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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zurich City Officials Want To 'Be More Like San Francisco.' Really? Here's How.

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge San Franciscans cramming into the Zurich car in our city's historic railway fleet know the Swiss have a little catching up to do with us when it comes to girth - MARKET STREET RAILWAY
  • Market Street Railway
  • San Franciscans cramming into the Zurich car in our city's historic railway fleet know the Swiss have a little catching up to do with us when it comes to girth
At this month's "Global City Forum" -- an international conference on sustainability held, oddly enough, in the totally unsustainable bubble of Abu Dhabi -- the delegate from Zurich said a very unusual thing.

Never mind that he hails from a safe, prosperous, and well-run city -- that's boring! They want to be more like San Francisco! Well, if the good people of Zurich believe the negation of safety, prosperity, and efficient government will allay their terminal ennui, they couldn't have chosen a better template than San Fran -- at least among cities people still visit voluntarily.

If Zurich really wishes to be more like San Francisco, then, by all means, it should:

  • Go broke;
  • Mandate that Mayor Elmar Ledergerber rarely be seen within city limits and spend all his time traversing the world in hopes of winning the governorship of the local kanton;
  • Develop a homeless problem: If Swiss citizens can't be bothered to give up their comfortable homes in this effort, we're sure Eastern European laborers can be hired to harass tourists; sell Street Sheet-like newspapers in German, French, Italian, and Romansh; and beg for euros with which to purchase artisinal chocolates and fondues; 

  • Have bus drivers make every effort to show up late -- or not show up at all! Also, citizens of Zurich should feel obliged to scrawl every manner of inane message (again, in German, French, Italian or Romansh) on public transportation or, increasingly, relieve transit-using tourists of their possessions;
  • Combine the best elements of Swiss cheese-making and San Francisco's Up Your Alley Fair by inviting leathermen to puncture holes in Swiss Cheese -- their way;
  • Note that the yearlong mild weather -- and occasionally beach-worthy sort -- San

    Franciscans enjoy as a result of, naturally, being on the ocean has

    eluded landlocked Zurich.

    But only temporarily: Eastern Europeans not selling papers can be put

    to work in a massive trenching project. Failing this, they can simply

    let global warming do its work;

  • In order to better emulate San Franciscans, Swiss citizens are advised

    to abandon their famed neutrality and loudly offer up opinions on,

    literally, everything.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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