By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
- Tenants get to NAME THE PRICE they'll pay for their apartment. Since only you can buy your apartment, you tell the landlord what you'll pay--$50, $2,000, whatever. Or you can pay nothing and just squat it for 5 years and pay the taxes and it's yours.
- Being unable to profiteer off housing, landlords, speculators, developers and other slime will leave the city in droves. San Francisco will once again be a livable city!
KOOL Good For Tenants--Bad For Landlords"
According to the Tenants Union's Ted Gullicksen, the main obstacle to implementing this bizarre, unconstitutional, massive seizure of property is San Franciscans' right-wing belief system. "Well, banning landlords would certainly mean real home ownership for tenants, though it's probably undoable in increasingly-conservative and rich SF where profiteering off of housing means big bucks," Gullicksen told me in an e-mail message.
Granted, the Tenants Union is a fringe group. But in this San Francisco era of progressivist hegemony, actual city policy hasn't steered too far from the Tenants Union mark. As a result, the city is swimming in an expanding quagmire of newly minted, screw-The-Man laws, some unworkable, some unconstitutional. Days after the Board of Supervisors finally outlawed a method of buying apartments known as tenancy in common last week, a state appellate court breathed life into a landlord's lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of a similar proposition passed by voters last year. That one limited the ability of building owners, and their relatives, to move into apartments they own. (The suit claims that by prohibiting owners from living in their buildings, the city violates their constitutionally guaranteed property rights. A state appellate court has said the suit has merit, so the city now must decide whether to defend the law at trial, or rewrite it.)
Meanwhile, landlord representatives are now preparing a suit against the anti-tenancy-in-common legislation. And a case now working its way through the courts could reverse a law passed last year limiting landlords' ability to pass the cost of building repairs on to renters.
Which all begs the question: Isn't there a better way of screwing The Man than acting out clumsy Leninist fantasies?
Mikuriya has done such a delicious (if insignificant) job of thumbing his nose at The Man that I've found myself in the lamentable position of admiring someone I might otherwise disparage. You see, the doctor's Berkeley office has churned out more then 5,000 prescriptions for medical marijuana since 1996, a pace that suggests he has, at the very least, an overly broad sense of weed's curative properties.
But Friday I received the following press release, causing me to take a softer view of the good doctor:
"The National Republican Congressional Committee has given Tod Mikuriya, M.D., a "National Leadership Award.' A gilt-sealed certificate names him Honorary Co-Chairman of the NRCC's Physician's Advisory Board. Mikuriya, 67, is a dignified Berkeley psychiatrist who has devoted his career to studying the medical uses of cannabis. Since the passage of Prop 215, he has recommended the herb for some 5,000 patients with diverse disorders. "This award is a welcome antidote to being dissed by district attorneys and harassed by the California Medical Board,' Mikuriya said today."
By writing and distributing his release, Mikuriya set up the conditions for the following fabulous conversation with Carl Forti, communications director, National Republican Congressional Committee.
Carl: This is an award that's given to physicians around the country who have supported us in the past. It's a group of doctors invited to attend meetings here in Washington, D.C., and share their opinions on today's issues."
SF Weekly: Dr. Mikuriya, the new honorary co-chairman of your Physician's Advisory Board, is best known for getting in trouble with the California Attorney General's Office for advocating medical cannabis. What kind of help has he given the Advisory Board? Is he advising you on drug policy?
Carl: (Silence.) This is a partial fund-raising group, so he would at some point in the past have given money to us as well.
SFW: So he got this award for making contributions?
This absolute assertion raised the absolutely delicious possibility that the Republican Congressional Committee was being funded from the proceeds of Northern California pot dealing; sadly, it isn't. "I do his books, and I'd know if he did, and he didn't [make donations to the NRCC]," Mikuriya's office manager, John Trapp, insisted during a follow-up call.
The press release, as it happens, was a prank by Mikuriya. He hoped to highlight the GOP committee's Publishers Clearing House-style fund-raising mailers, which proclaim doctors to be Physician's Advisory Board co-chairmen, then hit them up for donations.
"I did this because the Republicans have really sunk into a new level of sleaze," Mikuriya said when I phoned him. "I thought, "Why not? I'll play along with this.' Now, I look forward to meeting with other Republican leaders and talking about alternate approaches to drug problems."2
Dr. Mikuriya's screw-The-Man pranking put me in the perfect frame of mind Friday afternoon for crashing a monthly strategy meeting between S.F. city officials and S.F. medical marijuana distributors. There, I learned about a meaningless act of screw-The-Man bravura that I find truly charming.