September 18, 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Yes on A
This responds to the astonishing letter you printed from Steve Lawrence, who opposes the Hetch Hetchy water bond (Proposition A) [Letters, 9/4/02]. He is the spokesman for a wacky group of Westside conservatives trying to sell the City on their dubious claim to "fiscal responsibility." Their arguments follow two weird themes: The first resurrects Nancy Reagan's old antidrug message, "Just Say No," while avoiding any mention of what the consequences or alternatives really are. That is as silly now as it was then. The consequences for defeating Prop. A will be severe and long lasting. The second theme they're selling is even scarier "We've got to teach those water bureaucrats a lesson!" It's really the people of our own city who depend on H.H. water that will be hurt badly by Prop. A's defeat.
The H.H. system is the crown jewel of our city and the envy of most cities in the world. However, its political reality is that two-thirds of its water customers live outside San Francisco, pay significantly higher water rates than we do, and have no voice whatsoever in how the H.H. system is managed. The 1.6 million H.H. water customers outside S.F. have watched with growing frustration at our continuing neglect of this vital infrastructure and the endless political games that afflict the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The U.S. Geological Survey states that there is a 70 percent chance of an earthquake greater than 7.0 in the Bay Area within the next 30 years. The 167-mile H.H. system crosses three major fault zones. Without the investment provided by Prop. A, a properly located seismic rupture of the aqueduct could result in a 60-day cutoff of water supplies to the Bay Area.
Mr. Lawrence is dishonest when he suggests that defeating Prop. A is risk-free and without cost. Good, clean water is too essential and scarce a resource to be subjected to these loony, dangerously shortsighted games. Vote "Yes" on Prop. A.
Celebrating Patriot Day
Now that George W. Bush has declared Sept. 11 as "Patriot Day," we patriotic Americans need to figure out how to properly celebrate it. I think I will celebrate Patriot Day by reenacting our fearless leader's immediate response to the plane crashes. I will do what Bush did the moment he was told about this horrific terrorist attack against the American people and try to relive the experience of the first moments of his response to this grave national crisis. I will read a book about a goat to children for 25 minutes.
Squatting and stealing
I was dazed to read your article advocating squatting in San Francisco buildings as a viable means of providing housing to the homeless ["Don't Just Stand There Squat," 9/4/02]. I'm here to remind you that taking someone's property without permission is stealing.
New York's circumstances are entirely different from ours and should not serve as any basis to propose squatting. (A 60-year-old building in New York without heat can't compare to a seismically deficient building in San Francisco.)
We have a critically fractured tenant-landlord dialogue in this city, and this article will only exacerbate that divide. Shame on you for being part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Saints and squatters
I have to say it is in spite of my better judgment that I write to the Bay Guardian.
It seems that once again the concept of stealing, sorry, you said squatting in, someone else's property has reared its head out of the muck.
Perhaps there might not be so much empty property if landlords felt comfortable that they could retain their rights to their own property if needed. Since every lease is now a lifetime lease, it makes sense that a landlord will carefully weigh his/her options before renting to a tenant s/he may have for a lifetime, especially if it is a two- or four-unit building that is owner-occupied.
If these saints, I mean squatters, are so interested in doing sweat equity, why don't they partner with Habitat for Humanity or see about getting some of that Proposition A money that mustn't have been spent yet, since we only have about 300 of the promised 3,000 units built or started?
For the record
In the Aug. 28 issue of Hall Monitor, we incorrectly stated the name of Malik Looper, who represents Sup. Mark Leno, and how he voted on Proposition O. Looper voted for "no endorsement." A majority of the Democratic County Central Committee's members voted to support it.
Last week's story on the new documentary about the energy crisis and local power issues incorrectly reported the date of the film premiere. In the Dark opened at the Red Vic, Sept. 17 and plays again Sept. 18. See Rep Clock, in Film listings, for times.