And they'll call for scads more police, right? Nope. In a recent coalition survey of nearly 500 Tenderloin residents, the majority listed beefed-up arrests as "least important" in the scheme of things, says John Spain, the coalition's local organizer. Put people in jail, and they just come out meaner and sicker than ever, Spain says.
What the coalition hopes for instead is a program in which citizens play watchdog, using police-type radios to alert cops when a deal goes down so they can confiscate the goods. Period. "They really shouldn't need to arrest anyone unless there's a parole violation or a warrant out," Spain says. Dopers won't frequent a place where they lose their stash, he adds. "Maybe the police could give a misdemeanor citation. People could work it off by doing community service."
Spain says San Francisco police haven't cottoned to the idea, but the coalition will keep on lobbying. And what if Brown becomes mayor -- will the citizens' committee bite the dust? "I've already talked to Willie," Spain says. And Willie bit.
For now -- and, depending on who wins the mayoral runoff next week, perhaps forever -- the city has dropped its controversial plans to take rent money out of general assistance payments for the homeless.
The Mandatory Direct Rent Payment program was to have started Oct. 10. On Oct. 16, attorneys representing the General Assistance Rights Union and others filed suit to block the program, saying that the Department of Social Services had not held the proper public hearings before deciding to go forward with Mandatory Direct Rent Payment. Judge William Cahill scheduled a Nov. 7 hearing on the case, and the city agreed to hold off on the program until then. In the meantime, the Department of Social Services scheduled some public hearings on the matter for Nov. 16 -- and then pulled the item off its agenda and decided not to consider Mandatory Direct Rent Payment at all between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15.
"They want to give whoever the new mayor is a chance to make a decision," says attorney Angel Garganta, of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, the Embarcadero Center law firm representing the plaintiffs.
Incumbent Mayor Frank Jordan has pushed the direct payment program; challenger Willie Brown is on the record against it.
"It looks like we've won," says Steve Williams of the Coalition on Homelessness.
The San Francisco Sexaminer
There's something about a campaign that brings out the sexual obsessions in local media. Last week, Warren Hinckle alleged (and Herb Caen repeated) that San Francisco Examiner Executive Editor Phil Bronstein once had a woodie for Willie Brown's campaign manager, Jack Davis, and that the Examiner endorsed Frank because Jack spurned Phil. Then the Examiner sexed up its Sunday edition by reporting the old news about Terence Hallinan's illegitimate son and recording Wendy Paskin's denial that her old roommate is her lesbian lover.
By Amy Linn, Ellen McGarrahan, Jack Shafer