The machine - Page 3

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

Tom Radulovich, director of Livable City, puts it this way: "One thing he's really doing is reforms in the process of government. He wants to smooth the way for the transformation of the city."

While smoothing the way for change is good for those who desire certain changes — whether it be a developer building luxury condos or the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition trying to add more bike lanes — there are often good reasons why change occurs in a slow, methodical way in San Francisco, a city of great wealth and power but also lots of checks and balances on how power gets wielded.

"Process is important in San Francisco," Radulovich said. "For a lot of people that want to slow things down, they are very process focused, and he's really messing with that."

Wiener's efforts particularly rankle people like Aaron Peskin, who started as a historic preservation activist before leading a prolific agenda (he said he authored 205 ordinances in eight years, far faster than Wiener's pace) as a supervisor during the board's modern progressive era.

Peskin — who successfully ran against Wiener for DCCC chair in 2008 and has fought him on historic preservation and other progressive issues since then — doesn't mince words when describing Wiener's agenda and key votes as supervisor: "Supervisor Wiener is intent on turning the clock back on San Francisco's decades-long legacy of cutting edge legislation to protect consumers and the environment."

Radulovich says the trend is upsetting the city's balance in unpredictable ways. "The net result is he's speeding everything up, the good, the bad, and the ugly. He's taking the brakes off of change," Radulovich said. "In all of these changes, it's hard to tell what's going to happen because these are big, complex systems."

Wiener sees it differently. His bill to modify the city's CEQA interpretation would make it harder to file multiple project appeals — and he thinks that's a good thing: "There are people who want to the option to be oppositional and to just have something in their hip pocket, even if it has no merit."

Yet activists fighting the measure say it also makes it easier for projects to slide through without proper public or environment scrutiny. For example, the city originally exempted the controversial Beach Chalet artificial turf project in Golden Gate Park from doing an Environmental Impact Report, which eventually found significant impacts to wildlife, drainage, and from bright artificial lights.

There are some who worry that the Land Use Committee will be more friendly to market-rate developers under Wiener's leadership.

"I'm really concerned with the direction the city is going on land-use issues, particularly with him now chairing the Land Use Committee," Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk Club, told me. "It's about the future of the city and who it's being built for."

Peter Cohen of the Council of Community Housing Organizations notes that Wiener's focus during "affordable housing" discussions has been on middle class homeowners: "I'm interested to see if he pushes that narrative, that we're not doing enough for the middle class, because it is a bit of a zero sum game with housing and land use."

Radulovich said Wiener may not be critical enough of projects that seek more than their zoning entitles them to, a growing problem in San Francisco that has set precedents for more intensive development and made it difficult to analyze cumulative impacts of the decisions: "Having a Land Use chair that going to move those things along will allow planning by exception."

Between watching out for Wiener's legislation and tracking the development projects that seem to keep springing out of nowhere, progressive activists are busy.

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

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