Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Public Safety vs. Public Health 4: "Get in Line"



There are four security entrances to City Hall but the entire firefighters' rally of about 300 people all entered at the Polk Street side, which further confirmed my suspicions that this was the first time in San Francisco City Hall for many of these suburbanites.



They streamed up the grand staircase to enter the Board chambers...



...but there was already a long line to the right on the second floor consisting of public health supporters...



...and they started a loud chant that reverbated throughout the dome, "GET IN LINE! GET IN LINE! GET IN LINE!"



Meanwhile, a couple was trying to get married on the balcony in front of Mayor Newsom's office.



The firefighters never did get in line but instead milled around the area at the top of the stairs in front of the Board chambers, and had to be stopped by deputy sheriffs from muscling their way in.



When the Board chambers ran out of room, they started up a chant, "LET US IN! LET US IN! LET US IN!" which disrupted the proceedings inside for the next thirty minutes.



After this bit of political theatre, the firefighters and their families streamed back home soon after. As a public relations stunt, it was something of a backfire, as they certainly didn't seem to win many friends in San Francisco.

5 comments:

janinsanfran said...

Thanks enormously for this account. Nice catch about Delagnes and the suburbanites.

namastenancy said...

Wasn't there something on the ballot years about about requiring police and fire fighters to live in SF? It must have been voted down but, given the cost of real estate in SF, probably none of the rank and file could have afforded to live here. The lord high muckey mucks are a different matter.

Hope Johnson said...

Excellent and accurate coverage of the two rallies. Great comparison analysis, too. Your work just keeps getting better!

sfmike said...

Dear Nancy: San Francisco police and firefighters make a lot more money than most of its actual inhabitants, so that "not being able to afford to live in San Francisco" routine is simply bullshit. And in an earthquake emergency, with bridges down, the vast majority of them are going to be utterly useless since so few of them even live here.

Dear Hope and Jan: Thanks for the kind words. I worked pretty hard on these posts so it's nice to hear.

Kimo C said...

Incredible work sfmike - this puts the Chronicle and really all the local media to shame. This is so valuable.

Thank you.