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May 16, 2003


Michael Denny: An Open Letter to the SF Chronicle Insight Section

Dear Insight,

It’s too bad Michael Yaki chose to “make book” on the mayoral race rather than discuss issues in his May 11th article SF mayoral hopefuls make a run for the roses.” Sadly, this is normal in San Francisco’s self-destructive political environment where games are easier and more entertaining than appealing to the better instincts of a largely apathetic and uninformed public.

But a cool wind is blowing across San Francisco’s recently balmy landscape that signals tough times ahead. Like in California’s gubernatorial race, where economic fantasy trumped reality…until the race was over; San Francisco’s leading mayoral candidates also prefer to not discuss the severity of our problems. Instead, candidates would rather seduce sleepy SF voters with reassuring words about how we can continue business as usual and avoid our day of reckoning if only we would accelerate public spending and collect more taxes.

While leading candidates are “cautiously optimistic” about our short-term economic prospects in public, City Controller Ed Harrington isn’t expecting anything until 2008. So what’s the establishment’s solution? They are busy lobbying Sacramento to allow cities to charge income taxes, currently illegal. My solution is to tell every department in City Hall they have 15% less and then let the managers manage. And if they can’t figure it out, they should be replaced. When City Hall’s revenue plummeted 30% in 2001, instead of acting responsibly, they spent our surplus. The following year, they cut only 4%. If businesses operated like City Hall, we’d all be out of business.

Michael Yaki, himself a San Francisco political casualty, might be right about my odds. But if I go down, at least I will have honestly given my best to promote ideas San Franciscans will need most in the tough days ahead. The message of personal and economic freedom with corresponding responsibility can inspire tolerance and cooperation to heal a troubled and divisive San Francisco. Also, small government and free markets will lead to a San Francisco renaissance, whereas more taxes and government mandates will generate crime, more poverty, and unemployment. If this message is ignored, San Franciscans will pay dearly in the days ahead with the loss of wealth and Freedom they once enjoyed. Faced with this, why wouldn’t San Franciscans select a mayor that only wants “choice” for citizens to do what they want rather than to take orders from special interests lurking around leading candidates?

When Mr. Yaki left office, I wonder what odds he would have given that a Green would soon be president of the Board of Supervisors. So if I don’t get out of the gate, it won’t be because I’m Libertarian as he suggests. The reason will be that too many San Franciscans preferred to “make book” than get real. Unless this attitude changes in the public and media, I give San Franciscans the same odds of winning in this election that Michael Yaki gave me.

Michael Denny

Libertarian Candidate for San Francisco Mayor


(415) 986-7677 x123