San Francisco group criticizes Newsom
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
October 26, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Hours before San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom's State of the City address, an organization of union
and community groups has drawn attention to a comprehensive critique
of the mayor's first two and a half years in office, charging
Newsom with a pattern of selective inaction in five policy areas.
"State of the City: Style Over Substance," a 16-page
report the San Francisco People's Organization issued to its membership
on Sept. 30, emphasizes broad-based approaches to tackling violence,
homelessness, transportation, land use and housing, and economic
development in the city.
According to the report, Newsom has taken little action to deal
with the "root causes'' of violence in the city -- poverty
and inequity in housing, employment and educational opportunities
-- and has instead addressed violence chiefly through increased
police action rather than efforts to develop a "culturally
competent public education campaign against violence.''
The group also argues that the mayor's office is doing little
to address a growing wealth and opportunity gap between communities
of color and other residents. This inaction, they contend, is
reflected in policies that continue or even exacerbate inequity,
such as preferring an increase in San Francisco Municipal Railway
fares over supporting a proposed parking tax.
The group says that small business is the backbone of the local
economy and argues that eliminating the payroll tax in favor of
a gross receipts tax would foster small business growth.
The organization also proposes policy intervention to ensure
affordable housing for all San Franciscans and says the city should
make efforts to develop jobs in the tourism industry that pay
living wages for low-income workers.
While the group praises the mayor's Project Homeless Connect,
the group says Newsom has failed to provide adequate funding for
support services for all homeless people, rather than only the
co-called chronically homeless.
The San Francisco People's Organization describes itself as a
coalition of groups "committed to building a progressive
vision'' for the city. Its board members come from organizations
including the Chinatown Community Development Center, several
unions, the Harvey Milk Club, the Ella Baker Center for Human
Rights and the Senior Action Network.
A representative from Newsom's office did not respond to requests
for comment this morning.
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