John Spain, the coalition's community organizer, told commissioners that the park holds more drug dealers, drinkers, and violence than kids playing. The neighborhood has complained for years, but has found no relief from the Park Commission -- appointed by the mayor -- or from Park and Recreation personnel, Spain says.
On the day of the hearing, Jordan's staff fired off a pre-emptive letter to the commission and the coalition, conceding that the park needs help. And the commission set a hearing on the matter for early November. "They'd better not try postponing it until after the election," warns Spain, "or we'll nail them to the wall."
Scratch My Back
When mayoral candidate Roberta Achtenberg scored endorsements from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, representatives from both heavyweight organizations cited her strong environmental policy proposal -- a six-page document outlining how she'd create an office of environmental management to tackle pollution, promote mass transit, and maintain parks, among other goals. What the endorsers didn't immediately acknowledge, however, was that they were to a great degree admiring their own handiwork: Achtenberg's campaign office relied on recommendations from both clubs in composing her environmental paper. John Holtzclaw, a member of the local Sierra Club chapter's political committee, allows that he and others "contributed" to Achtenberg's policy, a courtesy Sierra Club would have extended to other candidates -- had they asked. The same policy holds at the League of Conservation Voters, which, according to President Brad Benson, encourages all the candidates to adopt environmental issues: "Our goal is to have the candidates outdo each other on those issues," he declares. Both Benson and Holtzclaw maintain that the endorsement process at their respective organizations involves candidate interviews, scrutiny of their record on the environment, and rounds of voting by the groups' members. Nevertheless, the hand-in-glove cooperation between the Achtenberg campaign and the two environmental powerhouses on her environmental policy clarifies how candidates court vote-getting endorsements -- and how special-interest organizations push their agendas in the political market.
One Cheer for Matier & Ross
Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross reported last week (Sept. 27) that back in 1981, criminal defense attorney Willie Brown represented a confessed cocaine runner who jumped bail. It wasn't until the 28th paragraph of their Page One, 30-paragraph story that M&R conceded to Brown campaign manager Jack Davis that Mayor Frank Jordan's campaign had "dredged up" the item.
Seeing as the Jordan campaign was the origin of the item, the column's lede should have read: "Desperate and flailing, Mayor Frank Jordan's campaign shopped its anti-Brown demagoguery heavily and couldn't find any takers in the press until the item was pitched to us, Matier & Ross, the TV twins."
By Amy Linn, John Sullivan, Jack Shafer