The machine - Page 2

Sup. Scott Wiener is relentless, driven, prolific — and changing San Francisco in sometimes alarming ways

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Scott Wiener follows Harvey Milk, Harry Britt, and Bevan Dufty representing a neighborhood that's changed profoundly.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY KEENEY + LAW PHOTOGRAPHY

Still, Wiener calls being gay and Jewish the "galvanizing experiences" of his formative years, particularly at a time when AIDS had devastated this new community he was joining, so his political activism focused on LGBT issues as he worked his way through Harvard Law School, choosing to settle in San Francisco in 1997.

Tall and gangly, almost obsessed with Democratic Party politics, his only real hobby or pastime is yoga, which he said "helps me stay sane." Wiener has always been less fun-loving than many of the gay men around him in the Castro, the neighborhood he represents.

"Dating has not always been my strong suit," Wiener said. He's close to family and friends but really hasn't had any serious romantic relationships to speak of. "Men are challenging."

So he works, and works, and works. He's been working the Castro with door-knocking intensity since well before his successful run for supervisor in 2010, during his long tenure on the Democratic County Central Committee and his day job as a deputy city attorney, focused mostly on defending the San Francisco Police Department.

Department heads have learned that he's always on duty. "I was at Nancy Pelosi's New Year's party on Sunday, and I saw [SF Muni head] Ed Reiskin and I started walking up to him because I had like three things to talk to him about, and the look I saw in his eye was the same look that I think I sometimes get in my eye when a particularly aggressive constituent approaches me," Wiener recalled.

It's a look that Wiener has had to adopt regularly over the last two years as he's sponsored a string of the city's most controversial pieces of legislation.

 

 

AGENT OF CHANGE

 

Right now, Wiener is pushing legislation that would limit people's opportunities to appeal development projects (dubbed "CEQA reform") and co-sponsoring legislation that would let owners of tenancy-in-common (TIC) housing units pay a fee to bypass the city's condo conversion lottery, which limits the removal of apartments from the rental market.

Both changes, two of the most controversial measures of this new legislative session, have been opposed by progressives for decades. And they follow Wiener's sponsorship of the two most controversial pieces of legislation from the last session: his unsuccessful attempt to remove the exemption of nonprofits from paying the city's Transit Impact Development Fee and his ban on public nudity, which passed on a 6-5 vote in November, making national headlines.

The two new bills reflect an agenda that's popular with landlords, property owners, and developers — and opposed by tenants, neighborhood activists, and just about every progressive group in town.

Yet, at the same time, Wiener is supportive of nightlife and an advocate for Muni and bike lanes — softening his image as a downtown conservative and sometimes giving him a chance to divide the progressive community. And last year he cast the crucial eighth vote needed to create the CleanPowerSF public-power program and override a threatened mayoral veto.

"I strongly believe in the capacity of government to make people's lives better," Wiener said.

Wiener told me he believes in the social safety net and rent control. He says he has supported every tax measure on the ballot in recent years, he understands that Muni and other vital city infrastructure go deeper in the hole with every new development project the city approves, and he knows that San Francisco is becoming steadily less affordable to those on the bottom half of the economic spectrum.

Yet, even when pressed on the topic at length, he doesn't have a good answer for how to maintain San Francisco's long-term socioeconomic diversity. It's almost as if that' s not part of his consciousness. Instead, he's making it easier for capitalism to have its way with San Francisco.

Comments

Back up your claim about him using an "obscenity at a girl during the public comment period because he didn't like her comment in support of the JROTC." I think its a bold-faced lie.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:20 am

Which is why he has now gone back to being a nobody again.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:29 am

your claim.

Noted, the Britishism, too. Bold Lying Guest is Brit Lying Guest.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 2:56 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

Talk about whiney and spoiled. The favored son of an all-white Fire Department who threw a snit, quit his post, then asked for it back... only to murder and maim in response to the rejection of his demands.

A perfect fucking emblem for Right Wing San Francisco.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

you should know that.

Posted by anon on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

The idea of Big Brother mandating that people wear clothing and demonizing the human body is horribly reactionary. In Kabul, Provo, Montgomery, and Tehran, the government controls what people wear. Thanks to Weiner, San Francisco has joined this illustrious list of conservative strongholds.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:03 am

lynching blacks. Good thing we have you to give us meaningful, relevant, credible analogies.

Posted by anon on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:13 am

When the totalitarian state seeks to control by regulating every aspect of one's life, then every aspect of one's life becomes a potential site for protest against totalitarianism.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:19 am

totaltarian state. You have no idea what that concept means.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:38 am

He just wants to make sure he can have wanton publicly viewable interactions with as many random strangers as possible.

Posted by Greg_the_diKC on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:46 am

He will be mayor. Eventually.

Posted by Chris McNeil on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:47 am

I think you under estimate how unpopular Scott is in the gay community. I would expect some major booing at the gay pride parade. But as he has helped to flood the Castro with straight tech employees he will be re-elected. Bland always wins.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

term expires. He's easily the most mayoral of the Supes, with only Kim a possibility in the future but I suspect she has her eye on Sacramento.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

Wiener is a disaster for anyone not in the inner circle of money in town. Most of his doing are a distraction while he is carefully dismantling the appeal process on the land-use side. This is always the bottom line for him. For example, he searched high and low and top of his priority list is how to make development project easier in SF. How to ensure that SF has the lowest level of environmental review possible. His proposed overhaul of the CEQA appeal process is understood by practically no one at all and won't be until they have a giant project next to them....then they will look up and say--"what happened?" He is supported by the downtown and landed interests because he wants to grease the skids for all development projects in SF. He is a REPUBLICAN in gay clothing. His highest priority is to serve the development community....period. He does not support the neighborhoods or the working class or the renters and anyone who is not a developer and votes for this guy is a fool

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:50 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:04 am

Montgomery Burns = scott weiner

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:41 am

Montgomery Burns = scott weiner

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:49 am

Well balanced piece on Scott. I am a D 8 voter and did not vote for him. However I do find it refreshing that he is hard working and plays each issue as he sees it. And I thank him for doing something about the nudity issue. "Progressive" to me does not mean "permissive" - progressive is finding common ground in a common space and respecting each other. The progressives made a mistake in assuming everyone concerned about that issue were rich, home owning, real estate craving Republican prudes, and their vote on this and the Mirkarimi issue only made Scott Wiener seem more reasoned. Tom Rudulivich nailed it when he said about "progressives" that "if you had an original idea since 1978, you're suspect." Some of us are tired of the "us vs them" black and white didactic and stale arguments of these aging progressives. Time for their to be new thinking progressives, and until then I will look at Scott Wiener with an open mind.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

When i look at Scott Weiner and his overly ambitious and severe changes and moves he has made while in office, it makes me have to wonder... I bet that this is going to be an early move in looking towards moving into national politics. I really dont think that Mr. Weiner ever really lived in san fran for very long before chosing to run to gain position to be able to use san francisco as a profit making machine. The city has always been at risk of those that see how beautiful and quaint and small it is and how it would seem to be so easy to turn it into a cash cow. In doing this it would do just exactly what it is doing right now, which is turn it into a soulless disconnected community that is made for expensive tourism and the elitest crowd. Elitests for some reason seem to live in a delusional state of fear that manifests in stuck up attitudes that they are better than everyone else. In reality, people who have EVERYTHING that makes their lives complete and happy do not find that through things. They find that through relationships and community. I dont think Scott Weiner cares a damn thing about community so that is why he is selling it down the river. He has got to be making a killing doing all of these deals as well. If we think that there are not a lot of capital moving hands through out ALL of these deals then you would be living in a cave. I just hope he moves on fast and gets the heck out of my city before he sells it clear off to the Chinese or Saudi's!

Posted by bluepearlgirl on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

Someone up above responded to another person who said that Wiener would be mayor eventually (for some time, I've said that his goal). The person responded by saying:

"Mayor? I think you under estimate how unpopular Scott is in the gay community. I would expect some major booing at the gay pride parade. But as he has helped to flood the Castro with straight tech employees he will be re-elected. Bland always wins."

I wanted to respond to that:

"But as he has helped to flood the Castro with straight tech employees..."

FINALLY someone else has noticed. I thought I was the only one to notice this. Yes, the Castro is rather straight these days---and seems to be getting straighter by the day---and they seem to go out of their way to make it very obvious they're straight, in case others haven't noticed. This can be a problem when a gay guy approaches a straight guy (in a gay bar) and the straight guy gets offended by being approached by a gay guy (in a gay bar). Why exactly is the straight guy in a gay bar to begin with?...especially when he has "issues" with being approached by a gay guy? Don't straights already have the run of bars throughout the city? They want the Castro bars too, I guess.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

You think that there should be a gay ghetto where straights don't go?

Discrimination is such an ugly thing to behold.

Posted by anon on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

If you don't support the entities that destroy diversity, then you oppose diversity? No, I support diversity by opposing that which destroys diversity.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

Only one group in America today is as hated as gay people are - seeking out a place of refuge or a getto offers gay people a place where they can be accepted by other gay people - but there is a tipping point where due to Scotts build build build multi-bedroom ways gay people are being pushed out - But like Nixon was needed to open China Scott is on board as the gay Uncle Tom who gives away the Castro

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

i feel like screaming. i grew up in san francisco. i'm no spring chicken. i remember reading what seems like fifty years ago articles where they quoted "Ted Gullickson of the rent control board." please, please, tell this man to go away. who pays him? why has he had this job for so long? does he have a lifetime right to his job? why hasn't he done anything in the last fifty years to stem the crisis we now find ourselves in. liberals and conservatives alike need to shove this fool's butt out the door. go away ted, just go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

You seem to be confused. You wrote:

"Ted Gullickson of the rent control board."

But the article reads, "San Francisco TENANTS UNION [emphasis added] head Ted Gullicksen."

The Tenants Union is not the same as the Rent Control Board.

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 12:33 am

Rafael Mandelman said this about SW: "he generally leave people with good feelings."

¡A-ya-ya-yay-ya-ya-yay! Many people would disagree with your statement Rafael Mandelman. For example, I'm sure the homeless and street people have "good feelings" about him. I could give many other examples.

One can always count on Mandelman to eat ass. It’s as if someone told him years ago that when he’s asked for a comment about some politician, “Never say anything that might offend ANYONE who supports the politician you're commenting on.” Be as mealy-mouthed, guarded, passive, bent-over and ass-eating as you can. That’s Mandelman. Ugh. My respect level for him is at zero.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 3:52 am