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with Robert Haaland

Republished with permission

You Say Tomato, I Say Potato, You Say Apple, I Say Orange

By Robert Haaland

May 1, 2006

Recently there was an uproar over Joe O'Donohue's most recent bigoted tirade. Thanks for your articulate condemnation of his transphobic hate speech directed at me. Most are clear that Joe, the head of the Residential Builder's Association, is lashing out against me because I have been effectively campaigning against his initiative, Proposition D, a land use grab that is parading as a patient care initiative.

Last week, Marc Solomon argued that since O'Donohue is on one side and Barnes, Mosher and Whitehurst, a political consulting firm that has done work for the Committee on Jobs is running the opposition's campaign, we should make our decision on the merits.

Some of the letter's allegations about BMW were factually inaccurate. BMW ran a positive soft money independent expenditure campaign for Willie Brown in 1999. I was irritated that they called him the most pro-gay candidate in the country when a gay man, Tom Ammiano, was running against Brown, but it doesn't compare to what Joe did when he ran homophobic campaign against Tom on the west side and at Catholic Churches. Nonetheless, I couldn't agree more that your vote should be based on the issues, not on who is running the campaign or that Joe made offensive remarks. That's why I am voting no on Proposition D.

Proposition D illegally discriminates against those with mental illnesses according to a leading Disability Rights Advocacy organization potentially leading to the loss of over $100 million dollars in Federal and State funds, would evict 300 seniors and people with AIDS costing the city up to an additional $27 million dollars, and opens up public lands to private development, specifically to allow for-profit health care facilities on several hundred city parcels currently reserved for public facilities leading the way towards more privatization of public land. Proposition D is a Trojan horse. That's why I am working on the campaign to defeat Proposition D.

The supporters of Proposition D say not to worry, it isn't all the city parcels, they are just privatizing Laguna Honda. Well, even on of the main proponents, Barbara Meskunas acknowledges that this would be spot zoning which the courts have found to be illegal. And then as a backup the proponents argue that if it is all the city parcels, there will still be hearings. Yeah right. Like the hearings we had on the 4,000 live-work lofts that the Residential Builders Association constructed during the dot.com era? Like those hearings.

Even if some folks don't care that it is a real estate scheme for developers, maybe they will care that it violates nine Federal and State anti-discrimination laws, threatening over 100 million dollars in Federal and State funding. According to proponents, the Alzheimer's Association does not agree that the initiative would force the discharge of Alzheimer's patients because they are often a danger to themselves. Okay, but nearly every other disability and senior rights advocacy organization disagrees with the Alzheimer's group, as well as prominent disability rights attorneys.

Can anyone say Jeff Adachi?

Last week, BeyondChron argued the Reilly campaign was making a mistake to tie Burton's money to Ma's campaign and for criticizing the Burton machine. Maybe. Jeff Adachi spent a year bashing the Burton machine and Burton's money when he was running against Burton's daughter for Public Defender. Most would say Jeff is a progressive and no-one in the progressive community criticized him for his campaign. I admit that I probably have less of a problem with machine politics than most progressives in SF so I'm probably not the best person on this particular question. I like John Burton and I respect all that he did for tenants, labor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised, but he is the machine and the guy probably has hundreds of thousands stashed away that he will float through the Democratic Party to help his former staffer Fiona Ma, not unlike what he did for his daughter. So while I consider it loyalty, others would call it nepotism or the "corrupt Democratic machine." I think it is a fair question to raise and debate…

General Strike

Today, a General Strike was called to show the country the value of Immigrants.

There will be huge all day rallies across the country. No Work, No School, No Selling, No Buying!

Towards a World Without Borders, where No One is "Illegal".

Convergences in San Francisco:

8:30am - Montgomery & Market (Montgomery BART)
11:00am - Embarcadero (Embarcadero BART)
3:00pm - San Francisco Civic Center (Civic Center BART)
5:00pm - Federal Building (450 Golden Gate)

See you there. And bring some apples, some oranges, and even some tomatoes and potatoes…

Robert Haaland publishes leftinsf.com.
Email Robert Haaland at robert_haaland@hotmail.com.




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