Soaring temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will put some interior Bay Area cities into triple-digit territory.
San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell and his “Housing Not Tents” initiative for the November ballot have become a political lightning rod.
Granted, the specifics are a little vague. The plan calls for the city to give tent dwellers 24-hour notices before they are forced to move — and also a place for them to move to. It’s one of those flagship measures that all but guarantees a faceoff between the moderates and progressives. Farrell says the point of the measure is to move the homeless out of tents and into housing.
But, as we’ve seen, at present we don’t have enough rooms or shelters for all the homeless on the street.
Still, the measure is bound to resonate with homeowners and businesspeople who have had it with campers peeing on the street and leaving hypodermic needles on the sidewalks.
There’s an excellent chance it’ll pass. An informal poll of more than 500 people by Curbed SF found that 86.2 percent backed a law against sidewalk camp
ing. A lopsided result like that will energize and encourage moderate politicians to promote more forceful efforts to close down encampments.
That possibility has energized activist groups that are demanding that Farrell pull the legislation from the ballot. Causa Justa and the Western Regional Advocacy Project are publishing office phone numbers of moderate supervisors and urging people to call and make a “criminalizing the homeless” complaint, according to a Causa Justa flyer.
Farrell posted the bill on his Facebook page Wednesday. Five days later, he had more than 400 “likes,” more than 130 “angry” clicks and 350-plus comments, ranging from calling Farrell “a selfish, entitled, inconsiderate —hole” to “All those people who are sad can house one homeless person in their home.”
Meanwhile, in City Hall, Supervisor John Avalos has invoked what opponents are calling “the nuclear option.” Avalos is threatening to organize progressives to vote against a sales tax on the fall ballot that each year would contribute $100 million to transportation and $50 million to homelessness. Over 25 years, Farrell says, that would work out to $1.25 billion for homeless issues.
Avalos declined to be interviewed, but directed me to his Facebook page.
Supervisors Farrell, Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Malia Cohen and Mayor Ed Lee, Avalos wrote, “have to ask themselves if they are willing to forgo revenue for homelessness so they can put a vile political measure on the ballot targeting homeless people, living in tents with no where else to go, as campaign fodder.”
To which Farrell replied, “If Supervisor Avalos wants his legacy ... to be voting against an additional $1.25 billion in spending to help our homeless get off the street over the next 25 years, that’s his decision to make.”
The fuss at the annual Trans March on Friday was just pointless venting — and weird. Mayor Ed Lee, state Sen. Mark Leno and Supervisor Scott Wiener were heckled and booed at the Dolores Park event.
Booing the mayor, of course, has become a thing.
But Wiener and Leno, both gay, have surely earned bonus points with the transgender community over the years. As Leno said at the event, he pushed to add gender identity to the Fair Employment Housing Act.
Wiener not only attends the march annually, this year he managed to get money in the city bud- get to pay for the fees and permits for the Trans March.
No matter. Each was singled out for heckling. Leno called Monday to say he even confronted some of the demonstrators and asked them what their issues are.
“Do you know who I am?” Leno asked one of the hecklers.
“No, and I don’t want to,” was the reply.
“It’s not rational,” Leno said. “It’s all emotional.”
Just a reminder that, although it’s easy to rant about the lack of progress and understanding for the LBGT community, we’ve come a long way. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts, the first openly gay top-level executive in men’s professional sports, was the keynote speaker Sunday at the annual Alice B. Toklas Breakfast before the Pride Parade.
He told the story of being a closeted gay man in a committed relationship in the 1990s.
“I lost my partner of 17 years to AIDS,” he said. “And I had to go into work the next day because I couldn’t tell anyone.”
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget that boosted the rainy-day fund and education spending. Tent dwellers would be given 24-hour eviction notices and a place to relocate under Supervisor Mark Farrell’s plan.
Angela Flax, who is homeless, packs her tent at the Division Street encampment in February with the help of friend Jeremy Young of Sacramento. In March, the city evicted people camping on Division Street.