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Rob Black cites moment in time when District 6 challenger decided to run

District 6 Supervisoral candidate, Rob Black.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

July 28, 2006

San Franciscans do not ask for that much when they hope for a district supervisor who will not stiff arm them, District 6 challenger Rob Black reflected Wednesday.

The thought left his audience quieted.

Pensive. Determined.

The thought, when it first came together, was the pivotal moment in Black's decision to unseat incumbent District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, Black shared with the like minded.

They gathered some 300 strong in the anti-Daly enclave of South Beach, at a Delancy Street luncheon keynoting Fiona Ma and her vision for San Francisco as Ma heads for near certain election to the California Assembly.

It provided the platform for Black's first public major address, hosted by the most assertive of San Francisco political organizations, SFSOS.

Black took the podium explaining his decision to run, invoking the vision of District 6 mothers - and an incumbent ear shuttered deaf.

"I want to tell you a little story... about why it is that I decided to run for supervisor," said Black.

"A couple of months ago I met with a group of mothers living on Tehama Street between Fifth and Sixth, and that's right down in SoMa. Tough part of town. These mothers they call themselves the 'Tehama Mamas.'

"They have really taken over and really tried to take back that street for families.

"There are about 20 children who live on this little one block who are less than four-years-old. So they've been fighting to clean it up.

"They had a problem.

"They had a cannabis club, a pot club, move in on their street.

"It moved in during the moratorium so it was an illegal club.

"And they were doing a lot of other things illegally. They were distributing pot outside so that folks could smoke in the parking lot, get in their cars and drive off the wrong way on a one-way street," Black recalled.

Neighbors considered the situation hazardous, he reported.

"As you can imagine, the parents were upset," continued Black.

They turned to Supervisor Daly for help.

"So they called their supervisor and they asked for help, but their supervisor refused to meet with them.

"The supervisor's staff refused to meet with them.

"Eventually they met with an intern who had been with the office for one month.

"That intern told them, 'Sorry. There's nothing we can do for you.'

That was the moment of decision for Rob Black, then a legislative assistant to Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier.

"I just can't imagine what those families felt like - to have their City turn their back on them in that way," Black's voice rose.

"Those mamas let into me.

"They said, 'Why is it that the City always treats the people who live in the rich part of town better?'"

Alioto-Pier represents affluent District 2 encompassing the wealthy Pacific Heights and Seacliff neighborhoods.

"They had just read a story in the Chronicle about the City shutting down a pot club in Pacific Heights.

"Why do the people in the rich parts of town get treated better than the people who live in the poor parts of town?"

The difference is representation, contended Black.

"I had to say to them, 'It's not about the City treating you differently. It's about the difference in representation we have at the Board.'

"I shut that pot club down in Pacific Heights because it was a priority for Supervisor Alioto-Pier that club would not go in next to a school in a residential neighborhood.

"We worked with the neighbors, the City Attorney, and the Planning Commission - and we got it shut down."

In the poor part of town San Franciscans encountered a lesser response, Black maintained.

"The neighbors on Tehama Street were not asking for very much of their Board of Supervisors, of their representative.

"The citizens of San Francisco aren't asking that for that much from their elected officials - they want to have safe and clean streets.

"They want to walk down the street with their child and not watch someone shoot up with heroin.

"They want beat cops. They want security cameras.

"They want a supervisor who's going to help them get that, not a supervisor who's going to fight them on that.

San Franciscans want a decent life for the next generation, Black reminded.

"The citizens of San Francisco want to be able to buy a home and live here. They want their children to be able to buy a home and live in San Francisco, their grandchildren raised here.

"They don't want the next generation growing up in Vallejo.

"They want a supervisor who will help promote first time homeownership opportunities for families - not a supervisor that fights them.

Political litmus testing should not determine respect and dignity afforded District 6, Black insisted.

"San Franciscans want to be able to go to their elected officials and ask for help... and be treated with respect and dignity," this challenger asserted.

"Surely we can make that change in November."

Candidate website, click here.




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