Thursday, June 14, 2007
Faux Budget Protest at City Hall
As part of this year's contentious San Francisco budget process, various groups had planned protests on City Hall's Polk Street stairs because they were not particularly happy about Mayor Newsom's cuts to their programs while the city budget itself balloons to over six billion dollars.
Earlier this week, however, Newsom's office claimed that they had previously reserved the stairs for their own protest against Supervisor Daly's proposed reinstatement of $37 million for low-cost housing that Newsom had slashed for his own pet projects.
With their usual adult sophistication and charm, the Newsom re-election crew, headed by disgraced former spokesman Peter Ragone (above), basically said, "Nyah, nyah, nyah, we made the reservation first, Daly, so back down, you loser."
Daly, who chairs the Budget & Finance Committee, reacted by unilaterally cancelling Wednesday's scheduled 1:00 meeting.
The varying groups that had been assembled for this pro-Newsom protest, which is an oxymoron in itself, were a bizarrely varied lot. As Alison Fish, a reporter for the new free daily The City Star, wrote me afterwards: "That protest at City Hall was so confusing. Was it staged? Was it against Newsom or Daly? There was Chamber of Commerce and Save the Trees and Small Business with Affordable Housing advocates. Very ADD."
The speeches seemed to be a parade of Poverty Pimps, of all races, supporting Newsom with one hand while demanding more money/payoffs with the other, all cloaked in self-righteous oratory.
I didn't believe any of them for a second and didn't stay long because the huge contingent of sherriff's deputies and San Francisco police were being obnoxiously aggressive about where people could stand or not stand on the stairs. The entire affair was rather dispiriting. For another take on the rally, click here for Tamara Barak's account on Fog City Journal.