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Lies, damn lies and statistics

By Patrick Monk

November 20, 2007

According to the most recent tally of votes counted, as shown on the Department of Elections website, there are approximately 419,598 San Francisco registered voters, of whom 105,570 cast a vote for Gavin Newsom. Even by my old math, that translates into about 25 percent demonstrated support citywide, about as ringing a mandate as our dear president, mind you.

But that didn't seem to dampen your joy. Word has it you celebrated your pyrrhic victory in your accustomed manner, and had a high old time. There are, of course, still some votes to be counted, unless they are floating around in an oil slick somewhere. And, oh yes, so sorry if that nasty little spill spoiled your subsequent weekend tryst.

That the turnout in this supposedly aware, enlightened city was so miserable can be largely attributed to the fact we no longer have a free press to accurately and responsibly report on issues directly effecting the lives and futures of ordinary residents. With the exception of SF Daily, none of the daily print media made good faith attempts to inform citizens of alternate candidates or their positions on the issues. As always, the most egregious transgressor was "The Mouthpiece of Moloch," once the proud "Voice of the West." This sorry example of the depths to which the corporate media has sunk, essentially functioned as just another promotional tool for Newsom's re-election campaign.

Oh yes, in the last week or so before the election, the Kronikle finally acknowledged the existence of the other candidates, but way too little and way too late. It spent the previous months either ignoring, disparaging, or outright lying about those citizens who had the courage and commitment to take a stand against the corruption and corporatization of our city, promulgated by "downtown" and perpetuated behind closed doors at City Hall.

For example, single-source and no-bid contracts, negotiated in secret by political hacks and corporate lackeys, presented to the Board of Supervisors for "consideration" before they've even had a chance to read and study them. And when they raise legitimate concerns, the invariable reply is, "Trust me." As my dear mama-in-law is so fond of saying, "Humph."

What exists in this city right now is a war on the middle class, on working families, on ethnic minorities, on low and fixed income residents, on 'inconvenient' neighborhoods the speculators and developers have targeted, and on all the other undesirables and untouchables the Plutocracy wants to sweep out of their playground.

One of the first casualties of war is always a Free Press. The Kronikle died a long time ago, Darth Vega is merely ministering the coup-de-grace. It is difficult to fault the tens of thousands who did not vote in this election, and too easy and convenient to label them apathetic.

If the people are deliberately not informed, or deliberately misinformed, about civic affairs and the choices and options available to them, it is not unreasonable to expect they won't participate. To make informed decisions one needs information. Knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the Kronikle, SF Expletive, most local print and TV media failed miserably and, one suspects, consciously, in their duty to impart complete and accurate information and knowledge to their audiences.

There are still, thankfully, a few exceptions, notably Fog City Journal, SF Bayview, and the public access cable TV stations. Beyond Chron and the Bay Guardian also spend significant time in the sunlight.

There are also a few mainstream media individuals who uphold the ethics of their profession. At the risk of threatening his job security, I would like to thank one, John Wildermuth, who actually attended one of our gatherings, spent some time with us, and engaged in substantive discussion. May the Force be with you, and protect you from the Dark One.

In closing, just a few pithy one-liners on some immediate issues of concern:

- Imminent threat to 70 percent of City residents: Save rent control. End eminent domain. Go to www.sftu.org and www.eminentdomainreform.org.

- The "Homeless Problem": Compassion and care, NOT incarceration and insult.

- Affordable Housing: Homes for families, workers and low-income, NOT pied-a-terres for the privileged.

- Bayview-Hunters Point: Community development and revitalization, NOT gentrification, displacement and infanticide.

- Greening this City: Clean, renewable energy, NOT more polluting power plants.

And a few oldies but goodies:

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville

"No protracted war can fail to endanger a democratic country."
- Alexis de Tocqueville

"In a democracy, the people get the Government they deserve."
- Alexis de Tocqueville

If the last one is true, it sure casts us all in a dim light and portends a darker future.

Cindy Sheehan 4 Congress (D8)
Barry Hermanson 4 Congress (D12)
Cyntha McKinney 4 President

Oh yes, and of course, Tom Ammiano for ANYTHING he damn well wants. God knows he's earned it.



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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