What are "old-fashioned" SF values?


Michael Breyer, who has never held elective office in San Francisco and is running for state Assembly, is getting a fair amount of press -- and although he has nowhere near the visibility of Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, he has the support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and may throw a boatload of money into the race. He's already sent out one flier that features very little about him but a lot about his (more famous) family -- his father, Steven Breyer, is a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and his uncle, Charles Breyer, is a federal judge.

But here's what intrigued me about the mail piece: It says that

"Sacramento needs a fresh perspective. It needs old-fashioned San Francisco values."

What, exactly, are "old-fashioned San Francisco values?" One could certainly argue that the message harkens back to a day when the city was less diverse, less progressive, less open to the sometimes-radical ideas (remember this one?) that have changed the nation and the world. Of course, exploiting the workers and destroying the environment in the name of extracting riches was a famous SF value during the Gold Rush era; so was the Chinese Exclusion Act. On the other hand, resisting the Red Scare was a great traditional SF value in the 1950s, as were civil-rights sit-ins. Free love, free drugs and free lunch were vintage SF values a decade or so later. Labor struggles against capital are also a great San Francisco value.

So what, exactly, is Mr. Breyer talking about?

I called his campaign manager, Michael Terris, who wrote the piece, and asked him if Breyer was longing for a more conservative, less diverse era. "Not at all," he said. "Old-fashioned values mean family, schools, neighborhoods, quality-of-life issues. Those are shared by the many diverse communities in the 19th District." He added: "The West Side sees things a little differently."

And while one of Breyer's main issues is education, the great San Francisco value of taxing the wealthy to provide public services isn't part of his platform. Although he does support Gov. Brown's tax plan for November, he does not support amending Prop. 13 to shift the burden of taxation back to commercial property. He has the strong support of the Building Owners and Managers Association, which is all about keeping taxes low on huge commercial properties owned by vastly rich outfits.

So he clearly doesn't share my old-fashioned San Francisco values. What about yours?

UPDATE: My mistake -- Feinstein hasn't endorsed Breyer. She supported him for D5 supervisor but is staying out of this race.




of the voters of the west-side of town which, as you know, are fairly moderate and centrist. And I would say that he does. If 60% of SF voters support Mayor Lee over elftier alternatives, then it's reasonable to assume that there is a plurality in SF for a moderate, balanced platform. And a fortiori, that applies to the west-side.

So what do you care about more, Tim? What the people of SF want in aggregate? Or what you personally would like to see? Is it one of your "old-fashioned values" to ignore the majority?

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

He's not running against Chris Daly. As if Phil Ting doesn't also have a 'moderate, balanced platform'

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 12:53 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

If that is what you took out of my statement reading comprehension courses are needed.

You were acting like Breyer is going to walk this because he has a 'moderate and balanced platform' My point is that Ting is quite moderate as well (aka he is not Chris Daly) and Ting should start out as the favorite due to local endorsements, name recognition, and Breyer getting into the race late. Breyer has fundraised well and Ting hasn't really needed to so let's see if Ting can step it up now that he has a well financed challenger.

Also don't discount Ting's ethnicity being an advantage to him on the west side.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

Good catch, Tim. There is no way to deny that Breyer is referring to the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Red Scare when he speaks of "Old Fashioned San Francisco Values". It could not be clearer now that you pointed it out.

The Justice Department should open an investigation immediately and should consider this to be a hate crime. Speech like that just can not be tolerated.

It is so sad to hear that, in 2012, people still refer to 'Old Fashioned San Francisco Values' in a positive manner.

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

"the great San Francisco value of taxing the wealthy to provide public services isn't part of his platform."

That is your value. It seems that half of your articles are about tax, tax, tax, more tax. That doesn't make it a San Francisco value.

Posted by The Commish on May. 11, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

such as property tax, income tax, and sales tax beyond a narrow limit. So SF voters voting for higher taxes, even insofar as they do, mainly influence tax policy at the state level.

SF can tinker with a payroll tax and a transfer tax, but that's small beer. Tim is living in a dream world.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

This is an article about a STATE assembly race.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

Whatever they are?

San Francisco is about 2% of the State's population and voters - clearly not enough to influence on its own.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 8:45 am

Tell that to Nancy Pelosi. While her San Francisco values aren't quite the Bay Guardian's, they're certainly to the left of much of America's, but she was still Speaker and may be again.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 10:28 am

A stupid article by someone who can't even run a business right. And you're the one telling us how to run the state's finances? Whatever.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 7:53 am

perfect for Sacramento.

What better prepares you to bend over for government unions and burn taxpayer money in Sacramento than a guy who would waste boatloads of City general fund money in a mayor's race he had no chance of winning.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 11:31 am