Watching City Hall #286, (5-18-04)
Mona: Is he crazy?
Jens: Well, let me put it this way
He has a way of making you feel good about yourself.
No, my daughter & best friend werent talking about me. But, they might have been. I just thought you could use an original Jens Nielsen line for a chuckle. Ive known the guy for right at 25 years and hes been laying down these Yogi Berra type one-liners continuously for all of that time.
I hook up with my old buddy twice weekly & we spend afternoons listening to the best of rock & blues and smoking the finest weed and, OK, we have a beer or two. A person needs to get unwound. And, to laugh.
Matters that arent funny
Ive reached a new level of professionalism in my reporter duties. I achieved my new state by purchasing a small notebook which I keep curled up in a pocket and occasionally use to record something someone said or something that happened. I want to go over a couple of notations Ive made that have not been made by anyone in the media.
Show us the bullet holes!
The SFPD & I have a love/hate relationship. At least, thats the nature of my feelings toward them. Generally speaking, I give the cops the benefit of the doubt in accusations leveled at them for actions taken while on duty. Hey, copping is tough work and people tell partial and complete lies about them all the time. Defending them will get you a good shunning at any leftie gathering. Allow me to show you what I mean with two examples. First, I want to defend them in a controversial case.
Idris Stelly had a knife
A couple of years ago, a guy with serious mental problems decided to stop taking his medication with fatal consequences. He lost touch with reality, announced that he was going to die & proceeded to commit suicide by cop at the Metreon theatre in downtown San Francisco. He got the cops to kill him by charging at them with a raised knife. Stellys death has become a cause celebre for cop haters and their media supporters.
Wheres the knife?
In the retelling of the story, however, a couple of details have been lost. Like, the fact that the guy was a mental case whod announced his intention to die and had charged the cops with a knife. Minor incidentals not worthy of mentioning from the pulpits and presses of the far left.
I mention this case because I saw it in the news again a couple of days ago, sans the aforementioned pertinent details. But, theres a more recent case that has me wondering.
Death in the Western Addition
A few weeks ago the cops killed another man they claimed had first attempted to kill them. (Forgive my lack of names & dates Im disorganized) You recall the case. His lawyer mom is now suing Oakland & San Francisco for a couple of hundred million.
My first instinct was to accept the cops story. Ex con who loved to exceed 100mph in car chases between him and the police. Testimony from cops whod dealt with him before that they were going to have to kill him or something to that effect. It fit the pattern. Then, something happened to make me suspicious.
Show me the bullet holes
Initial media reports quoted the cops as saying that the deceased had fired at them when they began to pursue him as a suspect in an attempted abduction a few blocks away. They, in fact, claimed that one of the cars had bullet holes in it. But, they never produced pictures of the car!
I brought the matter up with a couple of other reporters and one said theyd asked the cops for permission to photograph the car with the bullet holes. They have yet to comply. I say its time for the cops to show us the car with the bullet holes and proof that it is the same car involved in the chase that preceded the fatal shooting. If they dont come up with it, Im going to assume they lied and thats a bad thing.
Newsom to appoint Gitleman
Kudos to Mayor Gavin Newsom for playing basketball with black kids on one hand while continuing to be a kiss ass for the developers who have chased 20% of them out of town over the past decade on the other. Prime example one, is the case of Newsoms coming appointment of the chief architect of gentrification, to the position of Director of Planning.
Now, Im not going to dwell upon the Bay Guardians scoop that its illegal under the City charter for Newsom to even be doing a search for a new director. Thats the job of the new Planning Commission. Nice work to the SFBG though. No, Gavin has announced that hes done the search himself. And, ya know oddly enough, 3 of Gavins final 4 candidates are the same people who first crafted, then defended the planning decisions that chased 10s of thousands of artists and dancers and musicians and black people out of San Francisco.
(Hell choose the worst of the lot)
Amit Ghosh is a rubber-stamp bureaucrat who would approve a nuclear waste dump in the BayView if Downtown told him to. (Wait! I think we already have a nuclear waste dump in the BayView.) Im guessing Amits doctorate is in bullshit because hes certainly an expert in that area.
Candidate #2 is Larry Badiner who is the present acting director when Gerald Green is out of town. Badiner got his job by agreeing to replace a woman who actually listened to Sutro Tower neighborhood residents when they objected to clients of Robert Mr. Toad McCarthy who added a couple of hundred extra antennas to the existing structure without bothering to get permits. Willie and company somehow got the woman to quit (she wont talk maybe they helped her get her new job?) Soon as the door swung on the idealistic maiden, Director Green stepped in and approved all of the new antennas. He then, appointed Badiner to the ladys post and not so surprisingly, Larry has yet to disagree with Gerald on anything. Just another Downtown flunky.
Candidate #3 is the worst. Shes Hilary Gitleman and she oversaw the live-work/office space fraud to the tune of thousands of units of RBA constructed (these guys are good builders, by the way I just want to change their blueprints) thousands of units which displaced the poor and blighted the SOMA (mostly) landscape. When the new Board took office in January of 2001, Gitleman was shipped to the Presidio where the Downtown controlled Trust dreams visions of Office Park and housing for the gentry.
Candidate #4. Some guy from Vancouver whom Matt Smith of SF Weekly is pushing. Now, let me say this about that. If Newsom appoints this guy, theres something wrong with him. The able Smiths endorsement aside, the Planning Director controls billions of dollars in projects and Downtown will not allow a serious independent planner to occupy the position.
Reappoint Gerald Green and be done with it. Hes smarter, younger, better dressed and more fun than the others and like I always say: If you cant be good at least, look good. If anyone knows the truth of that statement, it should be Gavin Newsom.
Judge Lillian Sing
This is the lady whom Downtown has chosen to run against Jake McGoldrick in the 1st District. She has a bit of an Achilles heel. Remember when that pretty little APA girl in the Richmond (District 1!) got killed? the girl kept going to court to try and get the judge to protect her from an abusive ex-boyfriend and the judge kept saying like Go fish or Oh, poo or whatever? You remember that?
Would you remember if I told you that this was the girl who was murdered by the boyfriend the judge wouldnt protect her from? Would it matter to you if I told you that the judge who refused to protect the woman was Lillian Sing? It was. My guess is that Lillian will not be running on a tough on crime platform. The tragic consequences of her insensitivity to the poor womans plea for help should bell this particular feline throughout the race. Lets close with a look at another race.
h.: They want a farmers market in the park.
Jens: Theyre gonna sell farmers?
Back in the 5th District. Youd almost think that support for a weekly farmers market would be a no-brainer in any part of the City but youd be wrong. A proposal for just such a market in the Panhandle has met opposition from some local businesses and a few neighbors.
A leading candidate for supe in the fall even voiced reservations due to the effect the market could have on local groceries. Gus pays $20,000 a month rent for a storefront barely a block away. Fear is, that Gus will be driven out of business by the cheaper produce in the park.
Frankly, I dont see it. I think Gus and other merchants should get first crack at a couple of stalls in the new outdoor marketplace. Its only fair and Ill bet you a beer that Gus will end up making more money if he takes my advice.
Candidates Diamond Dave Whitaker & Julian Davis are hosting a meeting of District 5 candidates who wish to form a collaborative to share expenses and labor in obtaining space and preparing same for public/candidate contact. Its a great idea. The meeting will be May 27th from 7-9pm at the Park Branch library. Candidates wishing to participate should contact either Dave @ 440-5530 or Julian @ 861-2592.
Id like to see
Id like to see a series of old fashioned open-air debates on Sundays in the Panhandle. Provide free music. Open the restrooms for another touch of nostalgia. Wed need at least the semblance of a stage and a real acoustic piano would be nice. Ahhhh, would that bring back memories from the days when Joplin & Hendricks and the Airplane and Country Joe used to walk a block or two from their pads and crank it up for free. Itd be a nice adjunct to the farmers market.