San Francisco, two-party town

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

There’s not a lot of room in the center these days. Mayor Ed Lee has left this town so divided that we have two political parties.

I am increasingly coming to believe that San Francisco is now a two-party city – and oddly, we are seeing that reflected in the race to determine who will run the Democratic Party.

Republicans are almost entirely irrelevant in San Francisco (the last GOP office holder, BART Board member James Fang, lost his seat two years ago. There hasn’t been a Republican in any significant elected office in years). There’s a modest Green Party, which at one time counted among its members Sups. Matt Gonzalez and Ross Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi later became a Democrat…

But the real two-party system right now is between the progressive party and the Ed Lee/real-estate/tech mogul party. And this city has become so deeply divided that there is no room for anyone in the middle.

I give the mayor full credit for that.

In times of severe crisis, and this city is in a severe crisis, people don’t want to spend a lot of time on the nuances of political positions. They want to know – and they should know – whose side are you on?…

We used to get all sorts of candidates at the Guardian who come in and tell us that we should endorse them because they’d vote our position “most of the time.” That’s fine – you want people who think for themselves in public office, not people who just follow a script.

But when it’s more and more likely that the San Francisco so many of us care so much about is going to be gone in a few years, when the displacement of people and community-serving businesses and nonprofits has been unlike anything any of us have seen since the worst days of Redevelopment half a century ago, it’s hard to find compromise and middle ground.

That’s why there were so many 6-5 votes on the Board of Supes last year, before Aaron Peskin won and created a progressive majority. There are fewer 6-5 votes now, in part because it’s an election year and Sup. London Breed, who is facing a challenge from the left, has moved away from the mayor on some issues. (We’re going to see eight votes in favor of declaring a housing emergency, enough to override a mayoral veto).

But the board will be deeply divided again next year; we just don’t know who will be in the majority….

As I often say about class warfare, it’s not our fault: We didn’t declare the war. The one percent, the Republicans and Wall Street Democrats declared war on us. We’re just fighting back so we can survive.

The left didn’t create the division in this city; the mayor did that. Now people who can’t stand it anymore are responding… (more)

The degree to which some at City Hall have fallen is amazing. This week I realized just how bent the “newcomers” are on ridding themselves of us. I was shocked to learn of plans to remove old favorites such as the Swan Depot on Polk Street. Then I received a message from someone on Mission who told me every one is freaked over what the SFMTA did with that street. so… I wrote this OpEd:



San Francisco may expand chain store ban to Polk Street neighborhood

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Amid an effort by Whole Foods to move into the Polk Street neighborhood, recently elected Supervisor Aaron Peskin has introduced legislation to ban chain stores in the area.

Introduced last week, the legislation would add the Polk Street Commercial Neighborhood District to the list of neighborhoods which ban chain stores..

The Board of Supervisors first approved a chain store ban in 2004 for Hayes Valley. That followed with bans in other areas like North Beach and Chinatown.

Where there isn’t an outright ban, chain stores — as currently is the case for Polk Street — must obtain a special conditional use permit, which can be appealed at the board as a result of the 2006 voter-approved Proposition G.

“I highly support it,” Dawn Trennert, past president of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, said of the proposed ban. “It’s absolutely needed.”

Trennert said residents and local businesses have worked hard over the years to bolster the area and fashion a unique character.

“A lot of people are just seeing dollar signs around that,” she said of prospective chain businesses scouting the area.

While the group supports the ban, as it’s concerned about protecting the uniqueness of the corridor at-large, most immediately it wants to block Whole Foods from moving into the former Lombardi Sports building, purchased in 2014 by Village Properties, at Polk and Jackson streets.

Instead, the group argues the site should become housing with ground floor independent-operated retail… (more)

SFMTA Engineering Hearing: On-Street Car-Share Spaces

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to want to reverse Prop E and send the SFMTA packing, here is another one. If they haven’t gotten around to displacing you yet, they are now going after your street parking and displacing that. The SFMTA is decided that it has the right to take public streets for their car shares. If you disagree with this theory, there are at least three things you can do right now.

1. Send them a letter telling them that you disagree with their taking public street

2. Sign up to support the ballot initiative that will be gathering signatures for the November Ballot to Restore Transportation Balance

3. Sign the petition and tell the city officials why you want them to do something to Fix the MTA

You can also attend the SFMTA Engineering Hearing On-Street Car-Share Spaces and speak out
Friday, May 16, 2014, 10AM
 at City Hall, Room 416,
Find out where SFMTA plans to displace public parking and who they are handing it over to.
Agenda [PDF]  Comments can be emailed to

See the list of spaces SFMTA plans to take for their car share programs:

September 4 Polk Street/Van Ness Neighborhood Meeting

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 11AM
SF County Transportation Authority
City Hall, Room 250 – agenda
Commissioners: Avalos (Chair), Wiener (Vice Chair), Breed, Campos, Chiu, Cohen, Farrell, Kim, Mar, Tang and Yee
item 3 Certify the EIR on Van Ness BRT. Hire Executive Director Ness

VAN NESS AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSIT: Polk Street Stakeholders: As part of on-going coordination between the Polk Street Improvement Project and the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project, we wanted to bring to your attention this upcoming Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit public meeting.

Project Update: The Van Ness BRT Project is designed to improve transit on San Francisco’s major North-South corridor. The project will also provide pedestrian safety enhancements and modernization of the water and sewer lines.

Please join us! Wednesday, September 4,  (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Old First Church Fellowship Hall, 1751 Sacramento Street (between Van Ness & Polk)

Hosted by the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association and Save Polk Street,
a presentation will be provided by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

For more information on this project, visit: or contact Peter Gabancho, Project Manager,
You are receiving this notice as a member of the email list for the Polk Street Improvement Project.
If you have any questions, please contact me at