Over the last few days, Weiner’s PR team has been hard at work getting as much positive press about the Weiner in the media in an attempt to bury the story about him getting his anti-historic preservation bill through the Board of Supervisors, that will amongst other things make it very very difficult now to get the Gay Historic Corridor approved for The Folsom District. He knows it is going to look bad to his very gay district when people find out that instead of working on behalf of his constituents to preserve what is left of the iconic Folsom, he has been working with the developers and moneyed elite to raze the area for expensive condos for non-San Franciscans working in the dot.com sector to move in and displace residents who have lived here for decades.
Why is he doing this? No one can be sure but clearly he is getting something out of the deal, probably financial backing. So he is motivated by greed and homophobic. Great- a homophobic self loathing gay man in Harvey Milk‘s old seat. So to hide this from the public, almost daily for the last week, his office has been releasing to the press cute little stories about how he is pro-dog, pro-tamale lady , pro -trees, etc. But if you really want to see what he is all about, slow down next time you drive past Dolores and Market and realize that in that spot Weiner and the other corrupt cronies in City Hall pushed through a nine story condo complex with only .5 parking spaces per unit. Then to make matters worse, they have gotten Whole Foods to go into the bottom floor and this un-needed store will only have about 25 parking spaces available to it. If this scenario is not bad enough, unbelievably, one lane of traffic will be removed from that block in either direction, to widen the sidewalks. In case you have never noticed the sidewalks on Dolores have always been wide enough to drive two cars on them side by side. Apparently, Whole Foods, who is run by a Republican man in Texas, wants sidewalk seating.
Weiner and company says that they want to get people out of their cars. Thats a joke, building a Whole Foods, encourages people to drive to the neighborhood, It will block traffic coming up Duboce and block Market Street while people wait to turn onto the one lane left on Dolores for a valet to park their SUV in one of the 25 spaces. They will have to do that because there won’t be much parking left in the neighborhood now. If they really wanted to get people out of cars, why not remove the asphalt over the existing street car tracks on Dolores and run Street Cars again up that once beautiful Street as it was originally designed? Scott Weiner needs to be exposed for what he really is.
A tool for the developers.
What the preservation vote says about the 2012 supervisors
UPDATE: Important update at the end of this story
What does it mean that a historic preservation law favored by developers and promoted by Sup. Scott Wiener passed the Board of Supervisors 8-3? Maybe nothing. Historic preservation is a strange poliltical issue, favored by some of the wealthy white homeowner types who love pretty buildings (and aren’t so good on other issues), and this thing was sold as a way to help low-income people and affordable housing. But the reality is that the Wiener measure will make it harder to declare historic districts, and thuswill take away a tool that the left can use to stop uncontrolled commercial development. And remember: The affordable housing community wasn’t pushing this bill, and, for the most part, hasn’t had problems with historic preservation. The most progressive political club in the city, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, came out strongly against the measure and urged Sup. Christina Olague, a co-sponsor, to oppose it:
We are extremely troubled that you appear to be buying into the flawed, bogus and self-serving arguments by SPUR and other supporters of this legislation that historic preservation is classist and leads to gentrification, interferes with the production of affordable housing and is a tool of San Francisco’s elite. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There was a way to address the issues of low-income people in historic districts without making it harder to block inappropropriate development, but Wiener’s bill went much further. And while I respect Scott Wiener and find him accessible and straightforward, and I agree with him on some issues, he isn’t someone whose basic agenda promotes the interests of tenants or low-income people. His supporters are much more among the landlord class and the downtown folks. The San Francisco Chronicle, which is a conservative paper on economic and development issues, loved the legislation.
So what happened when this got to the Board? Only three people — the ones the Chron calls “the stalwart left flank of the Board” — voted no.
John Avalos, David Campos and Eric Mar. They are now the solid left flank, the ones who can be counted on to do the right thing on almost every issue. Once upon a time, there were six solid left votes. Now there are three.
What does this mean for the other key issues coming up, including CPMC, 8 Washington, and the city budget? Maybe nothing. As I say, this issue is complicated. Olague told me, for example, that she’s really worried about working-class people who can’t afford to comply with the increased regulations that come with historic districts. Her vote doesn’t mean she’s dropped out of the progressive camp, or that she (or Sups. Jane Kim and David Chiu) can’t be counted on in the future. I really want to believe that this was just an aberration, a vote where I’ll look back in the fall and say: Okay, we disagreed on that one, but nobody’s perfect.
Still, it’s kind of depressing: The dependable progressive vote is down to three.
UPDATE/CORRECTION: I didn’t know when I posted this that Olague had spoken to the Milk Club leadership after the club’s statement went out and the club has since issued a correction:
Due to a misunderstanding, Supervisor Christine Olague’s position on the Historic Preservation Commission’s critical role in the life of San Franicsco was misrepresented in our weekly newsletter. Supervisor Olague is looking into ways to help continue Historic District status for the Queer community, the Filipino community in the South of Market area, and the Japantown area. She is specifically looking for wording that would help these plans remain viable and welcomes any questions on her position and on her plan. Our apologies to the Supervisor for this unfortunate mistake.