Friday, July 13, 2007

Ghetto Gangs and Solar Cuties

Every weekday in the Civic Center Plaza at about 10 AM, mostly Asian female office workers gather under the French sycamores and do Tai Chi like exercises to recorded music.

I tried to join them one morning, but the organizers looked horrified at my clumsy attempts trying to follow them, so I never tried again.

Across the Plaza on Thursday morning, in front of the Polk Street side of City Hall...

...there was a rally being held on the stairs objecting to City Attorney Dennis Herrera's latest "gang injunction"...

...where he has just stripped away the rights of 76 people to wear certain colors or be in the possession of a felt pen, as if that's going to stop drug dealing gangs from murdering each other.

Herrera's public spokesman, the charming and mendacious Matt Dorsey (above), decided it was either too noisy or what he was saying was too unpopular... he crossed the street to be interviewed by nice white people away from all the angry colored people.

There's a good article about the rally and the entire issue at Fog City Journal (click here).

My favorite speaker was the young man above from the "Knock Out Posse," one of the now illegal gangs, who was quite eloquent that this wasn't about trying to stop the violence. "It's all about land. They just want Bayview Hunter's Point and they are going to get rid of us any way they can. Just look at the evidence. They don't even bother to talk to people who are in the gangs or who have left the gangs and are trying to lead another life. I'm from the KO and I say it proudly, so come and get me." After Monday's hearing about how the Redevelopment Agency and the Lennar Corporation are "improving" the neighborhood, I'm inclined to believe him.

Meanwhile, on the Van Ness Avenue side of City Hall, there was a rally of some sort by the Environment California group, which is responsible for all those beautiful young people with clipboards who harass people for donations on San Francisco streets every summer.

The handsome young man above was giving a speech without amplification which seemed to be about Marin Solar.

Jackson West at the Chronicle's Culture Blog has a brilliant short essay about the hypocrisy of Al Gore's recent worldwide rock concerts, and how they are like putting a band-aid over cancer. (Click here for the whole thing.)

Jackson's major point is the following:
"Welcome to the new environmentalism, where making a profit doesn't have to take a back seat to saving the Earth. You see, capitalism has this small image problem. Our fetishism of commodities and taste for conspicuous consumption leads us to tear ever more deeply into the earth for raw materials and into families for the cheap labor to mold them into desirable products. But god forbid anybody point out that the pursuit of profit is at the root of this problem, and not just the way some companies go about it."


Matty Boy said...

Hey, mike! Thanks again for the use of your museum card. Terrific stuff.

As we were heading back to BART from the Civic Center Plaza, we passed a large contingent of cops arresting a mass of people that didn't look like political protesters on the steps of the building with the huge state seal.

I'll let you guess their gender, their age group and their race.

WOW! You got three out of three! Amazing.

sfmike said...

Dear matty boy: You're welcome!

I also saw the aftermath of the mass arrest (and even took a few photos) at McAllister and Van Ness. I believe there was some kind of teenage bad boy action on the 5-McAllister bus and the police actually arrived to stop it, but I don't have any details and it didn't exactly look like a good time to be asking anyone. As for guessing, gender, age and race, it looked like something out of the Deep South in the 1960s (or Southern California at any time), with a dozen all-white cops standing over a half-dozen black teenage boys with their hands cuffed behind them.

Anonymous said...

It's terrible how these police stigmatize these impressionable youngsters.

I remember back in January I walked by three young guys having some teenage badboy action on Lower Haight. After I walked by, one of them used a gun to kill the other two and then drove back to KO territory.

And the police wanted to arrest him!

sfmike said...

Dear anonymous: How did the police even know who the hell the kids were? They never seem to get out of their cars, which is why the Saturday arrest scene seemed so unusual.

AF said...

Environment California - aaagghhh! I succumbed to their solicitations years ago, and after about 24 months of $10 installments they directly withdrew from my checking account, I asked them to stop. They said they could only put a temporary suspension on my involunary "donations" to their cause for a few months, and there was all this beaurocratic mazework to put a permanent stop to my "charitable" contributions to their cause.

What does that organization do, anyway? I get some glossy newsletter in the mail every now and again but can't make heads or tails of it.

sfmike said...

Dear af: Thanks for confirming what I've long suspected about "Environment California." As for what they actually do, I think you answered your own question with "a glossy newsletter in the mail which you can't make heads or tails of," which is something they share with a lot of AIDS nonprofits.