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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 of them.

“It was a big black guy and he went up the street!” called out one.

“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 direction.

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 between.

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 your left.’”

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 low-income residents.

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 ON-SITE!

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.

Moving target: sobone@juno.com