Chickens No Show at Town Hall Meeting


By Sarah Phelan
Maybe the chickens weren’t into cycling through the rain in soggy costumes. Or they figured that being hemmed in together with them for two hours at the Whitney Young Community Center on a rainy Saturday morning would have had Mayor Newsom falling off the wagon by day’s end.
Whatever the reason for the chickens chickening out, their absence didn't spare Gavin from folks protesting what he’s not doing for the Bayview, or housing advocates yelling, "We will not be moved!" just before they left the room, or a bunch of ACORN activists decrying his plans to demolish ’ the Alice Griffith Housing Project> .

Newsom didn’t have any answer for why AG residents hadn’t been consulted about this latter plan, which was kinda odd since it was part of his own last-ditch attempt to stop the 49ers from dumping San Francisco. But he was quick to point out that Board of Supervisors Chair Aaron Peskin and Sup. Sophie Maxwell have already added language to the proposal so current AG residents are guaranteed one-for-one replacement housing at their current low-income levels—housing they’ve also been promised will be built before AG is torn down. (Thanks Aaron and Sophie, and let's just make sure there's no last minute bait and switches this time around.)

By the end of the two hours, Gavin had also got beaten up for, among other things, holding the meeting at the top of a hill, referring to the community center as the Whitney Young Child Care center, never visiting the Bayview except for once when he was first elected, and not having translators and sign language interpreters.
Also beaten up was the SF Housing Authority’s Gregg Fortner, who gave out his phone number, only to have an audience members shout, “You never answer! Where ya been?”
And then there was the fact that Newsom introduced Miguel Bustos as his new appointments secretary. (Uh oh)
But no one mentioned the AFFAIR, in part because Gavin’s new flame Jennifer Siebel was very much in tow, and even offered up her chair so seniors and kids could be seated. Still, by the end of the meeting, Gavin must have beenwondering whether Question Time before the Board could have been any worse, and why he'd ever volunteered to give up Saturday mornings to get heckled and pecked, chickens not withstanding.