SFPO, Where Are You?
When I first heard about the formation of the San Francisco People’s Organization (SFPO), I was pretty damned excited. Here was a bunch of good progressives getting together to form a unified coalition to fight for just causes. I was excited about the June 11 convention that would get things rolling. The news after the convention sounded promising: bonding took place, good work plans were put on the table and from the photos it looked like a large, diverse group of men and women of all ages and ethnicities. The SFPO website taunted me with a link suggesting convention minutes would soon appear. I was hoping for a good, clear picture of exactly what happened at the convention and what the future might hold. It couldn’t get any better, could it? It didn’t.
I waited and waited for the minutes, waited for some word on what was happening at SFPO, waited for updates to anything. Nothing was forthcoming. I was about ready to give up, thinking SFPO was yet another organization that had all the usual startup energy and then just fizzled out. Then I logged onto the Beyond the Chron website and posted there was an update on SFPO. With all the references to “we” I’m assuming the article is an SFPO generated update. I logged back onto the SFPO web site thinking the same article would be there, the official SFPO site. I was disappointed.
I’m of the opinion that one of the issues facing San Francisco progressives is one of credibility, and viewed SFPO as a great chance to enhance credibility, and a good place to start would have been the website. I’ve been all over it and I’d like to point out a couple of things that at a minimum make it look sloppy. For example, one of the points to having a website is to impart information. Assume I’ve logged onto SFPO.org for the first time. The SFPO Action Alert begins with Dear SFPO Member. Does this mean I have to be a member to participate in any SFPO sponsored activities? What if I don’t buy into the entire SFPO platform but I do support Health Insurance for the Working Poor? Do you not want my support on this issue?
With SFPO.org, it seems you have to be an active member attending caucus meetings (if there are any because meeting dates aren’t posted, or again maybe you have to be a member to be included) to actually know what is going one. For example, under 1st Campaign: The SF Peoples’ Initiative Campaign, it states:
We will present and vote on a precinct outreach strategy in SF Districts 10 and 11 to help the “Stop Arnold” campaign and support or oppose City initiatives. The outreach will be consistent with “Alliance for a Better California” mobilization and phone-banking.
As a newcomer to this site, my questions are: what happened to Districts 1-9? What are the City initiatives? Who is the Alliance for a Better California? Some hyperlinks or additional information would be nice.
Under 2nd Campaign: Health Insurance for Working Poor in San Francisco, it states:
We also will ask for feedback and support on a plan by Supervisor Tom Ammiano to help tens of thousands of working people in San Francisco obtain health care coverage.
And just what is Tom’s plan?
Under Mark Your Calendars!, September 16: what is the fake health insurance plan by the Chamber of Commerce?
Under Mark Your Calendars!, September 24:
SFPO and our member organizations will march under the SFPO banner in a rally against the current unjust war in Iraq. The ongoing New Orleans tragedy magnifies the need to bring the troops home to bring U.S. resources to our own poor.
First of all, where do we meet up and at what time? And I hope the march is in front of a federal building and not down Market Street. But most troubling to me is the last line of this notice. It’s not just a New Orleans tragedy but a Gulf Coast tragedy. And in this context of New Orleans, I think you mean the National Guard specifically and not the military in general. The citizen soldiers that comprise the National Guard are the ones that are usually called in during civil disturbances, Hurricane Katrina notwithstanding. Again in this context of New Orleans, you reference the poor. Is this because most of what you see on television is a sea of African American faces and you assume they are poor? I can surmise that plenty of poor, middle class and wealthy of various ethnicities had lives destroyed by this catastrophe and are in need of resources of one kind or another. Don’t trivialize their loss and pain.
So, I still have high hopes for SFPO but unless they can do better at being organized and imparting information, I think this group is just going to go the way of other progressive organizations.
ACKERMAN VS. LIPSONMARSANCHEZ
Was this San Francisco theater at its best or what? From what I can tell, Lipsonmarsanchez didn’t like Ackerman’s management style so they mounted a campaign to get rid of her and it worked. Seems like everyone lost sight of the big picture, which is getting San Francisco kids (the few that are left) a decent education.
10/31/04 Superintendent contract due.
11/12/04 Superintendent contract approved.
11/13/04 Mar says the process too rushed — how long did he want it to take? Wasn’t he worried when it wasn’t approved by 10/31?
11/13/04 Lipsonmarsanchez says the contract is too much money when teachers and classroom aides are laid off each year.
08/10/05 Court challenge to legality of new contract - note the attorneys challenging the contract are allies of Lipsonmarsanchez but both sides said they had never talked to each other about the issue.
08/17/05 Lawsuit tossed out.
09/06/05 Superintendent resigns.
Took nearly a year, but they got her out. Along the way there were many comments about the mess she left in Washington, D.C., as the superintendent in that school district. If she was so bad in DC, why did San Francisco hire her? Doesn’t anybody do a background check anymore? I’d like to see Lipsomarsanchez lobby for the job and agree to a salary equivalent to a teacher’s salary, no extra perks. Let’s see what they can accomplish.22