Monday, March 16, 2015
St. Patrick's Parade in San Francisco
Irish-American families from throughout the Bay Area streamed into San Francisco on Saturday for the annual St. Patrick's parade, and kids in cute costumes were once again the highlight.
Not so delightful were the multitude of local politicians being driven in convertibles up Market Street to McAllister and then to the Civic Center. "Caretaker" Mayor Ed Lee, above with his wife and an Irish dignitary, inaugurated the political parade, genuflecting to one of the major pillars of traditional power in the city.
The gay, Jewish San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner, who consistently aligns himself with that same power structure over the interests of most of his constituents, was a typical example of the political representatives who showed up.
The first large contingent in the parade, even before most of the politicians, was the San Francisco Police Department, which just had a bomb dropped on it Friday afternoon by federal prosecutors. The feds had recently convicted Sgt. Ian Furminger and a few of his colleagues of corruption on duty (they were caught on video stealing from drug dealers while freely roughing up whoever they wanted). Furminger was requesting bail before an appeal, and the feds decided to get nasty, releasing a slew of racist and homophobic texts Furminger had been passing around with fellow SFPD officers. Click here for a KQED story about the scandal, which is getting wilder every day.
From the size of the firefighters contingent, it looked like nepotism and ethnic clannishness has not completely disappeared from our post-racist society when it comes to public safety hiring.
San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes White led the firefighting contingent, and she was beaming while marching up Market Street. It's too bad she has been so demonstrably incompetent in her position over the last decade, stumbling from one stupid scandal to another, but she cannot be fired because she's about as politically connected as they come.
Finally, there were marching bands with bagpipes and drums and kilts...
...and serious faced young Irish step dancers jumping into the air on Market Street.
Two hours later, lower Polk Street saloons had lines outside...
...while young people who didn't know how to drink slumped on the sidewalk in the protective embrace of friends.