There’s a certain brilliance to the Proposition 90 campaign, perhaps more than the right-wing ideologues who conjured this up even realize. The measure raises a profound, powerful question — and judging from some of the unlikely supporters of this horrible plan, the answer isn’t pleasant.
As we report in this issue (page 20), most people wouldn’t support the measure if they really understood what it meant (no more zoning, no more rent control, no more environmental laws, etc.) But for a lot of Californians and some San Franciscans in places like Bayview–Hunters Point, the real question seems to go like this: do you trust the government to protect you from the private sector — or do you see the government as such a problem, such a threat, so historically untrustworthy that you’ll take your chances with unregulated capitalism?
There are good people, well-meaning people, who are taking the wrong side on this one with potentially terrible consequences, and it’s largely, I think, because they don’t see the public sector as their friend.
I understand how anyone who’s fought redevelopment in the past 40 years can feel that way. Just about everything the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency did in this city, particularly in African American neighborhoods, has been a total disaster. Black support for Prop. 90 is the legacy of generations of corrupt urban politics.
The problem is that Prop. 90, which allows private developers to operate without regulation in urban areas, will be even more of a disaster. And if it passes, it won’t just be Republicans who vote for it. I hope I’m not the only one who finds this deeply frightening. SFBG