The Chronicle's looney

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By Tim Redmond

The San Francisco Chronicle apparently thinks a retired Wall Street Journal reporter who now lives in Berkeley and who wrote a remarkably homophobic piece on San Francisco politics way back in 1995 is the perfect persion to comment on the current Board of Supervisors. His piece, on SFGate, has the headline "Clown Show: The Board of Supervisors SF deserves? His point, it appears, is that the large queer community in San Francisco and the looney liberals here have elected a bunch of crazies to the board.

I would ignore this shit, except that it comes in the wake of all the Chris Daly bashing (much of which is factually inaccurate -- Daly never accused the mayor of doing cocaine) and will, no doubt, fuel a new attack on district elections.

So let's be real here: This district-elected board is hardly a crew of wackos. The board has done exceptional work over the past few years, passing landmark legislation that has put San Francisco in the forefront of American cities on progressive policy.

Just a few examples:

This board gave us the living-wage law. This board gave us a universal health-insurance program. This board gave us community-choice aggregation. This board gave us balanced budgets that avoided huge cuts in social services. This board has consistently led the way in policy-making while the mayor has been off galavanting around with the swells and ignoring his job.

Be serious. I've been watching SF politics since 1981. I've seen an awful lot of bizarre behavior. I've seen astonishing levels of sleaze and corruption. I've seen sellouts, crooks and bag men. And I have to say, this district-elected board is the most professional and productive group I've ever witnessed in this city.

I emailed Zachary and asked him to call me to discuss this; he emailed back and said he was busy, and that his article stands on its own. Fine. But it's silly, inaccurate and surprisingly inappropriate (the "fruits and nuts" and blaming queer people for wacky politics thing really doesn't belong in San Francisco in 2007). Why did the Chron even run this?

(If Andrew S. Ross, the editor on the piece, calls me back I'll let you kow what he says.)

UPDATE: Ross got back to me to say he had addressed the "fruits and nuts" question in his comments on SFGate. Here's what he said:

As to the "fruits and nuts" reference, which has drawn some criticism, that was an editing suggestion on my part. It was supposed to be ironic -- recalling a phrase that was thrown around quite liberally (pardon the pun) in the not-so-distant past. Hence the use of the word "spawn" and the quote marks around the phrase itself. No offense intended. Apologies if any was taken.

I don't think he's a bad guy and I don't think he meant any offense, but it was a bit clueless.