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With h. brown

San Francisco mayoral candidate, h. "Court Jester" Brown.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Newsom co-opts Court Jester's platform

By h. brown

September 14, 2007

"My promise is to fire your boss.
That will be 61 department heads
and hundreds of commissioners, agency
and authority directors and their PR staffs.
I will replace them with veteran City employees
from within those departments, agencies
and authorities."

(my ballot statement from June)

Geez, I only put one promise in my statement for the Voter Handbook and Newsom rips it off 58 days before the election. I've been ranting about Gavin's hypocrisy for continually saying during the last campaign that "you can't do things the same way and expect different results," then keeping everything (particularly the usual suspects) in charge. I guess he shut me up.

Is my radio haunted?

I'm watching the 49'ers on the tube but the reception is bad and the sound goes up and down uncontrollably, so I have the game on the radio too. Sound down on TV.

The first half there was about a 2 second delay from the time the play happened on the tube and when they described it on the radio. I thought about it and assumed it was a delay in case one of the commentators started cursing a blue streak or something.

Then, the second half, the radio has been ahead of the TV image? Yeah, really. Go figure. It's stranger than the sound being delayed because you can hear what's going to happen a couple of beats before it happens on the television. It is truly weird. You know the pass will be incomplete. You know how far a run will go. Kind of like God, you know (well, they won like God was involved).

Who is Rod Laughridge?
And, why does he hate our Candidates Collaborative?

"We'll probably try to keep it to 6
so people get enough time to respond."

(Laughridge to Dr. Sumchai)

He was inviting Ahimsa to a Friday evening forum on Channel 29's 'Newsroom' during the same time as our weekly Collaborative debate. I wonder how many candidates will choose the TV show over group unity?

This is getting more interesting all the time. We have 2 candidates out of the race, one in jail and another threatened with prosecution. Now, we have a Cable Access news show trying to divide us further. I got a feeling I ain't seen nothin' yet.

Monday's Board

The Board is back and Peskin continues to schedule two committees in the same time slot just to fuck with me. OK, maybe not but it sure seems like it.

Today is was particularly bad because the only 2 items that interested me (Grand Jury report on SFPD and Public Safety Concerns in the Tenderloin) were at the same time and in different committees on different channels. And, they were tied closely together.

As I flipped channels I listened to the cops say that they were still studying which jobs in the department could be civilianized just as they've been studying the issue for the last 16 years. Were they to just increase their percentage of civilians in the department to 20% (San Diego has 34%) they could put another 200 cops on foot patrols.

That was in Sean Elsbernd's Government Audits and Oversight Committee which hurried the review along and listened to the head of SFPD Homicide argue that the increase in the number of murders by knife was actually a good thing because it was evidence that the cops had been so successful getting more guns off the streets. They're getting real creative on defining deaths as something other than 'murder' too.

In the other room Chris Daly (he's on Audits too, so had to keep running back and forth across the hall) was presenting a fascinating group of Tenderloin stakeholders in a discussion before Ross Mirkarimi's Public Safety Committee concerning crime in the Tenderloin. Their discussion made it obvious that the thing they need most (should say 'we' need, cause I live here too) … thing the neighborhood needs the most is cops on foot.

Terance Allen told of a project called 'Safe Haven' that he and several neighborhood merchants have formed. The idea is that they put up a decal that says 'Safe Haven' and it means that if someone is getting chased to be mugged or murdered, they can duck into that business and be protected.

Isn't that the cops' job? Citizen after citizen came forward with exactly the same story. Someone from the Academy of Art on U.N. Plaza came to say that the vermin there regularly hassle the students and could the cops do something cause they would if it were happening in Pacific Heights.

People talked about why did the cops allow a dozen to twenty drug dealers to populate the corners of O'Farrell and Jones for 24/7/365? They asked how they could get closed businesses open around Golden Gate and Jones and elsewhere.

Here's why

The cops don't put more feet on the street because it's dangerous work and they don't want to take any more chances than they have to. Their union keeps as many as possible completely off the streets and in the stations and headquarters at all times.

They don't fly helicopters cause that's too dangerous. They don't have kiosks in bad spots or even tourists areas because that's too dangerous. Ideally, they'd like to telecommute from Walnut Creek through their crime cameras. A 'Telecommute Foot Patrol', now that's something. Then if they saw any crime, they could send Robo Cop.

The storefronts in the area people complained about are empty because guys like Walter Shorenstein own most of them and they emptied them so that the neighborhood would become blighted and eligible for more government funds for them.

The dealers are corralled into one area because they know that if they go to a nicer neighborhood, the cops will arrest them. It's called a 'Containment Zone' and it exists because it takes fewer cops to cover the smaller spaces and the last thing the cops want is to have to get out of their cars or from behind their desks and walk where you walk. The dealers and their customers all know where they can deal. Same with the hookers and theirs.

Nothing will change

In Elsbernd's committee the cops referred to their brand new contract that runs until June of 2011. It keeps the streets dangerous and them out of danger to the maximum degree possible. Problem for us is that the safer it is for the cops, the more dangerous it is for us. And, it won't change because Newsom will give them even more power in the next contract because he'll be running for governor and will need the SFPD to tell the Prison Guards Union what a great guy he is.

The best source for the needed increase in foot patrol and kiosk and helicopter and bus cops is civilianization. The way the cops were able to blow off the Grand Jury Report and say essentially that they'd be sure and look at when they get the chance … the way the cops were able to do that shows that there won't be any of that going on.

We don't need more cops. We have more cops than there have ever been in the history of this city. What we need is a re-deployment of the force we have. The business community knows all of this very well. Thus, more and more private security is showing up all around the City.

The Renoir Hotel across the street from me at 7th and Market, has a constant security guy walking the sidewalk around their building. That is not a bit unusual. Businessmen and women have created CBD's (Community Business Districts) and several other organizations to not just hire their own security to fill the breach left by the inefficient deployment of the SFPD, but also to do the job of the DPW in simply keeping the streets and sidewalks around their shops clean.

Newsom has no ideas of his own

That's why he steals mine. And Gonzalez's. And, Ammiano's. And, Ammiano's. Community Courts. Immigrant ID's. Tidal Energy. Gay Marriage. Health Care. Foot Patrols. Open bathrooms. And, we know one thing from Gavin's first 4 years.

He'll do them all half-assed and in such a way as to make it easier for his billionaire buddies to save money and steal public funds and property. Not to worry, though.

There is some good news too

I walked the 12 miles or so to the Bridge and back and I'm not in pain. I did more push-ups and sit-ups and leg-ups than I have in 10 years. I'm still not in shape but it's coming along. Let that be a lesson to you. I want to kick Eric Jaye's ass in something and I hear he's really been packing on the pounds.

When you go into a battle you cannot win against impossible odds, always have a Plan B at which you have a plausible chance of succeeding. It just makes sense.


h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email h at h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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