Week of September 5-11, 2007

Daly Dose

Everybody hates Chris: I think Chris Daly sets a new standard for hypocrisy ["The Daly Show," Aug. 29]. He began his activism in San Francisco railing against gentrification in the Mission District, but now owns a condo in that same neighborhood. He's a homeowner himself, but continually blocks efforts to expand home ownership to others even when it doesn't involve eviction or displacement. The man spews hatred against anyone who challenges him and poisons the political dialogue in San Francisco. The man exemplifies what's wrong with politics in San Francisco.

E. F. Sullivan
San Francisco

Same Indifference

Maybe the zeitgeist is busy at Zeitgeist: Matt Smith offers a provocative insight into the current San Francisco political zeitgeist ["The End of Progress," Aug. 22]. When [Art] Agnos ran for mayor in 1987, the city still had a strong element of citizen activism. It does not have that any longer. Gone are the Black Leadership Forum and the Affordable Housing Alliance, and others such as the Latino Democratic Club, the Chinese American Democratic Club, and even environmental groups are almost shells of their former selves. San Francisco Tomorrow is a vestige of those years, and the Milk Club and Toklas stay active. But the activists who pushed for Proposition M, or even the more recent Mission groups, don't play the role they once did. Smith suggests that changing demographics has a lot to do with it, and that very likely is a factor. It also may be that San Francisco is now a city of careerist nomads, who do not see this as a home to invest in as much as a place to launch from.

Those who take offense at Smith's characterization of current hot issues as "twee" should be asked to explain why San Francisco now has the worst housing authority with the worst conditions seen in three decades, or possibly since Rev. Jim Jones headed it; why the city has been willing to close schools in its poorest neighborhoods without regard to the impact on these communities; why the city leaders are obsessed with press events; and why we accept it as a given that we shouldn't "throw" money at the problems of the poorest but should believe in a trickle-down theory of taxes for business even when it disadvantages existing businesses by cutting taxes for the "new" businesses that compete with our own establishments. The fact is that it is not the issues that are "twee," but rather the inclination not to deal with them. Without a constituency to support it, change won't happen. Politics is the one area where trickle-down is a guarantee of failure — just look at the city today. Leadership won't come from the top, no matter who it is. And as one might guess, I count myself as one who believes that Agnos has an extraordinary capacity for genuine leadership.

Larry Bush
San Francisco

We're number one! We're number one!: What a typical whiny, left-wing diatribe by Matt Smith, much as we have come to expect from him. Thank God Gavin will be re-elected in November. He's just what the city needs. As for the lack of young people in the city, there are certainly a lot of them from what I see in the bars, restaurants, and cafes all around town.

Interestingly enough, Forbes magazine just named San Francisco the best city for singles, moving it up the list from fourth to first place. According to the methodology of the magazine article, as well as analysis by Richard Florida, writer of The Rise of the Creative Class, San Francisco continues to be a magnet for educated and affluent young people.

Sam Clarke
San Francisco

Staying native: Thanks for your article last week regarding native San Franciscans, Art Agnos, and supervisors arguing over Wi-Fi. It's nice to see the natives' point of view mentioned once or twice in the local media. Keep up the good work.

Joseph Della Cella
San Francisco

 
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