everybody should make the playoffs! Yeah. Now, 12 of the 31
teams make the post-season play. Hardly an elite group. It
wasn’t that long ago that only 2 made it.
I’m serious here, so listen. … If you’ve read this far, you
love football. Why not have it on every night of the week for
two weeks after the regular season ends? You can have a
“loser’s bracket” like you have in softball tournaments & the
winner of the winner’s bracket plays the winner of the loser’s
bracket in the Super Bowl?
What fun, huh ladies? Football every night from mid-January
till Ground Hog’s Day! I love it.