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
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
- 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
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.
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