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Pub date May 23, 2006
WriterTim Redmond

› tredmond@sfbg.com

Look: The Transbay Terminal project is all fucked up, about as bad as anything in city government could be, and a lot of people are at fault.

Supervisor Chris Daly isn’t one of them.

I say this because the No on Proposition C campaign has become little more than a personal attack on Daly, who authored the measure that would change the makeup of the Transbay Terminal authority. I’m not voting for Prop. C I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem but I do think Daly makes a very good case that change is needed, and I think he’s making a good faith effort to fix it. I mean, at least he’s doing something.

So why are there flyers and posters all around town attacking Daly and saying he is trying to “hold up” the Transbay Terminal project? Mark Mosher, who is running the No on D campaign, argues that Daly “should be held accountable” for his proposal, but that’s horseshit. The real reason, Mosher agrees, is that attacking Chris Daly wins votes in many parts of town.

It’s a sleazy way to run a campaign, and the mayor who is really behind all of this nonsense needs to put an end to it, now.

Onward: much, much ado at the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods meeting May 16. The agenda for a group that has too often been under the sway of Joe O’Donoughue included a proposal to rescind the coalition’s endorsement of Prop. D, the badly flawed Laguna Honda measure.

Joe and his ally, former CSFN president Barbara Meskunas, had pushed for (and won) an early endorsement of the measure, which would use zoning rules to ban certain types of patients from the hospital. Somehow, though, the Yes on D presentation wasn’t entirely complete: Most CSFN members who initially voted to back the plan didn’t realize that it had potentially much more sweeping impacts, and could legalize private development on a lot of other city property.

As news about what Prop. D really meant began to get out, some coalition members demanded a new vote and after a month’s parliamentary delay, they got one.

The debate, I’m told, was lively: At one point, Tony Hall, whom the mayor appointed to head the Treasure Island Development Authority, accused Debra Walker, a longtime progressive, of being a "stooge for the mayor." Ultimately, though, the vote to rescind the endorsement won, 238, with Hall, Meskunas, and Newsom-appointed planning commissioner Michael Antonini in the minority.

Shortly afterward, the members voted on new officers, and a slate of candidates led by Meskunas was roundly defeated. At which point Meskunas stormed out of the room, later resigning from the organization.

"This was a battle for the soul of the coalition," Tony Kelly of the Potrero Boosters told me. "It’s been brewing for a while."

Yeah, it’s just one more San Francisco political group and one more internal battle, but it might mean a lot more. First of all, it shows that Hall and Antonini both, remember, Newsom appointees are coming on strong against the mayor, fueling the theory I keep hearing that Hall will challenge Newsom from the right in 2007 (and try to get his friend Matt Gonzalez, who also supports Prop. D, to mount a challenge from the left).

Gonzalez told me he hadn’t heard anything about that plan yet (and he found it quite odd), but (of course) he’s not ruling out another mayoral campaign. SFBG