The topic of discussion was the district's supervisor, Jake McGoldrick, and what should be done to limit the perceived damage the supervisor was doing to the City."
He then went through a litany of supposed abuses, presented in a seemingly factual and straightforward way BRT, Healthy Saturdays, various "Attacks on Families and Property Owners." At least, they might appear objective to those not familiar with the details. The approach sparked more interest in the recall.
"This is a new venture for me, so I'm a little nervous," Richmond resident Margie Hom-Brown said at the event before attacking McGoldrick's Healthy Saturdays stand. "Two-thirds of San Francisco has voted repeatedly not to close the park. He went on year after year and made it his number one priority.... The actions seem to me rather unethical."
Kozakiewicz used the November 2000 vote against park closure to conclude that McGoldrick "ignores the will of the voters" and used a large, bold pull quote to feature the Measure G question and the fact that 62 percent of the voters rejected it. But what Kozakiewicz doesn't say is that the measure was placed on the ballot by closure opponents trying to defeat Measure F, which called for immediate closure (before construction of the garage that has since been built) and got 46 percent of the vote (a figure Kozakiewicz conveniently leaves out).
Because of the confusing nature of the two measures, it's impossible to know how many voters wanted permanent closure at some point, let alone the six-month trial period that Healthy Saturdays called for. But Kozakiewicz has no use for such nuance in his conclusions, remarking at our questions during a phone interview, "Now you're going into shades of gray."
Similarly, he casts McGoldrick as "forcing BRT on [the] district without notification," despite the fact that the project has been contemplated for decades and that it is now being studied with plenty of future opportunities for public input rather than being a done deal created through some secret McGoldrick plot.
In fact, transit advocate Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, said Kozakiewicz's commentary is misleading in several ways, most notably in that it fails to say that McGoldrick, as chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, actually prevented the BRT study from looking at light rail because of his fears that it would be too disruptive for the Geary merchants.
"The sensitivity of merchant concerns is one reason why the best option isn't even being studied," Radulovich said. "It's ironic that he's being recalled over this. In a way, you could say Jake is kowtowing to the merchants too much and dismissing good transportation options."
Nonetheless, the recall has a decent shot at qualifying, particularly given the fact that the committee has already raised about $24,000, including $5,000 from the Residential Builders Association and $1,500 from the Small Property Owners of San Francisco. It has also hired a firm called JKW Political Consulting, which is not registered with the city as required.
"In reality, the 10 percent threshold is pretty low. Whether you're paying people or using volunteers, you can get that," McGoldrick campaign consultant Jim Stearns said. "So I told Jake we need to be prepared to fight the recall."
And McGoldrick said he is. "We're talking here about ultraconservative, right-wing Republicans," McGoldrick said of the recall proponents. "And they've said that I vote far more progressively than my district.... But I'm trying to do some things that are good for the entire city." *