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San Francisco's Mayor Rebukes O'Reilly Invitation to Al Qeada to attack San Francisco

Defends Voter Conscience

Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

November 15, 2005, 4:30 pm

At a noon press conference today, Mayor Gavin Newsom fired back at Bill O'Reilly's overt invitation to Al Qeada to attack San Francisco. The Mayor also responded to O'Reilly's direct question asking the Mayor if he is proud of San Franciscans for voting for Proposition I, a largely symbolic measure that establishes a city policy to oppose military recruitment in San Francisco public schools.

"I'm proud of San Francisco for being an example for the rest of the nation on compassion and tolerance and an economic center in the world. I think we're an example in so many respects. This city is frustrated by what's going on in this war and what a lot of people argue is a predatory nature of a lot of military recruiting, and that was expressed in that initiative. That doesn't mean that we're going to move forward to banning military recruiting and it doesn't mean that we should be chastised for raising concerns. Quite the contrary, I think it's a legitimate point and the majority of the people of San Francisco made it loudly", said Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"I respect everyone's right to disagree, but we have more veterans living in Northern California per-capita than probably any other area in the nation.

"I'm a proud patriot. I love this country and I love the men and women in the military. My grandfather marched in Bataan. I have tremendous respect for my father's service and members of my family and we don't need to be lectured by someone like Bill O'Reilly on patriotism and what it means to be an American. Nor do we need to be lectured on how we want to conduct ourselves in a civil and respectful manner as it relates to how we go about operating the world's most extraordinary city, and model to others in almost every aspect. We are envied for reason and it's because we do march to a beat, not of the drum that O'Reilly is proselytizing, but to the drum that's proselytized by one of the most diverse cities in the most diverse democracy in the world, where people are truly living together and advancing together across their differences. It's a magical place. He should spend more time out here.

"O'Reilly's attack on San Francisco and his assault on the values of the city and his remarkable audacity of suggesting that terrorism should take place here…and everywhere else would be protected…I think if anyone else in the country said something like that, there'd be an outcry and an outrageous response, and he'd probably be the first to lead the charge if it was a 'liberal' that said something like that against a 'red city' or a 'red state' across this country, he would lead the newscast. His hypocrisy is grand.

"I'm embarrassed for him but I'm not surprised because I'm embarrassed for a lot of things he's said over the course of most of his career.

"I sleep well at night knowing what this city's about and what it represents and I hope he sleeps well at night knowing that he has the bully pulpit to say what he wants.

"I'm so glad I live in San Francisco and I'm so glad I live in a country that allows me the freedom to disagree with people like Mr. O'Reilly and the freedom to be able to lead by example, and this city has always led by example.

"If we weren't such an economic powerhouse on top of being a city that truly drives social responsibility and change, I could see the argument, but we are an experiment that's actually working to a disproportionate degree, and maybe that's something he should spend his time on.

"Why is it working so well? Why is San Francisco such a vibrant essential city in the world's economy? What is it about this city that sparks the imagination of so many? Why are we doing so much right? That is something O'Reilly needs to come to grips with and exercise some consideration and review as opposed to running his mouth about an initiative that was passed based upon legitimate concerns about what's going on this world and the direction of this country as it relates to military recruitment and the war in Iraq."

Editors Note: The Sentinel invites a response from Bill O'Reilly and encourages him to participate in a moderated debate at a San Francisco venue of his choosing.




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