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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Examiner’

From MDC to MDBC?

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 13, 2014

There’s a punk band called MDC, one version of their name being Millions of Dead Cops. You get the idea.

Train Station Shooting
BART police’s latest tactic targets vulnerable people
By Jennifer Friedenbach

If in hearing about the latest attempts to clear out evacuation routes at BART stations, you smelled a rat, you may be closer to the truth then you realize. BART police have been gearing up for months to clear homeless people who are doing nothing wrong or illegal out of BART stations, and some cynical pencil pusher came up with a perhaps not-so-perfect cover story.

When BART police officials first announced their intentions of clearing out travelers trying to catch a wink under the guise of clearing evacuation routes, my first thought was: “In an emergency, wouldn’t the well-healed alongside the down and out be evacuated together?”

Add to that a close look at the areas they are clearing people out of — open plazas and 20-foot-wide hallways, and the yarn falls apart.

The BART Police Department has been embattled almost since its inception, with bad publicity flowing directly from poor decisions and horrific incidents. In 1992, BART Officer Fred Crabtree, who was white, shot and killed 19-year-old Jerrold Hall, who was black, near the Hayward station after receiving reports that a BART passenger had been robbed. Hall was unarmed and shot in the back, and the department initially reported he was shot in the chest, and tried to hide the truth. Hall’s father asked for civilian oversite for BART police, but they didn’t bother putting that together for more then a decade later after Oscar Grant III was killed on New Year’s Day 2009.

BART police made precedent in the U.S. by being the first government agency to shut down cellphone service when activists gathered to protest the fatal police shooting of Charles Hill, a homeless man in psychiatric crisis. Then there was the well-known shooting of Grant, which was caught on numerous cellphones, and which BART police attempted to suppress. More recently, BART police were caught on film literally torturing a nonviolent black passenger by repeatedly tasering him as he cried and begged them to stop. Let’s not forget an earlier shooting that occurred of Bruce Edward Seward, a naked mentally ill man who had gotten a hold of the officer’s billy club at the Hayward station. See a pattern? Each of these victims were poor, and either black or mentally ill.

Let’s recap. Fatal shootings of black and mentally ill people, suppressing evidence, trampling free speech, no oversight, torture and, as if they just can’t stop this downward spin into the dark sinkhole of immorality, they are now citing and arresting often black or mentally ill destitute people seeking shelter from the elements.

We are facing an unprecedented housing crisis in San Francisco. Mothers with their children are being forced to sleep at the Civic Center station while waiting six months for proper shelter. People are so desperate for a place to sleep, free of harassment, they are sneaking into elevator shafts and down train tunnels, literally risking their lives to get some rest. Last year, homeless father David Thomas was crushed to death by the elevator, and another poor man was killed by a Powell Street train when trying to get his belongings from below the platform.

We have one shelter bed for every five homeless people in San Francisco. People working three jobs cannot afford housing. We have passed laws making it illegal to sit or lie on sidewalks, closed down our parks at night, power-hosed down public areas under freeways that offer shelter, and just generally kicked and shoved people to the point where they have nowhere to simply exist. Instead of recognizing the crisis and coming up with effective solutions, BART has chosen the tried and failed route of rousting, citing and arresting. These latest efforts by BART to displace poor people from the stations will only drive them deeper into the tunnels, and even more deaths will occur.

BART police’s latest move is unconscionable and follows right along that same old path of fear and intolerance of our poor communities. It is long past time for that train to stop.

Jennifer Friedenbach is executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.

August 11, 2014 San Francisco Examiner opinion

Posted in life, militarizing police, police, police brutality, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Examiner | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

San Francisco or Manhattan? The future of San Francisco.

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 7, 2013

“The developers always win in the end.”

Taneyhill’s Rule

The voters of San Francisco soundly defeated Propositions B and C on November 5, 2013, thereby preventing the construction of the 8 Washington condominium development on the waterfront. At least temporarily. I give this caveat because of the above famous rule, propounded by an equally famous pundit. The proposed 8 Washington development called for the construction of 134 luxury condos, selling for up to 5 million a condo, surrounded by parkland with nominal public access. I use the term nominal because, depending on who one referenced, the parkland around 8 Washington was to be “as good as” public space, or a fiefdom owned, controlled and policed by the condo development. The 8 Washington site can be found here, but the link probably won’t be up for long given the ignominious defeat of this project. This is what 8 Washington would have looked like, according to models, plans and artist renditions:
8 Washinton 2013
8 Washinton 2012-thumbsiteplan_popin
The plan to develop 8 Washington immediately provoked local opposition by various individuals, groups and segments of the population. The whole proposal was quickly dubbed “The Wall,” and resistance quickly consolidated into an organized movement (No Wall on the Waterfront). I will not pretend to objectivity regarding 8 Washington, which I also called The Wall. I was against it. There’s plenty of information out there on the web to be had backing up my side. Here’s a list of links you can explore:


The San Francisco Bay Guardian was one of the leading opposition voices against 8 Washington. This link details the blow-by-blow efforts by the developer to push 8 Washington through the SF Planning Commission, and then through the SF Board of Supervisors, as well as the fight against it, through scores of Bay Guardian articles and editorials. And this link hints at the dirty tricks the developer used to try and stop the efforts to put Proposition C on the ballot.

There were other opposition voices as well. The Bay Guardian’s sister publication, the San Francisco Examiner editorialized against 8 Washington here. And an archive of SF Examiner articles and editorials on 8 Washington can be found here.


BeyondChron‘s archives on 8 Washington can be found here. Fog City Journal‘s archives are available by typing “8 Washington” into their search engine. The SFist had a few articles here, here and here. And Tim Redmond’s San Francisco blog had these archives.


The San Francisco Chronicle (via SFGate) offered this article and this editorial about the defeat of 8 Washington, after its incessant, year-long boosterism for the project. And the Los Angeles Times covered the defeat of 8 Washington with this article and this news story.


Finally, we come to C.W. Nevius, the SF Chronicle’s own “conservative suburban twit” …er… columnist. Here‘s where Nevius vents his outrage over the scare tactics used by the opponents of 8 Washington, and here‘s where Nevius pretends no longer to care that his beloved 8 Washington project failed so miserably on election day.


The real issue, after the crash-and-burn of the 8 Washington project and its supporters, is the ongoing efforts to Manhattanize the city of San Francisco. Here are some:

Classic San Francisco Skylines
San Francisco Skyline from the Bridgeskyline
Now, here are some models and artist renditions of proposed San Francisco developments, from a website called SkyScraperCity, a site full of developer porn with a thread devoted to San Francisco. These skyscraper porn fantasies aren’t even everything that developers have planned for San Francisco. Much the same information (from a different angle, in greater depth, with neighborhood and human implications) can be found in the November 2013 issue of San Francisco magazine (digital edition)

Projects Under Construction

Transbay Center & Tower

Transbay Center & Tower

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

SFPUC Headquarters - 525 Golden Gate Ave.

SFPUC Headquarters – 525 Golden Gate Ave.

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

55 Ninth St.

55 Ninth St.

333 Harrison St.

333 Harrison St.

The Madrone (Condominium) - Mission Bay

The Madrone (Condominium) – Mission Bay

Approved Projects
535 Mission St.

535 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

45 Lansing St.

45 Lansing St.

375 - 399 Fremont St. (aka "The Californian")

375 – 399 Fremont St. (aka “The Californian”)

1036 Mission St.

1036 Mission St.

Projects Proposed and Pending Approval
181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

201 Folsom St.

201 Folsom St.

222 2nd St.

222 2nd St.

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers


In a case of premature ejaculation, the SkyScraperCity site listed the 8 Washington project as approved. Perhaps its time to use the defeat of 8 Washington to build a broader resistance to the further gentrification and Manhattanization of San Francisco. Otherwise, San Francisco’s skyline might look like this, in the near future.



Posted in 8 Washington, BeyondChron, C.W. Nevius, Fog City Journal, life, Los Angeles Times, Manhattanization, Manhattanization of San Francisco, No Wall on the Waterfront, Proposition B, Proposition C, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco magazine, San Francisco skyline, SFist, The Wall, Tim Redmond, Tim's San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The monopoly within a monopoly

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 31, 2013


Actually, the title should read “the monopoly within a monopoly within a larger monopoly.” The larger monopoly in question is the State of California, which is politically and culturally liberal, for the most part. The state’s demographic trends, if anything, will increase California’s leftist tilt for the near future. Then there’s the City of San Francisco, a more progressive enclave within the liberal State of California. Even with a moderate Board of Supervisors lead by moderate mayor Ed Lee (who succeeded the moderate Gavin Newsom, who instituted gay marriage), there is a substantial, occasionally obstreperous progressive faction within the Board of Supervisors (Allan Peskin, former Supes Chris Daley and Ross Mirkarimi). Finally, within this progressive enclave of the City of San Francisco is the still more progressive alternative media monopoly of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Bay Area Reporter.


Put together by Todd Vogt, owner of the San Francisco Newspaper Company, which is part of the much larger 75-title newspaper, Canadian-based Horizon Publications, of which Vogt is the CEO, this local media monopoly is unabashedly progressive. Monopolies frequently are problematic however, even when they are seemingly benign and public serving. Public utility monopolies (like the long ago broken up Bell Telephone System/AT&T, or the current northern Californian PG&E monopolies) are the most egregious examples of entities that are good in concept, not so good in practice. And let’s not get started on private capitalist monopolies. In the current socio-political environment, I prefer government regulation to break up monopolies in order to limit excessive profit taking and foster much needed competition or, barring that, to keep the monopolies honest.*


The Bay Area is no stranger to progressive bickering and in-fighting, if not sectarian conflict and internecine warfare. Witness the never-ending battle surrounding Pacifica’s Berkeley based radio station KPFA. Vogt’s three alt-newspaper monopoly is already showing signs of intra-progressive turmoil. Long time Bay Guardian editor Tim Redmond was ousted, fired, or allowed to resign, depending on who is telling the story. The reasons can be found here, here, here, here and here. Disputes over editorial policy and political endorsements, Redmond’s refusal to cut half of the Guardian’s news staff, and failure to agree on how to increase advertising revenues were some of the key issues. The Guardian attempted to practice a half-hearted transparency by reporting Tim Redmond’s departure in its own pages. Tim provided an extremely brief response on his blog, denying that had resigned, and leaving the reporting to other media. The Bay Guardian had its issues and problems, to be sure, but subsuming this alternative newspaper into Vogt’s alt-monopoly is not the solution. It’s not good news for progressive journalism in the Bay Area.


*In his “Introduction to the American Edition” of The Star Fraction (2001), Ken MacLeod wrote:  “Unfortunately, there’s no reason why the Economic Calculation Argument [of von Mises] and the [Marxist] Materialist Conception of History couldn’t both be true. What if capitalism is unstable, and socialism is impossible?” Well, I tend to side with Marx’s argument that capitalism inevitably develops toward crisis driven monopoly, and that the libertarian theory of self-regulating laissez-faire market capitalism is utter bullshit. If the State disappeared today, leaving an unregulated capitalism to fend for itself, capitalism would promptly buy and install its own State tomorrow to protect capitalism’s interests and keep the “free market” reasonably well functioning. Oh, that’s right, that’s what American capitalism has already done. As for State Socialism, the old-style Communism of the Soviet bloc and Red China, that was pretty much a bloody disaster. That leaves decentralized, community owned, worker run libertarian socialism of one or another stripe as the only real, viable alternative…

Posted in California, capitalist monopolies, libertarian socialism, life, Marx, media monopolies, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, state socialism, Tim Redmond | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »