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Monday, May 31, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown




– Daily (uncensored) look at the SF political scene

I have a bunch of friends…

No, really I do! I don't know why. You'd think people would be more discerning.

I can be something of a brute when dealing with politicians and greedy barbarians but I'm actually a real generous guy who can make a stone wall laugh when I'm on my game. Anyway, as you know, the Call will be offline for June & I gotta write, so my buddy Phil set up the website above for me. I have no idea whatsoever of how to access the thing, let alone how to insert my daily spin, but I have until tomorrow to learn. I'm told the site has a bunch of my old columns sitting around. Other friends talk of adding graphics and even a sound track? That’s good, because I'm a caveman who still has a binder of carbon paper on a shelf somewhere. Sooooo, check me out & send your usual threats and hugs & I'll return same.

Speaking of uncensored…

It will be good to see you guys in Sacramento!

– Chair Newsom to Assembly-bound Yee & Leno after 5 hours of debate

Neighborhood Services & Recreation Committee Chair Gavin Newsom hosted Supervisor Leland Yee's attempt to divide the east & west sides of San Francisco into separate school districts yesterday. It was interesting to watch the young (34-year-old) rich white boy referee the attempt by the racist political hack to secede the largely Chinese western side of the city from the black & brown eastern portion.

8th District supervisor Mark Leno, the city's smoothest gay politician (and that's saying something), provided a counterpoint to the Yee rabble-rousing with a resolution proposing that the School District renounce vivisection. Leno won the round. Yee couldn't vote & Vice-Chair Leno was joined by Chair Newsom & committee member Jake McGoldrick, who agreed to send the “unified field” proposal to the full board for approval. Yee's resolution went forward with no recommendation.

In 5 hours, you'd think someone who taught a couple of years for SFUSD might have had an opinion about the competing proposals. Well, I did and I do.

District juggles to hide its failure

The test scores at SFUSD should be soaring! Most of the poor scores in any big city district come from poor black & brown students who often have either no parent or the worst parents imaginable. Drunken, drugged, dejected, delinquent & often detained in da pokey … not the best role models. In San Francisco Willie's helped by forcing thousands of em out of town with his gentrification program. All the while this is happening, the School District is simply not reporting thousands of more scores (they're allowed to do that to a certain degree but SFUSD really pushed it to the max). You'd think their bottom line would improve. Nope. I can tell you why too.

San Francisco Unified's ghetto schools are the educational equivalent of the corner of 6th & Market. Out of control. Be a teacher there. Have a student tell you to "Get fucked!!" Send him to the office. He comes back in 10 minutes and says the same thing again. Office later informs you that because the kid is black, you have to put up with that shit. Reason? Well, they'll sue us for being racist because more of “them” get expelled than the white or yellow or brown kids. Result? No learning for any of the class (academic anyway).

Cowardly administrators. Cooked books. Filth? Imagine places where kids think nothing of urinating in the corner of a stairwell or rubbing excrement on the bathroom walls. Then they complain about the condition of the place!! And the district protects them. Makes money from them cause they get paid by head count. Oh yeah, it's all true.

Having tried everything but real discipline, the district now has a hair-brained scheme to bring in thousands of well-parented, hard-working Asian kids from the Sunset & the Richmond to hike the overall numbers for the worst schools. No matter if the kids must travel hours daily, be threatened & abused. Hell no, these schools get bonuses for bringing up their test scores.

It reeks. But, as usual, I've found a way to be opposed to both sides. Yee's idea reeks too. It is so blatantly racist you'd swear it was written by Strom Thurmond & the “separate but equal” gang.

My preference? There's a lot to be said for home schooling. That's a last, desperate measure. I'd prefer to see the district exploded into around 300 neighborhood schools that are run on state charters extended to parents & local citizens. Giant charter corporations are as bad as huge urban districts, or worse. Smaller is better in education. At least K-12. Same teachers. Same cooks & janitors. Same kids. Different result. Really. No district dead wood padding their statistics at the kids' expense.

Listen, take it from a guy who has taught every color & income group. There ain't no super race! Give me ANY average kid who pays attention and at least one supportive parent or guardian & we'll send that kid to any of the best universities on earth. The San Francisco School District sucks.

Rumor afloat - call me a liar

An interesting tale appeared amongst my e-mail today & I cannot resist passing it on. Word is that the Examiner's owners, the Fang family, has literally put a group of city politicians on the “do not harm” list. An actual list! Hard to believe? The list ranges from Da Mayor (there's a shocker) & runs all the way through John Burton, Nancy Pelosi, and Terence Hallinan, down to Gavin Newsom. I'll run this past a couple of folks over there whom I've met while we buried our respective dead over a few stiff drinks & see what I get.

San Francisco FD gets B & A

That means the Fire Department is “Bloated & Arrogant.” Appearing for the 3rd time before Chair Tony Hall's Rules & Audits Committee, the Fire Department said that despite the hard times the rest of the city has fallen upon, they cannot see how they can possibly cut a single dollar from their budget. Not one buck. Nada. Nuttin.

Can you believe that? Now, I was only a firefighter for 5 years and it was only a small suburban department outside St. Louis, Missouri. But I did complete the coursework in Fire Technology at the local junior college on the GI bill & … well, your mechanics don't need to be firefighters. That's stupid. Your dispatchers & ambulance personnel don't need to be firefighters. The people who teach first aid & emergency preparedness classes don't need to be firefighters (although retired firefighters would be great). The people who take attendance & work in the office don't need to be firefighters. In San Francisco? They ALL are. Millions are wasted & that's just the tip of the iceberg. The department never gave an inch.

I've never seen that before. Hell, even the cops give a little bit. It's gonna be fun to watch this command staff run over Aaron Peskin when they drag their money wagon past the Budget Committee. My guess is Vice-Chair Peskin will wear a little American flag lapel pin and salute a lot.

Ahhhh, Springtime, sunshine, beautiful people sunbathing in the parks and a 10,000-page budget to study. It doesn't get much better than this.

Remember, starting tomorrow, June 1st



stand & deliver! sobone@juno.com