Editor’s Notes

Pub date August 4, 2009
WriterTim Redmond


I am done talking about Chris Daly’s personal life. It’s been a nasty, ugly discussion this past week or so, and if you want a taste, you can go to the Guardian politics blog and read dozens and dozens of comments attacking Daly, attacking me, attacking progressives in general, and raging about hypocrisy.

Okay, I’m almost done. I want to say a word about hypocrisy. I’m not so into buying foreclosed houses; it does stink of profiting off someone else’s misery. But the banks are the ones doing the foreclosure and eviction, not the buyer.

Which is not the case with Ellis Act evictions and tenancy-in-common purchases/condo conversions. You buy a TIC, you’re evicting someone, some tenant who is not quite as well-off as you. It’s legal, and not everyone who buys a TIC is evil, and I know all the caveats — but nearly all the people who have been attacking Daly (and me) in the online comments I’ve read (and in print articles, witness Michela Alioto-Pier) are supporters of TICs and condo conversions, which they refer to as homeownership opportunities.

Yes: homeownership opportunities. Yes: evictions. I’m not defending Daly here, I’m just saying.

Now then: The thing I’m not done talking about is the constant, implied, and often direct supposition that the suburbs are better places than San Francisco to raise kids. I beg to differ.

I grew up in a suburb, mostly white, mostly middle class. (More middle class than the suburbs today because the middle class was bigger and doctors, plumbers, and factory workers lived in the same subdivisions — but still, pretty homogenous.)

Today’s suburbs are more racially mixed, slightly. But they’re still essentially homogenous.

My kids go to a wonderful public school (McKinley Elementary) where everyone isn’t just like them. Some kids have one parent, or two, or are raised by relatives. Some kids go on nice fancy vacations for spring break, and some kids get their main caloric intake from the subsidized breakfast and lunch. A lot of kids don’t speak English as a first language. And for my son and daughter, they are all classmates and friends.

Yes, Chuck Nevius: Michael and Vivian see homeless people on the streets. Usually we give them money. And we talk, my kids and I, about why there are people who have no place to live, and why it’s important not just to give to charity but to try to change the conditions that allow billionaires to pay low taxes while people sleep on the streets.

And last Friday, Vivian and the other seven-year-old campers at Randall Museum camp (public, city-funded, open to all) finished a two-week session on hip-hop dance with a performance that literally made me cry.

My kids are city kids, San Francisco kids. We kick suburban ass. *