Editor’s Notes

Pub date October 22, 2008
WriterTim Redmond

› tredmond@sfbg.com

Our 42nd anniversary issue is all about creating a sustainable San Francisco. So, in many ways, is the Nov. 4 ballot.

Think about it. If you were going to design a blueprint for a sustainable city, it would have to include a clean-energy policy. That’s Proposition H. It would include provisions to make sure that a diverse population could afford to live here. That’s Proposition B. It would shift some of the tax burden off the smallest businesses and make sure the rich pay their fair share (that’s Props. N and Q). A sustainable city would need progressive leaders who understand that land-use planning can’t be run by developers. Electing Eric Mar in District 1, John Avalos in District 11, David Chiu in District 3 would keep the Board of Supervisors in progressive hands.

And of course, you’d want a mayor who makes sustainability a hallmark of his administration. So why is Gavin Newsom against every single ballot item that would take the city in a more environmentally sound direction?

He’s against Prop. B because he says he doesn’t want to tie his hands when it comes to future budgets. But this is a mayor who has refused to spend the affordable housing money the supervisors have allocated, and who insists that plans to add more than 50,000 new housing units, 85 percent of which will be affordable only to the top five percent of San Franciscans, is a sign of progress. He isn’t promoting a sustainable city; he’s promoting a city for millionaires.

Newsom’s against Prop. H because … wait, why is he against it? He’s never really explained himself — except through his proxy, Eric Jaye, who also happens to be running the $5 million Pacific Gas and Electric Co. campaign against H. Newsom doesn’t want a sustainable city; he wants a private-power-monopoly city.

He’s against the progressive supervisorial candidates and the progressive tax measures because, I think, he wants to keep the current power structure, controlled by downtown and landlord money, safely in place. That’s not a move toward a sustainable city; that’s leaving in charge the very same people who got us into environmental trouble in the first place. *