Friday, February 25, 2011

The Progs Must Be Crazy

<- A vigilant, and indignant, Bernal neighbor tries to get Supervisor Campos on the Blower. (Photo by E. Hockstein for the NY Times; appropriated under Fair Use)

With the recent ideological shift at City Hall, San Francisco's Progressives should be looking for a new, more relevant narrative to operate under. There are a lot of issues that local Progs could take the lead on, as a balance to the new Moderate political establishment - such as ensuring that the backlash against Labor in California doesn't become unjustified persecution as what seems to be materializing in the Midwest, for example. Another serious issue is police conduct, but the recent Taser controversy shows that Progs again seem to be avoiding the real issue, just as Taser proponents are: the real issue here is training, not technology.

Unfortunately, a lot of our local Left hasn't clicked onto the Big Picture yet. Their favorite poverty relief NGOs are dragging their feet on meeting community demands for public toilets, for instance. Surely people must eat, but they must also excrete, and it makes sense that the City's free kitchens help provide the facilities, along with help from government. What doesn't make sense is not even wanting to look into the issue.

But it is yet another issue which has already attracted the ire of the more supercilious among activists: a recently discovered and restored "historical" soda pop advertisement in Bernal Heights.

Usually, commercial speech and quality of life concerns are at odds. It's really no different here; it's just that one party feels that that the recently dug up commercial speech has historical value. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. Unfortunately, Progressives, including District Supervisor David Campos, are railing on about how this non-issue should be a proxy war over perceived corporate responsibility for tooth decay and fat kids. Maybe, just maybe, the sign is really just an eyesore.

However, it does seem that Coca-Cola products have a tendency to cause uproar when abruptly introduced into isolated, provincial communities. Just ask the San people of Namibia, or at least some of them.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Elephant in The Room is Not Wearing Pink

There are times when certain subtle realities of politics can only be handled indelicately.

Witness for example, the memo provided to Mayor Lee by Steve Kawa's office in re commission appointments, discussed further here.

The memo as published is redacted. I'm not going to ask who did the redacting, but in many cases it's kind of obvious why redacting was done. It was done to protect the privacy of individuals.

What may be interesting is that an aspect of one's private life becomes an issue with regard to demographic representation. In other places religion generally may be treated the same way.

There are a couple of concerns that come to mind, however:

1) Regardless of noble intention, redacting almost always makes an official document worthy of derision by someone. For instance, I would not be surprised if it were to show up reprinted in VERITAS USA accompanied by the usual bigoted screeds.

2) Suppose for a moment there were an unwritten rule that 18% percent of San Francisco political appointments should be from a certain demographic feature which is relevant to one's private life. Suppose then, that some cheeky sort in Washington decided that in response there should be an unwritten rule that no more than 10% of jobs in the Capitol should come from this same demographic. It might cause a catastrophic shortage of Congressional aides.

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