The Chron's C.W. Nevius has made a big deal of moving back into town from the suburbs -- and the offhand comment by Steve Jones in an email to Nevius has almost become a sticky nickname. In fact, his own newspaper's website, sfgate, headlined his column "Suburban twit moves to city."
But Chuck's got some work to do before he starts to understand San Francisco values.
Take his latest column, about the Democratic County Central Commitee. Now, any Chron columnist (or anyone else) has the right to endorse and advocate for any candidates he or she wants. And Nevius is absolutely right to point out that the DCCC race is crucial, that control of the committee will have a significant impact on the fall supervisorial elections.
Here's what made me want to scream:
"So, if you're happy with the far-left agenda, check out the Bay Guardian. (Progs with name recognition like Peskin, David Campos, David Chiu, and John Avalos are probably shoo-ins. Daly is not running.) For those who'd like to see a swing to families, kids, and civility on the streets, here are some suggestions."
A swing to families and kids? You must be kidding.
The single greatest issue facing families and children in this city is the cost of housing. That's why Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, which almost everyone agrees is the premier family-advocate group in the city, has made affordable housing a huge priority.
Some of what a recent Coleman report says:
"Two-thirds of all children in the city do not have a secure future in San Francisco
More families in San Francisco are low-income (43%) than middle-income (23%), and face economic hardship even when working full-time jobs.
Extreme racial disparities in family income and access to opportunity mean that the majority of children who do not have a secure future in SF are children of color, and the majority of children who do have a secure future are white."
Coleman's recommendations: Build and preserve affordable housing for families -- not market-rate condos, not condo conversions, but below-market-rate housing.
From the report:
"1. Prioritize the needs of 45,000 children growing up in 20,000 extremely-poor and low-wage working families. trategies must combine investing in a stronger social safety-net for families now, and investing in anti-poverty strategies that will prepare today’s poor children to become economically secure San Franciscans of the future. The city’s housing and educational policies must focus on the children and families with the greatest need, and not get sidetracked by the demands of middle-income or upper-income families whose needs are legitimate but not as urgent.
2. Invest in affordable homeownership programs for middle-income families, but focus the vast majority of limited housing resources on building permanently affordable family rental housing."
That is exactly what the progressives -- the "far left" folks that Nevius decries -- have been talking about all these years. The candidates Nevius endorses are of the political camp that advocates more market-rate housing, more condo conversions, fewer tenant protections -- more of the kind of things that drive lower-income families out of the city.
The next priority is education. Families that don't have a lot of money have no option other than the public schools, and a lot of us who might be able to afford private schools still think public education is the way to go. What the schools need in San Francisco is pretty simple: They need more money. The "moderates: Nevius endorses -- who actually count as fiscal conservatives, by San Francisco standards -- are generally against raising taxes, as is our mayor. The San Francisco city government doesn't oversee the schools, and most of the education money in California comes from the state -- but San Francisco's Rainy Day Fund, and the willingness of the supervisors to put money into the local schools, has saved hundreds of teacher layoffs and helped the quality of the local public schools.
Where did that idea come from? Progressive leader Tom Ammiano.
I'm a San Francisco parent with two kids, and I have a lot of friends who are San Francisco families, and none of us see the Nevius agenda as family-friendly. That's why we're supporting the progressives.