14 February 2007

Bay Guardian To Newsom: Take Your Quality Of Life And Shove It

When I first saw this headline in the perennially backward and wrong SF Bay Guardian, I immediately assumed that the bitter old hippies were up in arms about some Giuliani-style crackdown on the crime, drug and gang warfare-ridden Mission District.

I should have known better than to think that San Francisco's amiable but bumbling (and now, apparently drunken) doofus of a mayor would have the cojones to take even the minimal steps necessary to clean up the miserable Mission; it turns out that his idea of improving the quality of life there is to massively increase the amount of street sweeping. Yeah, I know, that's exactly the sort of thing that would really improve my spirits if I lived on a block where drugs and syringes are being sold under the noses of the police and muggings and shootings are an everyday affair.

And so I have to acknowledge that my own prejudices led me astray: I generaly assume that if the Guardian is against it, it must be a good idea, but in this case the Guardian is essentially right (though in their eagerness to stand up for the "oppressed" people, they're a little too quick to jump to the defence of the "poor" auto-owners who are being ticketed; if you're that poor, what are you doing with a car, especially in the Mission, which is within walking distance of much of the city).

So I apologise to the Guardian for thinking bad thoughts about them, though still can't help pointing out that they'd almost certainly be even more vehemently opposed if Newsom actually did finally crack down on the pervasive crime and drug problem that makes Mission and 16th (the first thing you see when you emerge from BART) compare unfavourably with large parts of the Third World. In fact they'd probably be screaming bloody murder about racism and the suppression of the lumpen proletariat (that's commie for "drug dealers"). But never mind, they needn't worry; after all, the worst block in the Mission is a whole block and a half from that big shiny new police station that the last incompetent mayor before Newsom put in, and what's the chances that the cops are going to wander that far out of their bunker? Somewhere between slim and none, I'd reckon, with the emphasis on none.

P.S. It's a measure of how low standards have fallen in SF political life that Mayor Newsom, who recently entered rehab for alcoholism, is still probably the best - okay, least bad - mayor the city has had since the days of George Christopher or (maybe, hard to tell because he didn't live long enough, but I always liked him) George Moscone.

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