Tag Archives: Bevan Dufty

Stop the circus at SF City Hall, please

On behalf of the City’s small businesses, I am pleading with the Board of Supervisors to declare a moratorium on headline-grabbing legislation.  We simply can’t afford it.  Small businesses are still fighting through the economic downturn. At the same time, the City is struggling to close a $500 million budget deficit, laying off thousands of workers and fighting to keep vital services available.  In this climate, there’s just no room for politics-as-usual.  But they’re at it again.  This time, the Small Business Commission on Monday will decide whether to support Mayor Gavin Newsom’s idea that small business owners who sell mobile phones need  to post San Francisco-specific product labels for customers.  In the words of one public health official, if the government starts requiring warnings on everything with undefined risks, everything “from apples to xylophones” would have to be labeled.  The last thing we need is the City getting into the business of mandating product labels in convenience stores, dry cleaners, and restaurants for all kinds of different products.  What’s next?  Will I need to get my labels approved by the government with information on what ingredients are in the hair product I sell? As many as 15,000 city workers are facing lay-offs.  Nine hundred school workers, including 10 percent of the City’s teachers, are facing lay-offs.  Metered parking may be extended to Sundays.  The City’s police force faces $30 million in cuts.  We just don’t have the luxury of spending money on silly nannny-state ordinances.  San Francisco politics is a circus.  We all know that.  We all know that won’t change.  But on behalf of small businesses, we’re asking that our political leaders stop the merry-go-round at least until we’ve weathered the economic storm.  

Joe Alioto Veronese Endorses and San Francisco Unites for Mark Leno

( – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

Joe Alioto Veronse Ensdorses Mark LenoAt a press conference this morning, San Francisco Police Commissioner and former Democratic candidate Joe Alioto Veronese threw his support to Mark Leno for State Senate.

Veronese was joined by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assessor Recorder Phil Ting, School Board President Mark Sanchez, Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Sean Elsbernd, former Treasurer Susan Leal, and Firefighters Union President John Hanley.

Leno also announced the weekend endorsements of the California Nurses Association and the California Teachers Association. Leno spoke on how this is clearly a two person race between Leno and former Assemblyman Joe Nation. The campaign’s momentum since the CDP convention highlights how the progressive community is uniting to keep this seat from falling into the hands of a candidate who doesn’t even support single-payer health insurance and voted against Sheila Kuehl’s bill.

“As we look forward to the election of former State Senator Jackie Speier to congress tomorrow — fingers are crossed, we think she’ll do very well — I’m reminded that when Senator Speier was moving forward her landmark privacy legislation, consumer privacy legislation, that Joe Nation again not only would not support it, but was carrying legislative water for the banking and credit card industry that Jackie was trying to reform.”

Leno went on to remind people of Nation telling the papers that it was a “mistake” for Mayor Newsom to courageously advance marriage equality. As the sponsor of the first resolution in the country opposing invading Iraq, Leno also reminded voters of Nation’s opposition to a timetable for withdraw.

Video and more pics after the jump.

Mayor Gavin Newsom

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Supports Mark Leno

Assessor Recorder Phil Ting

Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting Supports Mark Leno

Mark Sanchez, who pointed out that he’s a Green Party member and they don’t usually support Democrats but he’s supporting Mark Leno.

School Board President Mark Sanchez Supports Mark Leno

You too can Mark Leno.

SF: What needs to happen next Halloween

Castro halloweenI strolled through the Castro last night (don’t even ask about the costume) and was, well, somewhat horrified. Not from the scary costumes or the violence ravaging the streets, but from the streams and streams of police patrolling the streets and the general malaise of the crowd.  Was there any violence? Well, no. But there was also, as the Home for Halloween campaign so visibly pointed out, there was no fun either.  Shops boarded up their windows with metal and plywood (see picture), as if they expected looting and garbage trucks through their window. This was not my city. Not the city of liberation that people have flocked to for so long. And most definitely not the San Francisco that I want to see in the future.

A brief recap to inform those not from the City. In the last two years there have been a number of violent incidents. There was a stabbing a couple of years ago, and some shootings last year.  It was clear that something needed to be changed. I cannot fault the Mayor, the Police, or Supervisor Dufty for wanting to do something. Last year was a baby step towards canceling the event, the streets were swept at 11PM (!?) and people told to leave before  the party had already started, and that’s when the violence began. So, there were clearly two choices: (A) Shut down the event or (B) Work to make it safer using known crowd control techniques. Clearly (A) has the effect of limiting violence and protecting the community, but couldn’t we do the same with (B) without losing the revenue and visibility for the City that Halloween brings?

Look, it is plainly possible to have a big Halloween party in a largely gay residential neighborhood, we need look no further than New York City to see how that should happen. They’ve been doing it for 34 years now, and once again it was successful. To say it can’t be done is misleading at best. Do we face different challenges than NYC? Sure. But can we have a safe event? Of course, we have to.

The long-term effects of telling people to stay away from our city for One Halloween might be minimal. We’ll likely recover from the lost revenue and the City spending to put hundreds, if not over a thousand, cops in the Castro. But we cannot continue to cower in fear of our own shadow. Of people who come here from outside of the City to harass the LGBT community. Our community is stronger than that, our City is stronger than that. So, over the flip is just one man’s opinion, my own, formed with the help of many community leaders on this issue, on how we could do this better next year.

Even Supervisor Dufty realizes that we cannot repeat what happened this year again next year:

“Next year it’s on a Friday,” said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the Castro and who crusaded to close the neighborhood to partiers after nine people were shot last year. “And there is no way that Halloween on a Friday is going to be a non-event. I have no illusion about that.

“In fact, I’ve already told the bars that I will not ask them to close next year.”(SF Chron 10.31.07) 

So, what do we do next year?

1) Have a parade.  SF Pride is one of the biggest LGBT pride events, if not the biggest, in the world. And yet it is safe every year. Sure, some hecklers come to protest the “agenda” but the party moves on with some strange costumes, even.  Why does this happen so smoothly? Well, it turns out, that parades are great crowd control events. They move people away from congested residential neighborhoods and into big park type areas.

2) Have a great big Venue at the end with entertainment. If this is beginning to sound more and more like SF Pride, that is no accident.  While there are certainly problems with Pride, they pale in comparison with Halloween. Why? Because people have stuff to do. It’s when people get bored and confused that bad stuff happens. So, take the Civic Center and make it into a party zone. It is what happens in New York City. The party begins in the Village, a residential neighborhood, and moves them away from that area. In our case, while the route would be long and hilly, the Civic Center seems the logical endpoint. That detail can be changed, but somebody is going to have to get over the NiMBYism for one evening.

3) Light up the night. This is just basic event planning, but darkness breeds bad stuff.

I welcome additional strategies and suggestions.  I love this city, and I want it to be as special as it should be. As it really is.

Democracy. In Action.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Committee meetings can be, well, how do I put this, uhhh, boring.  And today’s meeting of the Budget and Finance Meeting was exactly the same.  A few conversations about a city car barn, and some greening on Alemany Blvd.  The meeting picked up a bit when the topic of community choice aggregation came up.  Several speakers from the Sierra Club told the Board that global warming is real. (Good point guys, but, let’s not use Katrina as the right uses 9/11).

But the real reason I was there was an email from Democracy Action to get the Supes to force Sequoia to release their source code.  As I said then, and I stick to now, I don’t think that the city should be doling out about $9 million to provide business to a company that has already been shown to be unreliable.  And by unreliable, I mean a recent report that computer scientists at  Princeton have hacked Sequoia machines to flip votes from one candidate to another.

A report from the meeting over the flip…

The Sequoia agenda item was introduced by Supervisor Tom Ammiano who acknowledged the criticisms as he introduced the representative from the Board of Elections.  The contract calls for a four year term with plenty of liquidated damages clauses to allow Sequoia to plan for any contingency. And even though Sequoia has promised to introduced IRV software, there is still no guarantee that the system will be ready for the November 2007 mayoral election.

What followed could only be described as a public outcry.  About 20 people came up and spoke against the contract (including me).  After everybody had finished speaking, Supervisor Chris Daly went on to savage the Sequoia representative.  He asked, repeatedly, if Sequoia would hand over the code.  And for every time Chris asked, three times did Sequoia-guy evade.

At this point, Supervisor Daly pushed the approval vote off to next week, and with both Daly and Ammiano in opposition, plus my own Supervisor, Bevan Dufty also opposed, this contract seems far from a done deal.

Why I support Alix Rosenthal in D-8 in SF

I know, this is pretty darn local.  But, just in case anybody who is reading this is also in my district, I thought I would share this.  It’s not that I don’t think Bevan is a good guy.  He is.  He’s a really good guy. Every time I’ve talked to him, he’s been very nice and pretty darn helpful.

But as they say, nice isn’t really the most important feature of a politician. The record of Bevan Dufty is well, not so nice.  District 8 is arguable the most “progressive” of any district.  Yet somehow, our supervisor is one of the more conservative members of the Board.  Now, I’ll admit that Dufty is clearly progressive, but in my opinion, not enough. 

He votes with Gavin Newsom almost all of the time.  And again, the Mayor, not a bad guy, just more conservative than the district.  Dufty has encouraged Ellis Act evictions and additional condo conversions; it’s why the SF Tenants Union has endorsed Alix.

As I said, Dufty is a good guy, but I’m not sure he really sees the forest for the trees.  He focuses on small issues and fixes them.  Great! But why are those issues there in the first place? That’s what we need to address.  That’s the critical thing that Dufty seems to miss. He treats the symptoms, but never actually addresses the sickness. Alix, on the other hand, really seems to understand the relevant issues.

So, if you happen to live in District 8 of San Francisco, Vote for Alix Rosenthal.