I just had myself a hell of a week. I actually used my
body to work hard. That's something I haven't done in months. It felt
Wheelbarrow loads of rocks, raking fresh concrete.
I spent a whole day moving Deby & Zoe. Zoe's 4 &
starting school in San Anselmo in the autumn & Deby who's her mom &
older thought it was time to split the Tenderloin. Co-parent Frank
helped. And huge Michael Moore, who was my boss years ago at the
Harcourt. Deby, of course. She's 6' barefoot & at 19 was the best
softball pitcher in Oklahoma.
Melissa, from Las Vegas (originally Montana) came back
to town from a few months in Brazil, where my daughter keeps fixing
friends up with lodging with families who teach em Portuguese, feed em &
have "the adventure of a lifetime" under cheio Lua … the full
moon … for $200 a month. Everyone stays longer than they expected.
Melissa helped & she's tall & beautiful & dark as walnut from the
Monica helped. Back from the Peace Corps. A distance
runner. Part of an inner corps of friends who are as close to a commune
as I've had here in 20 years.
And of course Ania, who played with Zoe & coordinated
the entire thing. We're getting pretty good at moving each other.
I ran. I lay in the sun in Sonoma. I steamed at the Y.
I'm getting ready to face “Prince Charming” in the fall. Life is good.
The State EDD (Employment Development Department – in
charge of unemployment insurance) sent me $51 after holding all my
benefits to pay off an old debt for four months. They also said that I
had $487 more dollars in benefits coming. The next day they sent me a
new bill for over $500.
Oh well. Ania saved me the newspapers while I was
otherwise occupied. I have a mission. San Francisco politics. I do it
for all of the above people plus thousands more who aren't brilliant and
beautiful and young and strong. I read what happened. I read my email. I
go after the bad guys.
When I screw up while going after “bad” guys
I railed last week about the new plans for Harding Golf
Course because I thought the place will cost too much & will be another
draw on the local aquifer.
I was wrong on both counts. Tony Hall's office pointed
out to me that the renovations will cost sixTEEN million & not sixTY
million and that as for all the water for the course/s (Fleming is
included in the rebuild) … they'll continue to use Hetch-Hetchy water.
Now that's two pretty big points to miss & I'm gonna
apologize for purely sloppy research & a tin ear & endorse the project
with a caveat or two.
I think the bill should be paid for by the new corporate
taxes the board is working on to replace the Shorenstein & Pals Rip-Off
of the city vaults last year. And, I want the courses to sponsor an
entire tour for underprivileged kids.
Hey, they admit they're taking millions from funds that
could be used for rec centers in poor neighborhoods. Oh, they'll pay it
back but for awhile it won't be there. Use the kids in every phase of
the game from caddy to mowing lawns to cleaning the johns.
I'd love to see a course run by young people of color.
Home Depot won't promise to hire them when it invades their
neighborhoods. The city should. What a great matter of pride to see a
PGA tour event run entirely by people of color. Only in San Francisco.
Speaking of “Uncle Tom”
Bill Barnes, who is Supervisor Chris Daly's legislative
aide, got called an “Uncle Tom” at a meeting in Bay View last week. Now,
I get called worse than that every day but there is a big difference.
For one thing, I'm often an asshole & deserve to have it so noted. For
another, Barnes is brilliant, peaceful & a dedicated activist who only
wants to help. It is the true “Uncle Toms” who are making the
accusations. Allow me to elaborate.
Uncle Amos Brown
Two weeks ago in the Bay View Willie Ratcliff quoted the
Reverend Amos Brown as demanding that all new jobs in the Bay View and
Western Addition be reserved for black people.
Now, that impressed me. I like lots of Amos Brown's
ideas. I like the idea of bringing a ship or two here to use as floating
SRO's for the homeless. I'm beyond tough love when it comes to shoveling
the drunks & druggies & delusional off the streets. It sounded like he
was onto something again.
Alas, the quote was 9 years old.
1993! Back before Amos Brown became a mouthpiece for
white developers & corporate interest groups. How things change. Two
weeks ago the good reverend called supervisors trying to open the door
to, among other things, the ability to force Home Depot (who refuses to
agree) to hire local people of color in the store … he called the supes
"snakes" for attacking the Home Depot project. It's obviously on the
mayor's list of corporate donors. Them or one of the builders who has
the “in” on the project.
It is sad to see our leaders stray. It is disgusting to
see them sign off on polluting power plants and accept poisoned land as
a base for housing for black people. Then they call Bill Barnes an
“Uncle Tom” for trying to actually help black folks. It is irony. It is
insanity. It is doublespeak.
Warren Hinckle, the RBA & the poor
Non-profit housing is a financial risk. Big time.
Poor people don't tend to have much money. And
politicians like to add requirements to non-profit ventures built on the
public dime so that they do really weird things in the construction &
management process. Like hire poor people to work. Train them too.
Sometimes they don't make the best of employees. Show up drunk or not at
all. Break your heart. Often as not, though, they'll steal your heart.
So many people only need a chance. A job. A place to sleep. To wash.
And, for God's sake, to take a shit!
Have you noticed that not much non-profit housing is
being built in San Francisco? It's because Willie Brown has been giving
developers better deals to build market-rate housing. Working through
Gerald Green, Director of Planning, the mayor built over 3,000 high-end
live/work loft spaces that were not needed and cost a half million
apiece while collecting no impact fees for things like transportation.
Plans approved by Planning get built. Willie Brown
decides which plans (for the most part) get approved by Planning. It is
impressive as hell. And effective.
Soooo, you have the Brown machine lackeys, like Hinckle
of the Examiner & Joe O'Donoghue of the Residential Builders, preaching
about why ANY building is good. Building out precious land to create
unattainable (for the 92 percent of us who can't afford to buy here)
You get the ludicrous picture of the mayor, who controls
99.7 percent of the money spent by government in this town, accusing
(usually through people like Hinckle & Joe Dough) non-profit builders of
not being efficient or profitable. Truth is, the last thing Willie
Brown's people want in San Francisco is more low-rent housing. ’Cause
black & brown & yellow people tend to live in those units.
A racist system. Run by a black man. Only in San
Ammiano scores big time
Gerald Green went before the new Transportation &
Commerce (used to be Land Use) Committee yesterday & he wasn't too happy
to be there.
He was late. Jake McGoldrick (District 1) chairs the
thing & Jake should be the last person complaining about being late.
Anyway, Green spoke about his budget before Jake, vice
chair Tony Hall, and board president & committee member Tom Ammiano & it
went swimmingly well. Even Green admitted (sans glee) that the process
of sending departments before the relevant board committee before they
go before the budget committee works.
Ya know what's happening? The board is going to school
on the mayor's books.
It is utterly fascinating to watch Green try and explain
why one EIR (Environmental Impact Report) might cost $300 grand and
another cost $50 thousand.
Maybe not this year, but next year at the latest, I see
light bulbs popping on over heads all over the city. If not the heads of
board members, certainly many in the TV audience will follow previously
It's good for the city. Finance chair Aaron Peskin
showed up, as did Supe Leland Yee. Usually, it's pulling teeth to get
the supes to “drop in” on committees other than their own.
The new structure is spawning new habits. I likes em.
back & bad: