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From the Outside Looking In


By Alexa Llewellyn



February 10, 2003

We Have Met the Enemy ¾ And It Ain’t Us

There’s a rumor that the San Francisco Democratic County Council is writing a business plan.

Despite the present hard economic times, this business plan is not designed to figure out how the city can meet its $300 million shortfall. Or how the city can find ways of getting more revenues into its coffers to fund vital services.

In an era of rising health costs, this plan will not even mention how the city can provide health care to the thousands of families that are uninsured.

Even though hundreds of people now live in our streets, it will not address the issues surrounding this homeless population.

It will not even provide support for the altruistic self-interest of the Democrats to bring unregistered voters into the electoral process.

Rather, the sole purpose of this plan is to outdo and “cut the wind out of the sails” of the San Francisco Greens.

Let’s go over the facts, shall we? Thirty-six locally elected officials serve the city of San Francisco. This includes the School Board, Community College Board, City Hall, State Senate, and State Assembly. Only four of these positions are held by non-Democrats. Three are Green.

Yes, these three Greens are not just ordinary politicans — but are rather smart, thoughtful, principled political leaders with long and promising political futures in front of them. (I concede that point to you, Dems, with a great deal of joy.)  But in any sport (including politics), 36-3 is considered a rout.

Earth to San Francisco Democrats: The Greens are not your enemy.

A $300 million deficit in our city’s budget is the enemy.

The presence of people starving in our city’s streets, shelters, and homes is a true crisis.

So is the anguish of sick people (including small children) waiting for hours for health care at San Francisco General Hospital because of budget cuts.

How to adequately teach our city’s future leaders in overcrowded schools that lack books and resources is a genuine dilemma in our current times. Providing support for underpaid, overworked teachers who are expected to provide pencils, paper, and other supplies for their students is a challenge that both the Democrats and the Greens should be addressing at this very moment.

The Greens, like the Democrats, are a group of dedicated and active voters.

On most issues, they work side by side with the Democrats. Together, they worked for many of the same issues on the November ballot.  There were Greens working for Hansen and Dufty in the December runoff.

To be sure, the two parties don't agree on every single issue. That's what makes a democracy. I believe that the choice of a political party is even mentioned (affirmatively) in the U.S. Constitution.

But the members of these parties are united in wanting a better city. This, in fact, was often the reason that they became active in politics. To help create a better San Francisco. A city that feeds all who are hungry. A city that provides mental health care and drug/alcohol rehabilitation on-demand. A city that houses everyone who wants shelter. A city that can assure the services of a public defender with time and resources to  accurately represent everyone who is accused of a crime.

Most of us (Democrats and Greens) moved to San Francisco because it held out a promise of compassion, vision, and leadership. The city was reputedly outspoken in its determination to take up the cause of the underdog, to give voice to the unrepresented, and to offer care to those who needed it.

Fighting over small pieces of a political pie diverts energy from the fight that really matters — the welfare of our city's residents. Rather, fighting stifles the vision and leadership needed to surmount the crisis of a $300 million deficit. Only by working together can we continue to move San Francisco toward the vision that we (Democrats and Greens) all share.