Following yet another neighborhood meeting, Agnos hauls his primordial visual aids out of a steamy North Beach tavern and down a hill where he's greeted by a mercurial parking attendant. It's unclear if the valet knows whom he's talking to when he assures Agnos it's obvious he's a Democrat. The former mayor left his gas cap open, you see? "Just like a Democrat. Always asking for more."

Agnos laughs, graciously. But he can't help but point out this is no gas cap. It's where you plug in your electric Ford C-Max.

The Democrat bids adieu and motors off, electrically, in the direction of the waterfront.

San Francisco, says former Mayor Art Agnos, will always be a great city — "unless we fuck it up!"
Mike Koozmin
San Francisco, says former Mayor Art Agnos, will always be a great city — "unless we fuck it up!"
The Embarcadero Freeway, seen here in its virgin year of 1959, blockaded the waterfront and helped to inspire this city's "Freeway Revolt."
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
The Embarcadero Freeway, seen here in its virgin year of 1959, blockaded the waterfront and helped to inspire this city's "Freeway Revolt."

Many of the historical references in this article were gleaned from Jasper Rubin's book A Negotiated Landscape: The Transformation of San Francisco's Waterfront Since 1950.

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12 comments
Kairi Willow
Kairi Willow

Uh... Yeah... What kind of question is that?

Nancy Queenofsheba Endy
Nancy Queenofsheba Endy

I read the article and yes the waterfront belongs to the citizenry of SF. It should not be allowed to be blighted by crass commercial development.

Jeremy Baker
Jeremy Baker

This is the logical failure of "the customer is always right"....protip: they aren't.

norchris
norchris

If Agnos is serious about requiring affordable housing to be built on port property, why isn't he pushing an initiative to do exactly that?  Instead he's pushing an initiative that's solely about height limits and won't necessarily do a thing to promote more affordable housing in this town.  Of course the rich people who already live within eyesight of the shoreline and who are financing the initiative might not be so enthusiastic about funding an initiative that would require affordable housing to be built right next door.  So who's corrupt now?

SFDave4U
SFDave4U

Should the people control the waterfront and or should the people control the frontlines for social and economic justice. Tom Perkins said today the rich should get more votes proportionate to the amount of taxes they pay. Hey maybe it would be better if there were no privacy and every time someone like him stopped at Perry's they would be charged x time's more than the average worker. If Joe Shmo earns $30,000 a year he pays $9 bucks for a burger, but someone like Perkins should be soaked and pay at the point of sale $3,000,000 for a burger. Don't you think the country was founded to promote the general Welfare (preamble Constitution) and that's only fair .... .

SFDave4U

sebraleaves
sebraleaves topcommenter

Thankfully the citizens still get to decide the fate of their city, but, it is getting harder with edicts coming down from Washington and Sacramento to build, build, build for the future some don't want. We will hear about the need to green the streets and replace the single family homes with dense new housing for the thousands of new folks who are ready to invade. We will hear about the billions of dollars the SFMTA needs to build a new transit system or two. They will even promise to fix the potholes, but few people will fall for that again. In the end, this is a fight between the preservationists who love the city the way it is and those who don't.

CommonSense
CommonSense

The Mannhatanization of the city has got to stop.  Basically anyone who is not a millionaire or living in a housing project will be evicted.  It's a war about the future, from gentrification to Google buses to dozens of new 40-story towers.  What kind of city do you want San Francisco to be?  

egg-sf
egg-sf

I find it ironic that Art Agnos wants "No Wall on the Waterfront"...yet he is best remembered during his sole  mayoral term for his "Wall of Homeless at City Hall."

 
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