By Bruce B. Brugmann (with the complete text of Art Agnos speech to the May 21 dinner of San Francisco Tomorrow)
When Art Agnos was sworn in as mayor in 1988, he used the Athenian Oath that was taken by young men reaching the age of majority in Athens 2000 years ago. He shortened the oath (as many did) to say: “I promise…upon my honor…to leave my city better than I found it.”
For Agnos, a Greek steeped in Greek traditions, the oath was a serious matter. “At the heart of our vision,” Agnos said in his inaugural address, “ is a refusal to let San Francisco become an expensive enclave that locks out the middle class, working families and the poor. At the center of our strategy is a belief in the basic right of people to decent jobs and housing.”
Twenty-six years later, Citizen Agnos was working hard in private life to leave his city better than he had found it. He led a citizens’ movement that stopped the monstrous 8 Washington project, knocked the Warriors off the piers, forced the Giants to lower their highrise expectations, and promoted Proposition B that would stop the Wall on the Waterfront and require a public vote on any increases to current height limits on port property.
And Agnos is having the time of his life doing all this, as he made clear in his remarks to San Francisco Tomorrow, the one organization in town that has been manning the barricades in every major Manhattanization battle all these years on the waterfront and everywhere else. He enjoys taking on Mayor Lee and “the high tech billionaire political network that wants to control city hall and fulfill their vision of who can live here and where.” And he must relish the Chronicle’s C.W.Nevius and the paper’s editors and their self-immolating bouts of hysteria. Read more »
The Golden State Warriors' announcement that its planned 18,000-seat basketball arena would be moved off the San Francisco waterfront was fresh in everyone's mind when former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos visited the Bay Guardian office on April 23, and he was electrified by the win.
"I resent anyone suggesting that this is not a genuine people-powered victory — again," Agnos said. "Because that's what it was, bottom line."Read more »
A general obligation bond to improve San Francisco parks ought to be a slam dunk, particularly when it's getting pushed by Sup. Scott Wiener, who isn't exactly a pro-tax kind of guy. The left always votes for these things. Wiener's lining up the moderates. Proposition B would, in normal circumstances, get 70 percent of the vote.Read more »