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Archives - 2004

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The week of December 13, 2004

Dreams Deferred, Dreams Won

By Kim Knox

American Women dismantles the myth that Rosa Parks simply had a hard day in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955.

Three Stories, One Moral - Or, It’s All a Matter of Scale

By Betsey Culp

We live in in a city whose world-renowned symbol is a monument to the automobile.

The Courage to Risk Everything

By Kim Knox

"The results announced by the Central Electoral Commission are rigged. Do not believe them."

“My first job was to remodel a kitchen”

Walter Wong interviewed by Matt Gonzalez

MG: I thought it was interesting how during the mayor’s race, after you decided to support me in the race, Newsom started attacking you. Is it true he sought your support?

WW: Yeah, he came to see me many times to get my support.

Instant Runoff Voting - A Progress Report — December 2004

New exit poll study of Ranked Choice Voting reports positive results - Large majorities prefer and understand system; some differences by racial and ethnic groups

From the office of Supervisor Matt Gonzalez

Only 13% of Asians and 15% of Chinese speakers reported a lack of understanding of RCV, compared to 12% of whites and 23% of Spanish speakers.

Success for ranked choice voting in San Francisco… But potential trouble on the horizon from opponents

By Steven Hill

Just as San Francisco has led the nation in so many ways, from gay marriage to cutting edge computer and biotechnologies, San Francisco now is leading the United States with modern democratic methods.

Letter from Santa Clara - Sandra Tsing Loh deconstructs "The Nutcracker"

By Bill Costley

Sandra sulks alone in her room eating big bags of Fritos, knowing she's forever doomed to being an almost-anonymous ballet-cow.

The week of December 6, 2004

Salvation Brought to You by Pseudo-Dummies

By Bill Costley

What’s up with those Gideon Bibles distributed free to all hotels & motels, bus-stations, etc., aren’t they part of a long-ongoing bibli-material strategy to force this vast land to become a de-facto Christian Nation of Otherwise Illiterate Insomniacs?

The Apocalypse Is Just Around the Corner - Tim LaHaye’s “Glorious Appearing”

By Betsey Culp

Imagine 400 pages that alternate between scenes from a very gory video game and excerpts from sermons.

Fighting City Hall with a British Accent

By Kim Knox

Almost every government plan started as a quick decision by a very busy (and important) person (mayor, supervisor, department head, etc.) several years earlier.

Letter from Santa Clara - “Ex-hackie Santas Winter…Here!”

By Bill Costley

He said Safeway had just told the Sallies’ Santas to buzz off, so he was quickly relocated to an Albertson’s in Santa Clara.

The week of November 29, 2004

Pictures in Our Heads - Decision-making in a Complex World

By Betsey Culp

Some of the city’s finest recalled the bad old days when officialdom was reserved for straight white males. It was, after all, Hongisto — a straight white male — who had fought most conspicuously to open up first the Police and then the Sheriff’s Department.

From the Archives: Assessing Hongisto - Supervisor Matt Gonzalez interviews Assessor Candidate Dick Hongisto (January 14, 2002)

The Bay Times issued an edition lampooning me on the cover. At the time, a lot of the officers working to stop the rioting were taking a lot of abuse everyday they went to work being called names, spit at, and having bottles thrown at them.

Good as Gold

By Kim Knox

Sometimes our allies decide on a different path. Or they disagree with us and choose to work on the other side of an issue.

Happy Thanksgiving — Your car has been towed!

By Kaye Griffin

San Francisco authorities went out towing cars on Thanksgiving day. Who could possibly have ordered the Department of Parking and Traffic or the police to send out their brave officers on a search-and-destroy mission to tag and tow on Thanksgiving day!

My Aqu@rium Adventure

By Bill Costley

There's something to be said for being wheeled about at eye-to-nipple-level of young moms who are busily pushing baby carriages. Especially if you're a reasonably fit looking 62 year old semi-grey-haired male.

The week of November 22, 2004

Two Sides of a Coin - Middle America and Iran

By Kim Knox

These books talk about the lessons that fundamentalists in the U.S. and Iran have learned about using values to reach the electorate.

Remembering Margaret Hassan

By Lucy Colvin

I am mourning for Margaret Hassan. The day after her capture her picture stared out at us from the front page of the morning newspaper.

The $20,000 Incumbent Bargain

By Steven Hill

What if you could pay $20,000, and for that modest sum end up with lifetime employment at a salary of $158,000 annually, with the best health and retirement benefits, frequent travel to Washington DC, and staff and paid expenses, all on the public's dime?

What's Happening at Laguna Honda

By Michael Lyon

The Health Department claims it is expanding the mission of Laguna Honda to care for new vulnerable populations, but this is a poor excuse.

Fixing? Helping? Or Serving?

By Dr. Stan Goldberg

The Guest House is a restored Victorian home in San Francisco with space for five residents who are not expected to live for more than six months.

Letter from Santa Clara - No Gropenatorial Hypermuscularism

By Bill Costley

You see, we just don’t do hard, here, in NorCal (as they call it here), despite both Dubya & The Gropenator’s hypermuscular rhetoric.

The week of November 15, 2004

Fallout from an Ill Wind - San Francisco after November 2

By Betsey Culp

Chris Carlsson's The Political Edge creates a picture of the city where Gonzalez’s candidacy was possible.

Ignoring Tired Pleas from the Democratic Party

By Matt Gonzalez

Democrats are on notice that they have only four years to fix elections or suffer future defeats — regardless of how “evil” the Republican candidate.

Let’s Not Squander the Next Four Years

By Charles Kalish

Our victories in this election have handed us a reprieve — a second opportunity to make this truly a progressive city.

Hidden Voices - The Realities of Homeless Families and Homeless Immigrants

Prepared by the Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco, November 2004

We run the risk of falsely classifying all homeless people as substance abusers or mentally ill. We run the risk of incorrectly conceiving of homelessness as stemming primarily from individual personal problems.

Letter from Santa Clara - The A-, B-, & C-Vitamin Societies

By Bill Costley

Back in the late '60s, I used to ask myself whether I wanted to live in: (A) a just society, or, (B) just one where my activity would really make a difference.

The week of November 1, 2004

Twas the Night Before the Election

By Betsey Culp

(With apologies to somebody)

Twas the night before the election, when all over town...

Watching City Hall #326 (10-28-04)

By h. brown

I have no idea who is going to win any office, anywhere, come Tuesday.

Letter from Santa Clara - Belly-Dancing Tooo Hallowe’en

By Bill Costley

The dancers walked like Egyptians, pointed and struck like asps, dove like herons, etc. demonstrating that De Nile was overflowing their collective minds.

A Tale of Two Wars

By Howard Williams

Afghanistan is not a utopia, nor is it on its way to becoming one. But it is an independent country and an ally.

Iraq is a nation with the world's second largest proven oil reserves.

The week of October 24, 2004

Where I Stand

By Rose Tsai

I'm tired of being afraid because our future is too valuable for someone else to waste.

How to Pick the Best Supervisor in a District Race

By Tys Sniffen

Do they know the who, the why, and the what’s been tried on the issues of the district?

About Prop. 63

From Jennifer Baity Carlin

It's important that as many people watch this animation featuring Ed Asner urging support for Prop 63 as possible.

A Little Pre-History - Imagining a Gonzalez Campaign

By Sue Peters

He gave me about three answers: "Not in this city. Maybe back in Texas." and "I'd rather run for governor." and "I couldn't get the money."

Letter from Santa Clara - “Just Whose Usable Past?”

By Bill Costley

When a grammar-school classmate showed me his great-great grandfather’s dark blue civil war jacket (with a bloody bullet-hole in its chest), I was astonished. It was just not part of my usable past.

The week of October 18, 2004

This & That

By Betsey Culp

10.24.04: When Rebecca Silverberg goes ballistic, and Bernal goes gaga

10.25.04: When D2 courts Arts Forum SF, and artists rule

10.26.04: When Ranked Choice Voting is explained, and Dorkery is unmasked

The week of October 18, 2004

Homeless Shelter Residents Displaced - Episcopal Sanctuary Closed for Renovations

From the Coalition on Homelessness

Most of the Sanctuary's residents were stunned to learn that they had less than 24 hours notice before they were required to relocate to makeshift accommodations at other shelters.

Tort Reform or Medical Reform - Medical Malpractice Protection for Whom?

By Michael Lyon

Business and government plan huge health cuts, which would cause many more injuries and deaths.

Strengthen Sunshine Laws- YES on Prop. 59

By Richard Knee

A measure on the statewide ballot, Proposition 59, would fix into the state constitution the principle of the public's right to know.

The Democracy USA Agenda - Next Steps After the 2004 Elections

By Steven Hill

Even if John Kerry is elected, that will not change the fact that representative democracy in the United States is severely broken.

Letter from Santa Clara - “What’s your Dream Job?”

By Bill Costley

Yesterday I caused a stir at a breakfast meeting when I called the question “What is your dream job?” infantile.


October 12, 2004

The October 4 issue of the New Yorker contains a profile of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, written by Tad Friend, a resident of Brooklyn, New York. Here is the Call's response:

Letter from California, Part 1 - To Tad Friend, c/o The New Yorker

By Betsey Culp

Wherever you were, I don’t live there.

Letter from California, Part 2 - To Tad Friend, c/o The New Yorker

By Betsey Culp

I had forgotten, until the vice presidential debates, how easily the subject of same-sex marriage makes even articulate speakers like John Edwards squirm.

Letter from California, Part 3 - To Tad Friend, c/o The New Yorker

By Betsey Culp

Business leaders, grasping every possible lifeline, demanded cleaner, less intimidating streets — and cleaner, less intimidating people on them.

Letter from California, Part 4 - To Tad Friend, c/o The New Yorker

By Betsey Culp

It’s easy to find a parallel between the mayor’s forays into low-income areas and Kennedy’s explorations of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the 1960s.

October 4, 2004

Harvesting the Grassroots - Life as a Democratic Fundraiser

By David Freedlander

We are given our assignments and I head out to the wealthy peninsula enclave of Hillsborough, mostly “red” territory but still firmly enough in the Bay Area that it lies as a potential gold mine if you knock on the right door at the right hour.

Reading At Risk - Prime Time Brain Drain

By Sue Cauthen

The widespread furor over a National Endowment for the Arts study which found that book reading is seriously in decline continues to build momentum.

Transportation for the 21st Century

By Susan King

I am a transportation activist and lifelong cyclist who does not own a car. I am dedicated to changing the way we view transportation.

For your amusement - the following has been making the rounds of the internet:

A Day in the Life of a Neo-Conservative 

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

September 28, 2004

Putting America Right

By Howard Williams

I did say that this war is bringing out our best side, too. And after we do recognize and forgive our “worsts,” we still have to use our “bests” to get us out of this mess.

Letter from Santa Clara - Running, Jumping & Standing Still for City Council

By Bill Costley 

Declared nativist Todd C. O'Donnell (running for Seat 7) gave away black & white pens with the tag-line "The American Man"; his flyer sports an American flag. His bizarrity, however, is his obsession with Star Wars.

September 24, 2004

A Tool Is a Tool Is a Tool, Continued - Prop. 62: When Is a Primary Not a Primary?

By Betsey Culp

Many of the major donors to the Californians for an Open Primary PAC served on Schwarzenegger’s transition team.

Proposition 62 - Reform or Deform?

By Steven Hill and Roy Ulrich

This could result in a decline in racial minorities being elected, and the California legislature being less diverse.

September 20, 2004

Party Time - What happened after 2000?

By Betsey Culp

It’s easy to imagine the consternation of the Dems when they realized they might lose a major urban stronghold as well.

District Elections, à la 2000

In fall 2000 the SFCall published a weekly series that explored each district and its candidates.

Thank you Izora for being a ton of fun

By Allen White

The gay liberation movement brought tens of thousands to San Francisco’s Castro district. Certainly one of many compelling reasons was the music of Sylvester and those incredible singers, Izora Rhodes and Martha Wash.

Letter from Santa Clara - Paris: Living with Neo-Terror

By Bill Costley

The Brits ought to tell us to shut & shape up: what they went thru in WW2 was more spectacular than 9/11 by many magnitudes.

August 27, 2004

A Tool Is a Tool Is a Tool, Continued - When Citizens Become Customers

By Betsey Culp

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Customer Service Plan for the United States of America.

Rocking the Boat — Women’s Equality Day - “There would be nothing like this happen if you would stay at home.”

The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic."

Letter from Santa Clara - Into a Luso Zone

By Bill Costley

We've moved to Santa Clara, California three times now, twice into apartments, but this time, we've bought a house in what we now realize was once (and still is) a Luso/Portuguese Zone.

August 20, 2004

August 20, 2004: A New & Improved San Francisco Call

Here, for your kind attention, is a new publishing concept: a weekly series of genuine “Letters from California.”

A Tool Is a Tool Is a Tool - Reinventing the Executive Branch

Betsey Culp

There’s a myth flying around the country that all our social ills can be alleviated by applying a few good business principles to government. Like a moth near a flame, this myth is headed for disaster. 

The Great Endarkenment - Placing 9/11 in the Historical Context of “Barbarism vs. Civilization”

Gray Brechin

I said that the United States was the product of the eighteenth century Enlightenment. What we are seeing in the twenty-first century is The Great Endarkenment.

Salsa and Apple Pie - An American-Mexican Union in the Making

Steven Hill

By 2050 most of the U.S. will look like California today. And California will look more like… Mexico.

5.28.04 What the dormouse said -- Auditing the Planning Department

That mythical land known as the San Francisco City Hall is a very sociable place. On the first Friday of every month, the halls fill to the ignition point with alcohol fumes emanating from a roisterous art opening in one of the supervisor’s offices. But other events also enliven the space under the Big Dome.

Last Friday morning, for example, there was the Board of Supervisors City Planning Audit Select Committee Tea-Party. Were you there? The Supervisor from District 12 dropped by and filed this report:

5.21.04 A new bestiary -- Total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs

Y’all may have been cheated of the season’s comic tour de force.

I planned to begin this column, “Budding fiction writers should pay a visit to San Francisco’s City Hall, which offers material for half a dozen Dickenses or Eggarses.” As a rollicking example, I planned to include a description of today’s Board of Supervisors inquiry into the operations of the Planning Department.

5.14.04 Good Night! Which put the Candle out? -- A tale of aid for AIDS

The Mother Of Everything walked slowly into the observation room and lowered herself onto the platform in the center.

“Ohhh,” she grumbled, sliding off her sandals. “What’s the good of being a goddess if you can’t keep your feet from hurting?”

Gabriel stood nearby, fanning her softly with his wings. “Have you tried disembodiment?” he suggested.

5.7.04 From these honored dead -- When absentee voters become heroes

In the grand scheme of things, does local politics really matter while all hell is breaking loose in Iraq? Yes, it does, probably more than ever.