Nevius pushes for another crackdown, but it's not an agenda

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Homeless-rousting cop Gary Buckner is the poster child of CW Nevius's latest crusade for a crackdown.
illustration from image by Lea Suzuki

At last week's California Music and Culture Association forum on San Francisco's war on fun, I was on a media panel with San Francisco Chronicle columnist CW Nevius that answered questions posed by the audience, and Nevius steadfastly denied that he has any kind of agenda in writing so regularly about the need to crackdown on nightlife and streetlife. But his column today is yet another example proactively pushing that very agenda.

Nevius (who didn't respond to my inquiry on the issue this morning or a follow-up this afternoon) was a Chronicle sportswriter for 20 years before being given a Metro news column that consistently has a reactionary, politically unsophisticated take on San Francisco life, following in the mold of predecessor Ken Garcia. His recent crusades include calling for crackdowns on the homeless in Golden Gate Park, on young people on the streets of the Haight and downtown, and on nightclubs whose patrons have engaged in violence, trumpeting “public safety” as the political priority that trumps everything else.

On Sept. 19, Nevius published yet another column promoting the sit-lie ordinance that he has championed since even before its official inception, which Mayor Gavin Newsom placed on the November ballot as Measure L. In that column, “City citations show need for sit-lie,” Nevius detailed how those cited for quality-of-life infractions such a blocking sidewalks or public drinking or urination – mostly poor vagrants on the margins of society – rarely get significantly punished by the courts. Using painfully tortured logic that I still don't understand, he used that situation as an argument for creating a new quality-of-life infraction – sitting or lying on sidewalks – that would probably be similarly ignored by both its targets and the courts.

“Only the most stubborn sidewalk sitter stays in place, daring the officer to write a citation. Sit/lie, by encouraging that kind of common sense compliance, should actually cut down on the number of cases coming through the court system, a system that is demonstrably ineffective,” Nevius wrote, making the argument that a new category of crimes will somehow lower the number of people headed into the court system. Again, I don't understand the logic either, and Nevius hasn't responded to my inquiries.

But today, Nevius follows up that column with the “news” that some city officials are now considering developing a pilot program for socking it to the top 40 “sidewalk scofflaws,” as Nevius labels them. Both columns feature the same cop, Officer Gary Buckner, who writes a lot of these quality-of-life tickets, and the same officials who share Nevius' public safety priorities and love to score political points with conservatives and moderates by scapegoating the poor and homeless.

During the CMAC forum, I copped to the Guardian's perspective and the fact that we do promote an agenda that seeks to make San Francisco a more progressive and tolerant place, acknowledging and sometimes celebrating urban realities, even when they are sometimes loud, stinky, and perhaps a little scary. Hey, that's life the big city.

But Nevius and the Chronicle pretend that they aren't pushing back with an agenda of their own, one that seeks to impose on this great city the conservative values of Walnut Creek, where Nevius lived until earlier this year, where everything is well-scrubbed and the poor are effectively policed into the shadows or edges of town. Nevius says that he's just an objective journalist covering the news, something that most San Franciscans see as laughably dishonest.

Of course they're pushing an agenda in collaboration with the cops, Mayor Gavin Newsom and reactionary politicians of his ilk, and the downtown interests who value tourist dollars more than the lives and rights of the poorest San Franciscans. And if they were more honest about that intention, and willing to publicly debate our respective positions in good faith, I'm confident that most San Franciscans would share the Guardian's agenda for the city.

C'mon, Chuck, what do you say?

Comments

I’m not sure I understand, the Bay Guardian likes Janet Reilly and I quote “Janet Reilly should stay in the race”

She is robo-calling district 2 residents with Endorsements from the SAN FRANCISCO REPUBLICANS, and the Bay Guardian is bashing Meg Whitman, who is also a REPUBLICAN, where do you stand?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

This comment about Reilly and the Repubicans is simply not accurate. The San Francisco Republican Party endorsed Mark Farrell in D2 and is doing robocalls on his behalf that criticize Reilly for being endorsed by the the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Posted by steven on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 11:15 am

The good news is that it looks like that article is gone from their front page and I don't see it on the News page either. I was on the Chronicle's website earlier today and saw the article. I did not read it because it was written by Nevius who has an agenda and it only had a little over 200 comments, which is very low for the subject matter on that site. That could be why the article is now gone. It wasn't generating the desired response. Of course Nevius has an agenda and because he denies he has an agenda that means he does. Just like most politicians saying the opposite of what they really mean, intend to do or what the truth really is. Revenue must be down sharply at the Chronicle because I've noticed lately that they have really been churning out subject matter intended to generate responses which dump on the poor and the homeless and undocumented immigrants. Someone wrote a comment on there the other day that I agreed with and they ended their comment with "Next up, bicyclists." I'm not criticizing this article for being on here but it's curious why so many people give one person so much attention and credibility. His views are no more important than that of anyone else but the Chronicle seems to worship his every word. I don't like to see people become homeless but it would be interesting to see smug Nevius canned from the Chronicle, and who else would hire him?

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

"But today, Nevius follows up that column with the “news” that some city officials are now considering developing a pilot program for socking it to the top 40 “sidewalk scofflaws,” as Nevius labels them. Both columns feature the same cop, Officer Gary Buckner, who writes a lot of these quality-of-life tickets, and the same officials who share Nevius' public safety priorities and love to score political points with conservatives and moderates by scapegoating the poor and homeless."

"Enforce the laws already on the books"

Isn't that one of the mantras against sit lie, now you're complaining about them enforcing those laws, you are also complaining about someone advocating for enforcing those laws.

I read Campos quoted in the Mission Local that "we should enforce the laws already on the books" in reference to sit lie, I would find it far more interesting if you asked Campos why he wants to enforce these laws, while you think enforcing laws already on the books is bad. As your progressive fawning is so well documented, I'm sure he would return your calls. Since you two are on different ends of the "laws already on the books sides" we could see how you stand up to him and his anti-progressivism.

Wouldn't Nevious and the cop be gaining points with progressives for wanting laws already on the books to be enforced? Shouldn't you be cheering that they are enforcing laws already on the books?

Unless the mantra "enforce laws already on the books" is just a Whitman like slogan?

Posted by matlock on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

The reason you keep hearing "exist the laws already on the books", is because those laws are adequate to deal with _problem or unwanted_ behavior.

There are sidewalk obstruction laws (MPC 22, 23, 24), aggressive panhandling laws (MPC 120-2), as well as laws against harassment and assault.

PROPOSITION L criminalizes the simple act of sitting. If there is a homeless person peacefully sitting on a sidewalk and bothering no one, that is now a crime. A child sitting on a sidewalk is now a criminal. A person sitting and reading a book while waiting for MUNI is a criminal. Putting a chair on a sidewalk in front of your house on a nice day would make you a criminal.

The issue is not that the existing laws are as comprehensive as PROP L and sit/lie, it's that they exist to deal with problematic and undesired behavior. PROP L only addresses sitting, which can be a very peaceful, desired, and human thing to do.

If the police would "enforce the laws that are on the books" and there was still problematic behavior, then and only then should we escalate to new laws.

PROP L is akin to making it illegal to cross the street anywhere because the city wants to crack down on jaywalking.

Increased beat presence in high complaint areas, while by no means a solution, would be a much more practical, logical, and effective next step.

Posted by mark on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

There are plenty of laws on the books to address these problem people.

If you read the primary document that is Nevius's essay, it was all about enforcing laws already on the books and making these laws stick to the people who habitually break them.

This was in the May 25, 2010 examiner "Chiu and Mirkarimi maintained that there were several anti-loitering laws already on the books that were not being fully enforced."

In the may 25th Chronicle we can read "This administration has failed the public in terms of implementing laws that are already on the books," Campos said. "

June 9 2010 we can read in the examiner "The Police Department needs to do its job and enforce the laws that are already on the books,” Supervisor David Campos said.

Do a search, mix up the words some and so called "progressive" supervisor names and there is even more quotes.

Note lawyer shit bag Campos blames "This administration" for not enforcing laws on the books.

So instead bitching about a sports journalist who Steve attacks the credentials of, why doesn't so called journalist Jones call Campos and ask whats up? That call would be far more interesting. What was Campos's plan for enforcing laws already on the books and why has he not pushed "this administration" into "enforcing these laws already on the books?"

Nevius is relating the cities plan to enforce the laws already on the books in his piece, he didn't create the plan. This plan is something like what Mirkirimi, Campos, and Chiu had advocated for in the daily papers months before. Oddly in the months between their quotes and this piece they didn't do shit to "enforce laws already on the books."

Anyone with any sense knew that Mirkirimi, Campos and Chiu were all bullshitting and trying to deflect. But it is comical in the long run as the progressives and their servile apologists scream about how much better they are than the rest of us.

It slays me that the Guardian tries to pretend that it is a watchdog of some sort over the city, when it is just a lap dog to bullshit artists.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 1:31 am

The the police are not bound to anything that the BOS says, aside from legislation passed. The BOS voted down Sit/Lie more or less because they felt the current laws could address the issue if enforced. What would you suggest they do after that? Pass a resolution pleading with the Police department to enforce the laws?

The police department is the sole entity responsible for enforcing the law.

If you'd like your question answered as simply as possible, look to Proposition M. It was drafted by members of The Board and is a plan for the police to work with merchants to establish an effective beat. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about? What else would you suggest they do?

Posted by mark on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

PROP L is akin to making it illegal to cross the street anywhere because the city wants to crack down on jaywalking. That's the way it should be and then we will make it illegal to have sex unless you are procreating, and as for spanking the monkey, that will be a crime punishable by death, praise be the lord, allllllllulia (is that spelt correct?)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

cough, ahem, err

But don't you think its odd that the same people who want the city to enforce laws already on the books are howling when those laws are enforced?

Whats the difference here. left wing bullshitters as opposed to your right wing bullshitters?

Posted by matlock on Sep. 30, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

Very Clever Mr Matlock!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 8:55 am

Glen, the answer of "enforce the laws on the books" only comes in response to overblown stories of assaults, harassment, or blocking sidewalks, which are already illegal. But most of us who oppose Prop. L think this entire issue has been blown way out of proportion and that any problems could be solved by just a watchful cop walking a beat. They don't even need to hand out tickets, which is why Nevius and his ilk -- and these columns -- are so alarmist and irrelevant.

Posted by steven on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 10:01 am

his was in the May 25, 2010 examiner "Chiu and Mirkarimi maintained that there were several anti-loitering laws already on the books that were not being fully enforced."

In the may 25th Chronicle we can read "This administration has failed the public in terms of implementing laws that are already on the books," Campos said. "

June 9 2010 we can read in the examiner "The Police Department needs to do its job and enforce the laws that are already on the books,” Supervisor David Campos said.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

From ABC 7

"Campos faulted the Police Department for failing to enforce the multiple quality-of-life laws already on the books, which he said adequately address and criminalize the behavior proponents of the measure say justifies the need for the new ordinance.

"If they did their job, we wouldn't be here today," he said. "

Since I am sure Campos would return your calls please call him and ask why he and Nevius are on the same side on this.

--

From the "stand against sit lie" web page, these laws already on the books are noted. Why do you differ from them in calling for enforcement of laws already on the books? Nevius reports on putting some teeth in laws already on the books, and you are complaining. Why are you against David Campos and the stand against sit lie web page on this? Why are you not writing blogs about them this? I'm sure those groups would return you calls.

Laws already on the books that Steve Jones doesn't want enforced.

"A. Aggressive Panhandling: Police Code Section 120-2 & Penal Code Section 647(c)
B. Obstruction of Sidewalks: Police Code Section 22 & Penal Code Section 647c
C. Obstruction with Belongings: Police Code Section 63"

Posted by matlock on Oct. 02, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

Despite the current standard of discourse about the issue, simply stating something does not make it a fact.

Provide sources of this "howling when [existing] laws are enforced". If you don't have any, you're simply trying to pass off opinion or stereotype as fact.

You have added nothing to the discussion with this comment. Thank you.

Posted by mark on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

OK sure, the supes want the current laws enforced, right.

If indeed the the so called progressive supes want the current laws enforced, then Steve's issue in this case is with them too. His problem shouldn't be with Nevius as his bit in the Chronicle was about having some consequences around the current laws.

Campos was on the police commission, I watched him on cable access even, if he cared he would have been at it when he was on the commission. Instead he deflects towards "the present administration" and just used the commission to get his name out there so a spring board to the supes.

And what exactly does the BOS beat program have to do with enforcing laws on the books now? From the Chronicle column it is demonstrated that there are no repercussions from breaking the law as things are set up today, and Steve is complaining that things may change towards there being repercussions. If the beat cop thing passes and cops write tickets what has changed?

Should tickets magically be followed up on when written by beat cops? Will there be a cop down at 850 Bryant processing beat cop tickets and tossing ones written by car cops?

So here are "the facts," the Chronicle column was about enforcing laws on the books, Steve complained. He is out of step with the progressives stated claims(supposedly, although we all know he's in lock step) of wanting laws on the books enforced.

As to the howling, Steves original blog column, he's complaining that laws on the books may be enforced in the future. The "discussion" from the progressive end is "lets put this off, make excuses, blame other people, and then hope everyone forgets about it and back to usual"

Posted by matlock on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

Provide sufficient effective, accessible and safe BASIC SERVICES like access to clean water for drinking, bathing, cooking and laundry; access to locally available fresh foods; public bathrooms, public gathering spaces. These are considered basic services because their absence invariably causes significant threats to public health and safety.

If you want to generate revenue through a punitive response to "quality of life" laws, ticket drivers who don't stop for pedestrians or raise the insignificant fine for driving while talking / texting / eating / putting on make-up / reading or generally having your head up your ass behind the wheel.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 6:37 am

"access to locally available fresh foods"

You have never met or seen an SF hobo have you?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 02, 2010 @ 11:55 am

I followed up on Nevius' column Yesterday, & it's entirely inaccurate. There is no plan, the courts have no part in it, & the courts have said that they would not implement such a plan were it presented to them.

Also: Buckner has been accused by multiple homeless people of serious assault for the crime of sleeping.

Posted by Botellas on Oct. 01, 2010 @ 6:55 am

Officer Gary Buckner is running around attacking homeless people
we should trust a officer with a skin head hair cut
their are several cases that officer 1314 has been involved in
the occ dose not track cases of abuse well
buckner is pushing 50 and has no rank

Nevius hates homeless
ive never seen him come to
the shelter monitoring committee
the local homeless coordinating board
has he read the ten year plan on ending homelessness
if he did he would see a system that
dose not work for the poor exit poverty

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

"we should trust a officer with a skin head hair cut"

I doubt that he is a skinhead, but why so you think we should trust him because he has the same haircut as a skinhead?

http://www.ccsf.edu/Departments/English/

Posted by matlock on Oct. 02, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

Re: Matlock
Did I miss something?
When did any of "The Progressives" advocate not enforcing existing laws regarding all the fictionalized arson and baby-spitting and sidewalk assaults that Nevius, Gascon, and that weird attention starved little dyed red hair guy keep making up?
By the way, Matlock, do you post on this website using any other handles, or is this your only one?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 11:54 am

Now I'm posting as Sam, I mean Barbra.

If you read Nevius's rant you will see that its about enforcing laws already on the books, and then if you read Steve's bitching about the rant, Steve is upset about enforcing laws already on the books.

In reality the "enforce laws already on the books" is a dodge by the progressives like Steve, hoping that it all goes away so they can get back to more complaining about how we owe them.

Steve said

"Glen, the answer of "enforce the laws on the books" only comes in response to overblown stories of assaults, harassment, or blocking sidewalks, which are already illegal."

Meaning the slogan was a dodge.

Here is a Campos quote where he blames "this administration" meaning someone else, oddly Campos was on the police commission for some time and could have advocated for "enforcing laws already on the books"

In the may 25th Chronicle we can read "This administration has failed the public in terms of implementing laws that are already on the books," Campos said. "

That slogan is an attempt to put this off, blame it all on someone else, so that they can get back to business as usual.

Reminds a person of Meg Whitman's flopping around over the maid issue eh?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 03, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

Glen, I can't tell whether you're being deliberately dense or whether your obsession with playing "gotcha" games with progressives affects your reading comprehension skills. Progressives didn't turn this into a big issue, and their answer of "enforce the laws on the books" is simply a response to these ridiculous overblown stories that Arthur Evans, CW Nevius, and others have amplified to the point of ridiculousness, most of which involve behaviors that are already crimes (threats, blocking storefronts, spitting on babies, etc.). It's an honest answer that makes a good faith effort to address what most progressives see as a non-issue meant to animate conservative voters. But for those citizens and voters who are concerned with street thugs and their dogs menacing passersby, that's the answer: Enforce existing laws against that behavior, don't create a new law that goes far beyond addressing the horror stories that Evans and Nevius love to tell.

Posted by steven on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 11:45 am

His whole column is about enforcing laws already on the books and you were bitching about it.

It's not that complicated.

The slogan "just enforce laws already on the books" is just a dodge hoping that non progressives grow weary of the whole issue and lose interest. Your blog complaining about Nevius proves that you don't care about enforcing laws on the books.

Mirkirimi ignores his constituents, then it gets serious and he feels their pain for a few weeks, but he really just wants it all to go away so as not to be unPC. He wasn't calling the district station asking for some quality of life enforcement at any time, he was just listening like he cared for a while, it got some momentum and out comes "enforce laws already on the books".

You can make your own reality all day but it doesn't change the history of the SF uni-mind.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

For decades, I've been working to improve street safety in my neighborhood. The single greatest obstacle to enforcing existing laws on public safety has been the progressive block at the supes.

They have repeatedly called such enforcement "a war on the poor." They have attacked police officials who encouraged such enforcement. They have scoffed at residents clamoring for better enforcement. They have tried to gut programs that would improve enforcement.

Now, all of sudden, they say there should be better enforcement of existing laws. Why the big change?

Let's be honest. We all know the reason. They're trying to defeat Prop L, the civil-sidewalks law. Yet their foot-dragging on effective law enforcement has helped create the situation where Prop L is needed.

There's a big irony in all this. They have put forward their hypocrisy and foot-dragging in the name of "progressive politics." As if making neighborhoods safe were not a progressive imperative!

There is a political reality behind their sodden behavior. It's the clout of the nonprofit political complex, especially Homelessness Inc.

Since Gavin Newsom became mayor, the city has funneled one billion dollars into providing social services for the homeless, according to recent newspaper accounts.

As a result, Homelessness Inc is now a big business in SF. And it's in a symbiotic relationship with the migratory addicts and alcoholics whom it serves as an enabler. It has entrenched itself with hundreds of jobs, which would be lost if homelessness were suddenly solved in SF.

It exercises the same influence over the progressive block of the supes that the military-industrial complex exercises over Republicans in Congress.

There is nothing whatever progressive about any of this. But it does promote the career ambitions of certain posturing politicians.

This hypocritical, cheesy arrangement between entrenched economic interests, on one hand, and the posturing politicians whom it manipulates, on the other, is a familiar feature in U.S. politics.

It's known as "The System."

Posted by Arthur Evans on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

"In the Past, Progressives Opposed Enforcing Laws"
Citation?
Links?
Factual support?
Anything but an inexhaustible supply of hot gas and repetition?

Posted by SamIAmNot on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

the one by Steve Jones right?

The column where he complains about enforcing laws on the books?

The column that all these comments have followed up?

The column dated just a few days ago?

The column that this post of yours is under?

Posted by matlocl on Oct. 05, 2010 @ 12:52 am

Vote Yes on Prop M to force police to do their jobs and address any problems on Haight Street!

The problems on Haight Street were nothing new, and of such a limited nature that they were solved within a week last December by police enforcing already existing laws. “Haight Street is looking great.”
Nevius declared on Dec. 24.
sfist.com/2009/12/24/nevius_confirms_sfists_story_haight.php

As for the manufactured panic and fears of “thugs with dogs”, it turns out that, after six weeks of daily patrols and strict enforcement, the SFPD says:“We have not found any menacing dogs,”
“instead of encountering aggressive animals, the officers discovered the more-common issue was unlicensed and off-leash dogs.”
sfexaminer.com/local/Dogs-becoming-concern-on-Haight-90906099.html

To sum up:
If the problems that a handful of alarmist cranks used to foment fear and panic across the city was solved in a week by police enforcing already existing laws, we obviously don’t need a new law that robs all San Franciscans of our civil rights.
This unneccesary law threatens REAL rights, including the right to sit in public, as opposed to imaginary rights, like ”the right to sidewalk civility”.
The idea that civility, or courtesy, or politeness ought to be legislated and that police should jail those who violate politeness laws would be laughable if it were not so nightmarish and Un-American.

Vote Yes on Prop M!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2010 @ 1:41 pm