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April 18, 2003


An Open Letter to the Citizen Action Network and Supervisor Tony Hall

Dear Mr. Malloy,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding my position on this ballot initiative. I am broadly supportive of Tony Hall and am pleased to contribute to this discussion.

First, I’d like to clarify something said in your introductory remarks below. I disagree that San Franciscans experienced “anarchy” at disruptive war protests. Protestors who destroyed property committed criminal acts and should be prosecuted and pay restitution. The term “anarchy” does not necessarily refer to criminal behavior. Criminals exist in environments of big and little government. However, only with big government do criminals get to run the country.

As for the protestors who held up traffic, the way I see it is that the streets are public places available for public expression whether the public like it or not. That’s the situation with public anything. If the streets were owned by the property owners, they could manage them as they choose, establish the parameters and hire their own security. But in both the public and private sphere, my Libertarian priorities place Liberty over order. After all, under Mussolini and Hitler, the trains ran on time.

But that doesn’t mean I cannot sympathize with those disrupted by the protestors. It’s too bad that protestors chose to disrupt everyone in the area and not just those few who support war. While not the same magnitude, this is the equivalent of dropping a cluster bomb on a village containing some military personnel mixed with civilians. Personally, I suggest protestors focus on the State and Federal Buildings, symbols of the real origin of war. War is after all, the health of the state and its horrors the state’s greatest achievement. That is not a compliment.

Those are the reasons I cannot support Supervisor Tony Hall’s initiative. The use of police force and heavy fines to prevent non-violent disruptive expression on public streets values order over Freedom. I cannot accept that. Privatize the streets, and leave it up to the property owners. Then the problem will be theirs, the way it should be. Personally, I trust the property owners more than the San Francisco police and City Hall. How about you?

Michael F. Denny

Libertarian Candidate for San Francisco Mayor