A new community congress - Page 2

Bad times are great times to try new ideas - the second Community Congress convenes Aug. 14 and 15 at the University of San Francisco

Think about it:

This can be a city where economic development is about encouraging small businesses and start-ups, where public money goes to finance neighborhood enterprises instead of subsidizing massive projects.

This can be a city where planning is driven by what the people who live here want for their community, not by what big developers can make a profit doing.

This can be a city where housing is a right, not a privilege, where new residential construction is designed to be affordable for the people who work here.

This can be a city where renewable energy powers nearly all the needs of residents and businesses and where the public controls the electricity grid.

This can be a city where the wealthy pay the same level of taxes that rich people paid in this country before the Reagan era, where the individuals and corporations that have gotten filthy rich off Republican tax cuts give back a little bit to a city that is proud of its liberal Democratic values.

This can be a city where it's safe to walk and bike on the streets and where clean, reliable buses and trains have priority over cars.

This can be a city where all kids get a good education in public schools.

Despite all the economic woes, this is one of the richest cities in one of the richest countries in the history of human civilization. There are no economic or physical or scientific or structural constraints to reimagining the city. The only obstacles are political.

In the next two years, control of City Hall will change dramatically. Five seats on the Board of Supervisors are up in November, and the mayor's office is open the year after that. The progressives have made great progress in the past few years — but downtown is gearing up to try to reverse those advances. The community congress needs to address not just the battle ahead, but describe the outcome and explain why San Francisco's future is worth fighting for.

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