Watching City Hall #373 (5-25-05)
Watching Gorillas bowl
(or, reading the Chron & Ex)
I have a huge burden of late. I mean, reporting the entire half of the news that the old billionaire run (Hearst) Chronicle and the new billionaire run (Anschutz) Examiner refuse to run is impossible. What's tough, is singling out the most important part of the half (or more) of the news that either street daily publishes ain't easy. Let me just go off the top of my head with a few clips and notes and bulletins lying around my computer.
Newsom's new Park & Rec money
Gavin announces he'll be putting another 14 or 15 million into the parks. This is all a smokescreen for spending millions more on Harding Golf Course so that Sandy Tatum can get his picture taken with Tiger Woods at the first PGA event here. I again call for Woods to boycott the event until these bastards are off the scene. Ignore the young golfers bullshit front they'll push at you, kid. A weekend round here costs $100 dollars when it costs $15 three years ago. That was before they decided to put a bunch of honey in a trap to catch you and hold you up by your fucking tail like a dead racoon. Trust me, if you weren't the best golfer in history, they wouldn't let you bus their tables.
Proof? While Newsom allows parks to degenerate, he's added a half dozen gardeners to the Harding Course. Latest was an increase from 16 to 19 on the course which makes up less than 1% of City park lands yet now consumes nearly 10% of gardener staff. It's all for that photo op, kid. Freeze em out. Unlike me, you can outlive the pricks. They took money from hungry old people to fund the Harding course and they're back asking for more because they're afraid it won't be nice enough for you. They're cutting home care for dying Aids patients so they can make a nice club house for you.
This is the most important contract negotiation of the decade. After 40 years, the City has the opportunity to regulate the most consumer-insensitive corporation in the United States (honest). Don't look for lots of cooperation. For instance.
For instance, this morning I got up at this week's sitting gig at Frank Gallagher's in Berkeley (he and Noel are in D.C.), scratched the ears and backs of their aging hounds (Harley & Jake), had a glass of good Irish whiskey and headed over here for a 10am meeting Comcast scheduled at 570 Ellis with the public. To allow input into the new contract. That kind of thing. ... Of course, they weren't there. No doubt they changed the location and will report a rousing public approval from wherever they did meet without notice. That's petty though. Here's what the City should get from these negotiations.
Government television should be free
You should not have to pay to watch the Board of Supervisors on television. Presently, you do. I wouldn't have cable if it weren't for the fact that they have a monopoly on government television. There are thousands like me. Their profits? Well, while they advertise that basic cable includes SFGTV for $16 a month, they charge me $23 and wanted to charge me over $40 a month. I'm curious as to how much they make off this. They have no real set standards. Their sales people are taught to get the most they can and they lie like rugs. It's gotta be a few million a year and they'll fight giving it up although the entire production costs of the programming are born by the City.
Just as SBC is required to provide a 'lifeline' service, Comcast must be compelled to provide a 'Government Television' package that begins with FREE distribution of SFGTV and is negotiable from there on. Democracy demands it! The poor cannot afford to watch their government. This is not only a travesty, it should be illegal. Everyone can't video-screen on their computer and the presentation sucks anyway.
Put simply, if you have cable to your living unit, you should be able to attach it and find the 'G.T.' package already available for free. If not? Dump them! Or, require that they pay the costs of broadcasting the government telecasts on stations not on their cable.
'Editor' is Greek for 'Coward'
(if you're gonna edit, take the credit)
If you can't write and you're screwing the boss or one of the boss's offspring, you can become an editor. My Bulldog dictionary further defines 'editor' as:
'A person with no talent but much ambition whose
sexual relationship with members of management
allows them to mangle the copy of honest writers,
adding prejudices and political predispositions
on behalf of the owners of the publication, all the while
hiding behind the byline of respected writers who pay
with their credibility. See 'John Diaz of the Chronicle'
and 'Viviene Sisnowski of the Examiner', 'h. brown of
the SF Bulldog' and 'Carlos Petroni of Frontlines'.
I know lots of writers. I cannot tell you how many times I've phoned or emailed one of them to offer pot or booze after I read something they'd signed their name to and found it to read like a grade school moron wrote it. I just assumed they were losing their mind or fallen in or out of love and desperately needed help. Invariably, 'off-the-record', I'm informed that they didn't write it at all. No, they hadn't gone nuts or lost their talent. It was just that some baboon got hold of their piece and skewed it to suit the point of view of the people taking legal drugs in the penthouse. It's an ongoing problem that I just wanted to highlight this week. Put succinctly, if your favorite writer suddenly changes direction, it's probably because they have an editor on their back.
McGoldrick and bus fares and Levada
Some of my friends on the Left are super-pissed at District #1's Jake McGoldrick for supporting an increase in bus fares and lauding the promotion of local Arch-Bishop Levada to the post of Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Catholic church. They whine about how we helped this guy (Jake) get elected and feel double-crossed. I answer them with one line and McGoldrick should too:
'Imagine Lilian Sing instead of Jake McGoldrick'
(ya take what the defense gives you, campers)
I disagree with my self-marginalized fellow nut case Lefties when they say that the Progressive supe majority we elected in 2000 has turned on us. Like McGoldrick, they've first done what they need to do to survive politically. Remember David Brower's dictum: "Don't compromise on anything! That's what we have politicians for." These guys are OUR politicians. Kick em in the ass, yes. Doubt their core loyalty to the cause? I don't think so. My congratulations to Sophie Maxwell and Gerardo Sandoval and Aaron Peskin and Jake McGoldrick and Chris Daly of the class of 2000. Thanks for taking the heat for us.
My son visits
31 years is a long time. Quickly, for those of you who asked. What do you do if you meet your 33 year-old child (grown and with teenagers of his own?) ... meet him after 31 years? I introduced him to around 10 of the most important people in my life. First, I met his plane alone, recognized him immediately, went up and said: "You're Alex? I'm h. and I'm your father." Gave him a firm handshake and a pat on the back, grabbed his bag and jumped into my son-in-law, Kudzai's car. Went to pick up my daughter at Peace Corps and headed for lunch (they ate at Sai Jai Thai) ... guided them there cause it was Monday and my buddy of 30 years, Jens was off work and his SRO is directly across from the restaurant (which Phil & Melisa say is the best Thai restaurant in town) ... made a stop at Jens' where Michael Moore (the original - friend of over 20 years)was visiting. The kid doesn't smoke (anything!) and though he claimed he'd take a drink, I don't remember se eing it over 6 days.
The kid is a regular 'chip' looks-wise but is much more reserved. I expected nothing and I don't think he did either. I was enormously impressed and he had a good time too. This shit is a novel, so I won't go into detail. I only have 2 kids and I was seperated from them when they were 1 and 2 years old. I met his sister (Mona) 11 years back and we've been good friends since. She and I are much alike though I raised neither of them. ... blah, blah.
I was certain to introduce him to my 'surrogate' sons, Matt Gonzalez, Rich Hillis and Adriel Hampton. Made sure he met my closest contemporaries, Charles Kalish and Daniel Cohen. He was totally charmed (as is everyone) by Rachel, my secret girlfriend. I took him by da Hall and showed him the Board chambers. We stumbled across Ross Mirkarimi who discussed St. Louis where my son was born and Ross went to high school and college. He met Matt's law partners and several of the mayor's staff. I missed a connection with Angela Alioto and Neska. It was a good reunion.
Enough of that.
Kudos to Randy Shaw
His plan for a Mid-Market Art District or something like that is brilliant. Just tie a Land Trust model into the equation and you have a winner. Don't expect it. He's a classic empire builder and is not likely to introduce anything where he doesn't get a cut of the control. Boy, that's a back-hand compliment if ever I saw one. I'm still pissed at the guy for outing Kelly Cullen and wonder if that was a factor in Cullen's resignation. ... Still, Shaw's 'Beyond Chron' continues (in my book) to rank #1 in consistent strength of daily copy and second (to the Sentinel, of course) in overall online product.
Odds & ends and odd ends
SFSOS is in a panic over Arlene Ackerman's impending departure. They'll have to promise her a very handsome bonus to stay and she still might choose to fade out. God knows she does very little these days. Hellman and Fisher hired and pay for her entire top management. She opts out of key decision making (see the school closure issue of the last several weeks in which she first said she wouldn't get involved, then weighed in to kibitz after the most painful decisions were made by the new 'Mar Board'.
Newsom has been raising the profile of Trent (he who steals from the poor) Rohrer of late. Started calling him the 'Homeless Czar' (wasn't that Angela's title) and putting him in crowds on stages where he shouldn't have been. If they think this guy can be elected to anything around here, they're delusional. Hide the hit men in the back room, Gavin.
Newsom's call for a 200 million dollar street repair bond is bull shit. As always, DPW will reinforce the need to fleece the public by not filling pot holes until election day. It really isn't that hard to get City workers to do less. Actually, the City has plenty of money for patching the streets. A month or so back, an independent numbers cruncher noted at a Board committee hearing that the City had nearly 20 million bucks a year from state and federal funds to patch streets but had directed the money elsewhere for years. What happened to the 150 million ballot request to properly fund Care Not Cash?
That's enough, I'm back off to Berkeley to lie in the sun with the old hound dogs.
"You don't know anything about phenomenology." (Rachel)