Street Art: Willie Brown Is Wanted for the Murder of S.F.

Located just a few feet from a trendy boutique store that sells $795 "polar trench coats," the fliers bemoan the kind of gentrification that has turned neighborhoods like Hayes Valley into playpens for the rich. The notices have shown up across San Francisco in recent weeks, including South of Market and the Mission District, and they blame the city's three recent mayors — Ed Lee, Gavin Newsom, and Willie Brown — for killing San Francisco with policies that've completely marginalized people with smaller incomes. "Wanted for the Murder of San Francisco," blare the postings, which feature images of Lee, Newsom, and Brown with boastful smiles on their faces.

Kate Conger

By using spare and incendiary language over a catchy black-and-white layout, the posters are highly effective as political street art — and have already prompted passers-by to rip some of them down. It's unclear who glued the notices on street poles and in other public spaces, but whoever it is likely created the other black-and-white flyers that recently appeared in Hayes Valley: Shaped like milk cartons, they say San Francisco has lost its "soul" and urge those with "any information that may lead to the recovery of San Francisco" to call "Anthony Bennett" at 1-8-ART-LESS. Get it? Tony Bennett is famous for singing, "I left my heart in San Francisco." The fliers, then, are ultimately farcical — street art that's much more Stephen Colbert than Thomas Paine, and much more for dark laughs than for serious political dialogue.

 
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24 comments
Hiram Rodriguez
Hiram Rodriguez

Next elections, I will only vote for the Mayoral candidate that doesn't bend over and take it in the ass by the tech companies that have moved in and fucked everything up.

sfhrod
sfhrod topcommenter

Next elections, I will only vote for the Mayoral candidate that doesn't bend over and take it in the ass by the tech companies that have moved in and fucked everything up. 

Eric Jenkinson
Eric Jenkinson

I believe the street art is correct. These mayors have all been about the wealthy. It is time for REAL progressive politics to expand the possibilities for ALL in SF.

Ronald Zimmerman JR
Ronald Zimmerman JR

And when tech companies start to close down, rent will become affordable again. The Circle of Life.

Nicole Maron
Nicole Maron

Sadly, this 25-year resident is also preparing to leave the home city of her grandparents. I was a teenage barista when I moved here in 1989. SF was such a great place to be poor and have fun! But also full of opportunity. I got into tech at the tail end of the first boom, largely because of the awesome conflation of freaks and artists and musicians involved in tech at the time. I've watched nearly all those people, even those making great salaries, leave SF. With no new generation of poor creatives to shore up the cultural levees, the city has been flooded with the most clueless and entitled influx of suburbanites I've ever seen. AND I GREW UP IN THE '80s. And it's not all tech's fault -- SF has been and will ever be home to the same financial industry that drowned homeowners in unplayable debt. We bitch about Wall St. But it exists right here, as evidenced by the wanted posters: Rich people making rich people richer, colonizing what's cool and displacing all who made it cool in the first place. Hordes of wannabe rich people falling all over themselves in a bizarre version of keeping up with the imaginary Joneses, spending half their salaries on rent and the other on douchifying what's left of SF.

Mel Greene
Mel Greene

THIS is exactly why after 27 years, I left San Francisco. There is no middle class now, either rich or extremely poor now. Sad.

Cynthia McGarvie
Cynthia McGarvie

When I first moved to SF in the early 90s, things were still pretty cool. There was art and culture for the masses, and I even went to my first St. Stupid's Day Parade in 1991. Then, it went downhill over the years because of gentrification and Hizzonor wanting to yuppify every square inch of The City. Oh, and that gilded City Hall dome... how many homes for the homeless could that money have provided? I used to pay five bucks to sit on the bleachers at Candlestick, but now the cheapest ticket is three times that amount (on a really slow day). Before I moved to town, a potential GAP store was vandalized by residents of The Haight, so that chain temporarily gave up on their dreams of an ultra-hip location. Now, big box stores and (gasp!) Target have set up shop all over town! The Gap pretty much took over for Headlines. I had to move out in 1999 because of the gentrified rents. SF is officially dead to me now, especially since they made public chess illegal at Civic Center Plaza. Let me know when they find a cure for that cultural zombie virus, okay?

Carl Heyward
Carl Heyward

hayes valley; many incarnations from blood alley to what it is today chasing out long time residents, shops and mom and pop grocers even in the nineties when the white elite would venture no further than Gough Street and the Symphony /Opera/ Ballet Devil's Triangle for fear of life and limb; money and entitlement are patient and go a long way to ruining this little neighborhood as has been the case with the Mission...there is no heart in san francisco only silicon gold and that is a yuppified expensive multiplyin' cryin' shame: Carl Heyward GORDON JOHNSON: Experiencing San Francisco's terrible beauty Bare wooden stairs, worn smooth by footsteps, groaned underfoot. Thick yellowish paint reflected overhead lights. Time-dinged handbills stapled to the wall announced art shows and demanded freedom for political prisoners. At the top of the stairs, a knot of people clustered about a table with a cash box on it. A woman took our $2 and handed us a slip of recycled paper with words like "abstraction, fatal, prone, want, reign of diamond" printed randomly on it. The flip side listed poets scheduled to read. The Mission Badlands Gallery, a funky second-story art gallery in San Francisco's Mission District, smelled of incense and the avant garde. In other rooms, eye-level paintings -- unhinged splashes of color, meditative brush strokes born of the mind's eye, permutations of San Francisco hip -- hung on whitewashed walls. Dusk filtered through street-facing windows casting muted shadows over paintings. Artspeak at the Mission Badlands Gallery: TheSpokenWordSeries. I spotted the listing in the activities calendar of the San Francisco Chronicle and decided that it was a must-see for Bear and me and my buddy, Tom Hancock. What better way to experience San Francisco's terrible beauty than to hear poets sing its praises, wail its horrors? Organizers set up chairs in the high-ceilinged living room of what must have been an upper-crust house in its prime. A faded and frayed oriental rug covered the wooden floor. A mahogany and marble fireplace reigned at one end. Purple curtains sashayed in the breeze streaming through the high windows. Outside, people hustled along Mission Avenue, walking home from work, entering and leaving restaurants and nightclubs, standing in storefronts hitting up strangers for spare change, sprawling on sidewalks in need of one more drink to pass them out or one more cup of coffee to wake them up. Fog, a San Francisco life-form, stalked us from Twin Peaks. Cars honked, ladies of the night laughed, mariachi music escaped from beer bars, and palm fronds, spiked like a punker's hair, clattered with the beat. Inside, people settled into plastic chairs positioned before a lectern and a microphone. Candles by the dozens burned yellow on shelves and along the fireplace mantelpiece. World music, from I don't know where, played on a stereo. Someone turned down the music and turned up the track lights gelled blue and red. Carl Heyward, a towering black guy wearing a black suit, black sunglasses, black thick-soled shoes, and black dreadlocks coiled like springs about his shoulders, took the mike. Carl was cool. He spoke in bassoon-like tones to a roomful of cool heads in leather jackets. He took pictures of the crowd with a Polaroid camera. "For police evidence," he joked. "They already have my picture," quipped a woman, a veteran of 1960s protests. "Then for poetic evidence," Carl said. Carl went on to say that tonight's gathering was a fund-raiser. The gallery had its second eviction notice and needed funds in a bad way. San Francisco has become the victim of too much money. A city divided between the dot.com and tech wealthy and the working poor and the homeless. The mayor, Willie Brown, has been no help, Carl says. Brown's mind is too full of "Versailles and haberdasheries" to be concerned with street art. "After more than 25 years here, I may have to move the gallery to Southern California. God help me. Southern California. Someone help me before I kill again," he jokes. He introduced Rebecca Ellis, a self-professed anarchist in close-cropped red hair, black-framed glasses, baggy khakis and a paprika of red freckles on her face. She descends from Welsh poets and coal miners, she said. Ellis read her poetry. Her words spoke of "the light of being drawn in," "the conical shifting," "the dancing spiral of time," "this side of relativity." When Rebecca finished, I heard Bear fidgeting in his chair. We snuck out. But I hoped he got a sense of San Francisco's terrible beauty. Published 8/10/2000 san mateo times

Dan Waterhouse
Dan Waterhouse

Do progressives really care about homeless people? Or are they simply political pawns to be used?

Lolly Andros
Lolly Andros

I'm too angry to comment!! Slick Willie indeed!! Raspberries forever, altogether now!!#$%&-*:

AS Hellpockets
AS Hellpockets

Also, landlords, get em And I'm not talking people who own houses, but people that own commercial property.

Maurice Rivers
Maurice Rivers

Put up posters for Newsom and Lee to complete the holy trinity of SF crooks, scumbags and scallywags

Bigg Shelf
Bigg Shelf

You're a real winner Howard.......and a REAL COWARD too.

Tony Gallen
Tony Gallen

Slick Willie only cared about hooking his friends up with contracts leaving others without a fair chance to bid on contract. Thats why I don't understand why that newer span of the Bay Bridge was named after him. He was solely responsible for holding that project up for decades for his own gain. Gavin Newsome was and is still pretty useless as well.

Glenn Blackmore
Glenn Blackmore

He has been a self centered, arrogant egomaniac his whole life.

Lala Bean
Lala Bean

Howard you sound like a real fucking winner on your page talking down about the homeless people in San Francisco. As you know our Jewish people were tortured in the Holocaust so you if anybody should know what it feels like to be ostracized from society and mistreated. You need to go to Temple. And yes I'm Jewish. Let me guess, you're a retired lawyer.

Lala Bean
Lala Bean

Rich pompous assholes..white collared normal politically correct Douchebags ruined s.f. And all the amazing, fears artists were forced to move out since they were willing to pay more rent. Most of the landlords in San Francisco suck

Howard Epstein
Howard Epstein

The "progressives" who don't like Ed, Gavin and/or Willie won't change anyone's mind or accomplish anything else with this childish stunt. The fact is the unproductive "progressives" that want to live in the past and don't like successful people, financially or otherwise, created the situation with their no/slow growth policies. It's 2014, 1970. The "progressives" should get used to it.

meganovatron
meganovatron

First off your great taste, less filling idea of politics is about as played out as saying played out.


You're basically saying you hate immigrants, marriage equality, freedom of speech and basically any other freedom that the non wealthy hold dear.


And success is relative. The kind of wealth that is coming into the city is almost 99 percent inherited. The only thing these people have done is listen to their parents enough to keep getting checks. 


It fits that someone defending wealthy people should hate progress. If we were all equal the wealthy wouldn't be able to rape us to fill their pockets anymore.

 
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