San Francisco sights
The Eye has many eyes. Julian Cash points his baby blues toward the San
The course of true love…
The on again, off again relationship between Gavin Newsom & the SF Call
is on again. Or maybe it’s off.
Item: The Call most cordially invited the supervisor from District 2 to
join his confrères in a mayoral candidates’ forum. The supervisor
Item: The supervisor most cordially invited the Call to his campaign
kick-off in Bill Graham Auditorium. The Call accepted.
The Call received messages of gratitude from not one but two starry-eyed
volunteers for its attendance at the kick-off do. They appended a cordial
invitation to “bring two friends” to an open house at Newsom campaign
headquarters (1625 Van Ness) on Saturday from noon to 2:00, with the
promise that the supervisor would be there -- He’ll be doing paperwork,
but he’d like to thank you personally.
Item: The supervisor complained to Bruce Pettit that sixteen citizens
and no members of the media showed up at a recent press conference, where
he issued a “white paper” on the subject of the SFPF. The Call complained
supervisor that this particular member of the media was
never invited, cordially or otherwise.
Do you think he’s seeing someone else?
Some New-som news
Despite the Chron’s best efforts, the supervisor seems to feel that the
media are neglecting him. Can’t have that. Today’s good deed will be a
good proper dose of attention for the poor laddie.
The Eye shows no favoritism. Next week, Angela. Or maybe Susan. Or… ?
The fates will decide.
What did he say?
What if you gave a speech and nobody came? Or paid it much mind?
On Saturday, March 8, the supervisor from District 2 delivered his
first words as a mayoral candidate. And the media didn’t pay it much mind,
except when the audience embraced the promise, “No tolerance for
They ignored smooth phrases that rose like a swarm of tadpoles and
wiggled their way across the partly filled hall:
We can’t make a better San Francisco if we refuse to let San
Franciscans buy their own homes.
Too many people are taking the opportunity of the [SFPD] crisis to
make a political point.
The world looks to San Francisco because of its diversity, which
will be a godsend in the coming century.
The Eye will ignore them, too, confident that they’ll grow into fat
healthy frogs over the months to come.
But the candidate who the Reverend Cecil Williams prays will “soar all
over the community and touch the hearts of man”; the candidate who State
Senator Jackie Speier says will “challenge conventional wisdom in San
Francisco” -- who writes the speeches for these people?-- wedged a number
of concrete programs between the rhetorical flourishes. It’s our happy
duty to examine some of them.
Paying for the pools
& Park, Newsom says, pays nearly $1 million a year to collect some
$300,000 in swimming pool fees. It’s time for creative thinking: Imagine
all the money we’d save if -- Ta-da! -- we made the pools free!
Fast forward by phone to Becky Ballinger, Rec & Park’s public relations
officer. Newsom did his homework, she says. He called to check on the
figures. Rec & Park does indeed pay $900,000 to collect $350,000 in pool
fees. Close enough. That $900,000 goes for cashiers. “Real people, with
real jobs,” she adds.
Under orders to pare its expenditures, the department has done some
creative thinking of its own. It plans to replace these “real people” with
a mechanical system similar to the one BART uses, offering retraining and
assistance in a valiant effort to find new “real jobs.” Already
understaffed, it predicts that the present $350,000 will actually double,
as fewer swimmers will be able to walk by an empty ticket window without
paying. And to perform the cashiers’ customer service roles and better
watch the swimmers, the department hopes to hire a few more lifeguards,
including junior lifeguards drawn from high school swim teams.
Ballinger sighs. Even with stringent measures like these, the
department’s cost-cutting is $1.1 million short. What do you do when
people make up 76% of your budget? These are “real people, with real
jobs.” Needed: a real magician.
A diverting emergency
Create an emergency room diversion plan, says Newsom, reserving a separate
recovery space for chronic homeless alcoholics who now take time &
attention away from other SFGH’s patients. Make it a cooperative venture:
persuade nine local hospitals to chip in.
Ta-da indeed. It’s a good plan, one that Newsom’s been involved in
since at least June 2001, when he called for a task force to look into the
problem. Sophie Maxwell soon came aboard, followed by Mark Leno, Aaron
Peskin, and Tony Hall. In January 2003, when the task force, headed by
Kaiser emergency physician Dr. Scott Campbell,
described the situation to the supes, Chron reporter Ilene Lelchuk
commented, “The task force's findings ultimately raise fears about how an
emergency health system pushed to the brink on an average day will perform
during a crisis such as a flu epidemic, earthquake or terrorist attack.”
The Eye is confused. Here is a good plan, on which Newsom labored long
and successfully, apparently drawing in a number of worthy collaborators.
Why present it in the future conditional tense, like a recent brainstorm?
Why not take credit for a job well done? And why not share the credit with
the other members of the team?
Care for Prop N
candidacy rides on the coattails of the successful Care not Cash
initiative. Starry-eyed cheerleaders suggest that if he won one, he can
win the other. Ta-da! Good positive energy!
Good positive energy gone sour: On April 2 at the Board of Supervisors,
he says, “they’ll try to stop us.”
Circle the wagons! What’s that all about?
Turns out that several weeks ago Jake McGoldrick called for a hearing
on how the city plans to implement Prop N. Seems a fair question, given
the scope of the changes involved. Why not hear from the folks from DHS
and DPH, who will be carrying the ball? So Board prez Matt Gonzalez
scheduled it for the first available Rules Committee slot, on April 2,
with probable City Services hearings later. Of course the
anti-N public is preparing to
attend. But you can imagine the look on Rules chair Tony Hall’s face when
he heard the suggestion that his committee was trying to “kill” a
And after the speech…
in the Tenderloin last week sprouted cherry- and blueberry-colored
tendrils. Hundreds of long flyers dangled in doorways and spilled onto the
sidewalk, announcing in English, Spanish, and Japanese, “You’ve earned it…
now collect it! A public service message at tax time, directing low-income
people toward information about possible tax credits.
This particular public service message was “paid for by Gavin Newsom
for Mayor.” But in case you’re wondering, a disclaimer at the bottom adds,
has not in any way endorsed Newsom or any other candidate for Mayor.”
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